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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In praise of packaging

Written by | Monday 13 August 2012

The proposal to require 'plain' packaging for tobacco products has now completed its consultations.  The ASI submitted evidence against plain packaging, and we published Chris Snowdon's report on the subject.

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A problem solved

Written by | Friday 10 August 2012

The world's energy problem seems to have been solved, but governments do not  seem to have noticed.  A relatively clean and abundant source of energy has not been produced by wind, solar or tidal power, nor even by nuclear power.  It has certainly not come from bio-fuels that create less energy than they use.  It has been solved by human ingenuity and technology.

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The lottery and the Olympics

Written by | Thursday 9 August 2012

Some oppose the cost to public funds of the Olympics, and some criticize the inconveniences to which Londoners have been subjected.  There can be few, however, who deny credit for the superb performances of our athletes.  They have shown a dedication and commitment that has rallied most of the nation behind them in their efforts, and given them generous praise for their achievements.

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The monkey's paw

Written by | Wednesday 8 August 2012

One way to catch a monkey, it is alleged in parts of Africa, is to place fruit at the bottom of a narrow-necked jar.  The monkey reaches in for the fruit, but when it makes a fist holding it, its hand is too big to withdraw.  The monkey is trapped, and remains so until the villagers come to collect the jar.  Of course the monkey could just let go of the fruit, but it wants it so bad that it will not do that.

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Olympic arrogance

Written by | Tuesday 17 July 2012

For some weeks transport within London has been dislocated and delayed by road closures as Olympic venues are prepared.  Soon now whole lanes will be closed off to ordinary drivers so that these 'Games Lanes' can whisk Olympic officials around in their limousines without hindrance from other motorists.  Any cyclist entering one of these lanes faces a fixed £130 penalty, and motorists have been advised to avoid London altogether during the Olympics.

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Six years on

Written by | Monday 16 July 2012

In August 2006 the Adam Smith Institute produced its own (and only) wristbands.  People were being urged at the time to "Make Poverty History."  While it would be nice if it happened, the slogan was largely empty in that it did not involve actually doing anything. 

Our case was that no country has ever emerged from poverty through development aid, and no country has ever done it without trade.  To us that seemed to suggest that opening our markets to their goods might help them more than sloganeering would.

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Nothing left

Written by | Friday 13 July 2012

Tim Worstall and I rarely disagree about anything.  Indeed, if the genie of the lamp gave me three wishes, the first would be to have Tim Worstall installed as Economic Advisor to the Treasury.

Tim, however, claims he is a left-winger, whereas I know I am not.  He says:

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Let's have an autumn offensive

Written by | Thursday 12 July 2012

The political and media establishments seem obsessed with things that do not matter at the expense of things that do.  This mid-term government is exhibiting many unwelcome characteristics.  It introduces a succession of small-scale measures while having no discernible theme that would give a unity and purpose to its actions.

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A twin track to recovery

Written by | Wednesday 20 June 2012

There are two actions that might put the UK's finances and its economy into better shape.  Unfortunately, neither of these can be done.  The first policy would involve hauling down the long-term unfunded entitlements and largely replacing them with self-supporting schemes aided by a measure of transfer payments to the small number unable to fund their own future needs. 

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An honourary D.Litt for Eamonn Butler

Written by | Tuesday 19 June 2012

In a signal honour for the Adam Smith Institute and especially for Eamonn personally, he is today awarded an honorary D Litt from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

In presenting Dr Butler for the degree, the Head of the Business School described Eamonn as "following in Adam Smith's footsteps."  Just as Scotland's most famous economist had opposed vested interests which used government power to distort markets and promote anti-competitive regulations, so Eamonn has campaigned to have whole areas of government activity carried out more efficiently by free market activity:

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