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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The sale of Royal Mail was well handled

Written by | Tuesday 1 April 2014

The National Audit Office, some of the media, and the Opposition (of course) are saying that the sale of Royal Mail was "too cautious" and lost "hundreds of millions of pounds" for the taxpayer.  This is nonsense, and its currency shows how little some people understand about privatization, or perhaps how much people have forgotten by not doing it.

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Ireland prepares to leave the bailout, after a policy of spending cuts and tax increases rather than the fiscal stimulus that some urged upon it

Written by | Tuesday 15 October 2013

It's reported that the Republic of Ireland will leave the 85bn euro bailout package it undertook when its banks collapsed in 2010 by December this year.  Prime Minister Enda Kenny says that Ireland's 4.8% deficit next year will be well ahead of its 5.1% target.

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The empathy that John Donne and Adam Smith had in common

Written by | Monday 23 September 2013

Both John Donne and Adam Smith expressed the view that we empathize with our fellow men and women.  Donne said that "any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde."  A century and a half later in his Theory of Moral Sentiments Smith wrote, "How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

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The good news about world poverty and globalization

Written by | Wednesday 24 July 2013

On my own website today I draw attention to the Economist story about the progress of world poverty between 1990 and 2010. I point out that:

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Libertarian film screening of Brazil

Written by | Monday 15 July 2013

Tom Stringer has arranged a really fun Saturday morning outing on Saturday August 3rd.  It's a showing of the movie "Brazil" in the Everyman theatre at 96-98 Baker Street.  There's a coffee bar for pre-movie snacks, and a real bar for those who can't wait for their gin and tonic.  Everyone's in for a treat, with most going along to local pubs afterwards for lunch with a pint.

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Professor Kenneth Minogue

Written by | Monday 1 July 2013

Sadly Prof Kenneth Monogue has died. Born in New Zealand and educated in Australia, he taught at the LSE since 1959, eventually being appointed Emeritus Professor of Political Theory. He fought tirelessly and bravely for freedom at a time when it mattered most, and has a huge range of scholarly works to his credit, including "The Liberal Mind," "Nationalism," and "Alien Powers - The Pure Theory of Ideology." He made an important contribution to the understanding of ideologies, and took apart some once-popular ones with forensic skill.

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Three ideas that will not be in the Queen's Speech

Written by | Wednesday 8 May 2013

I was on the Today programme on BBC Radio4 alongside Tom Papworth of Centre Forum.  John Humphrys asked each of us to nominate three pieces of legislation we'd like to have seen in the Queen's Speech setting out the government's priorities for the year.

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Ten reasons why the Left should like the ASI, 7: Killing nanny

Written by | Tuesday 7 May 2013

The Left should back the ASI's objection to having the state make decisions for working class people under the claim that it knows best what is good for them.

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Calling on the affluent elderly to send back their benefits

Written by | Tuesday 30 April 2013

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has called upon wealthy elderly people who do not need benefits to return the money to the government.  His case is that the winter fuel allowance, the Christmas bonus and travel passes are handed out to the elderly without means-testing, so that some undoubtedly go to the comparatively well-off.  Iain Duncan Smith's plea calls to mind the recent paper from the Fabian Society calling for older people to pay more tax, since pensioner couples are in the top half of UK income distribution for disposable incomes, with 80% of them owni

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Figaro wonders why people are leaving France

Written by | Monday 22 April 2013

The cover of Figaro magazine says it all.  “They are leaving for London, Brussels or New York,” it says, and asks, “Why are they leaving France?”  It then talks of “the ravages of fiscal banishment” and “the youngsters who leave to succeed elsewhere.” The young people shown seem to be happily waving goodbye to France’s punitive taxes.  It bears remembering that there are misguided people in Britain who tell us that taxes do not make people change their behaviour…

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