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The Condensed Wealth of Nations

Type: BooksWritten by Dr Eamonn Butler | Wednesday 03 August 2011

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations is one of the most important books ever written. Smith recognised that economic specialization and cooperation was the key to improving living standards. He shattered old ways of thinking about trade, commerce and public policy, and led to the foundation of a new field of study: economics. And yet, his book is rarely read today. It is written in a dense and archaic style that is inaccessible to many modern readers. The Condensed Wealth of Nations condenses Smith’s work and explains the key concepts in The Wealth of Nations clearly. It is accessible and readable to any intelligent layman. This book also contains a primer on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith’s other great work that explores the nature of ethics.


Liberty and assisted suicide

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Henry Oliver | Tuesday 02 August 2011

Should libertarians support assisted suicide? Or is the question akin to Locke's consideration of legalized slavery? Henry Oliver weighs the debate and argues that freedom over ones body is intrinsically linked to the freedom to die.

How Basel III threatens small businesses

Type: ReportsWritten by Tim Ambler | Wednesday 27 July 2011

Basel III requires an increase in the size of banks’ equity relative to their loans and a more formal assessment of risk, says Tim Ambler. Big companies will be able to shop around within the competitive international markets. However, in a situation where five big banks dominate the UK market, Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be hit both by the reduced availability of loans and by higher interest rates. Since SMEs drive the UK economy, the consequence of Basel III is negative for the UK.

LulzSec and the open society

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Preston Byrne | Wednesday 13 July 2011

Subversion has been subverted, says PJ Byrne. Mass media gives us a sanitized and dumbed-down mélange of culture. LulzSec was so popular precisely because it lacked the solemn pompousness of most "subversives", and it was beholden to nobody. What matters is not our bank balance but our internal liberty to think and act freely.

How better regulation can make Private Military Contractors work

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Anna Moore | Monday 11 July 2011

Are Private Military Contractors (PMCs) the villains of modern warfare? In this extended piece, Anna Moore argues that PMCs can play a vital – and valuable – role in making armies more flexible and streamlined, if properly used by governments. As in so many areas, private contractors can give states better results in key areas of public goods – if governments can avoid the oversight failures that have blighted PMCs' operations so far and strive for competition and transparency.

A thicket of summer grass: the thymotic anger behind the strikes

Type: Think PiecesWritten by Preston Byrne | Thursday 16 June 2011

What drives 750,000 people to the point of ruining everyone else's day by striking? PJ Byrne reflects on the "anger deriving from a wounded sense of self-worth" that drives so many people to strike.

The folly of the public benefit test

Type: Think PiecesWritten by James Croft | Thursday 26 May 2011

The "public benefit test" is a misguided attempt to force consolidation in the independent education market, argues James Croft.

Does Inequality Matter?

Type: ReportsWritten by Dalibor Rohac | Tuesday 17 May 2011

Income inequality measures don't tell us much about poverty and, as this report argues, can actually mask declines in living standards of the poor. Furthermore, there is no good reason to use country-specific inequality measures as opposed to a global measure; if the latter is used, prioritites for poverty reduction shift dramatically. This report argues against the current fashion for using inequality as a measure of living standards, and argues that it may be hindering efforts to fight poverty.

Reflections on regulation: Experience and the future

Type: ReportsWritten by Stephen Littlechild, Ian Byatt, Chris Bolt, John Swift, Graham Corbett, Tim Ambler, Eamonn Butler | Thursday 12 May 2011

In this report, five ex-regulators discuss their experiences and reflect on the successes and failures of the regulatory framework that followed the privatizations of the 1980s and 1990s. Regulation expert Tim Ambler concludes by discussing the future of regulation, and outlining the different paths that may be taken to reform the sector.

Free Schools are heading for failure

Type: Think PiecesWritten by James Croft | Wednesday 11 May 2011

The government’s failure to stimulate free school supply has major implications for its overall programme of market expansion, argues James Croft.


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