Dr Madsen Pirie

Dr Madsen Pirie is President of the Adam Smith Institute.  He subscribes to a broadly empirical and libertarian philosophy and values the insights of the Austrian School of Economics.  He has written books on logic, philosophy, economics, and children's science fiction.  His own website is at www.madsen-pirie.com

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Roast Salmond

Written by | Monday 12 November 2012

My colleague, Dr Eamonn Butler, was quite right to castigate Alex Salmond, Scottish First Minister, for his disparaging remarks about Adam Smith and the Institute that proudly bears his name.  Every few years some left-winger, usually a politician, tries the claim that Smith was really a sort of proto-socialist.  It is never convincing because he was nothing like that.

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The wrong agenda

Written by | Friday 9 November 2012

There is a damaging focus on taxation instead of growth.  Media and politicians, egged on by ideological enemies of business and markets, are talking about ways of making corporations and 'rich' individuals pay more in taxation.  Tax avoidance and use of the legitimate means people use to reduce their tax liability are being denounced as wicked, and ways are being sought to curb this activity.

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 10: The environment

Written by | Friday 2 November 2012

Despite all the scare stories, I'm optimistic that the next generation will live on a planet that is cleaner and greener, and probably nicer to look at.

10.  Environment

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 9: Education

Written by | Thursday 1 November 2012

It is claimed in some circles that educational standards are falling, that it is being dumbed down, and that our successors will be less educated than ourselves.  I disagree: I think education will be better.

9.  Education

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 8: Health

Written by | Wednesday 31 October 2012

Some people suggest that people will be less healthy in the future because they lead unhealthy lifestyles and eat the wrong foods.  I rather think people will be healthier in future, and I think so because of developments taking place that should bring it about.

8.  Health

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 7: Ideas

Written by | Tuesday 30 October 2012

Some people, including Tyler Cowen in The Great Stagnation, think we are running out of big ideas that can improve things.  I disagree.

7.  Ideas

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 6: The economy

Written by | Monday 29 October 2012

Popular among the "we are all doomed" series is the notion that the good times are behind us.  I disagree.  For both the UK and the world I am optimistic that the economy will be better in the future, not worse.

6.  The Economy

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 5: Employment

Written by | Friday 26 October 2012

In the US Presidential election of 1992, candidate Ross Perot talked of the "giant sucking sound" of US jobs draining South of the border if the US signed into the North American Free Trade Area.  It did; there wasn't; it won't.

4.  Employment

The pessimists seem to think that the advanced economies have had their day as far as jobs are concerned.  They say we can't compete against low-cost labour in the developing world, and they urge protective tariffs against imported goods to protect jobs at home.

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 4: Resources

Written by | Thursday 25 October 2012

The mantra is "The world is running out of scarce resources; we are leaving none for our children."  It is not true, and resources are my fourth reason for optimism.

4.  Resources

In a famous 1980 scientific wager, Julian Simon invited Paul Erlich, author of "The Population Bomb," to choose 5 resources he thought were being depleted, and bet they would fall in price over the decade.  Erlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin and tungsten, and duly paid up when their price fell over a decade, indicating relative abundance rather than scarcity.

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Ten reasons to be cheerful, part 3: Energy

Written by | Wednesday 24 October 2012

We've been told the world is running out of sources of energy, and we've been preached to about renewables and made to spend vast sums on them.  In fact energy is the third of my sources of optimism.

3. Energy

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