Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman is Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute. He writes on immigration, Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, and complexity in public policy.

Should the government fund the arts?

Written by | Tuesday 28 August 2012

Should the government fund the arts? No, says Pete Spence, the newest addition to the Adam Smith Institute team at The Economist's debate site. Pete makes a strong argument against taxpayer subsidies for the arts, arguing that they should be opposed not because of the cost, but because of the harmful impact of government money on the arts themselves:

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Money is not a creature of the state

Written by | Tuesday 28 August 2012

If bread were a state monopoly for long enough, The Economist would be aghast at its privatization. That's George Selgin's conclusion after reading the magazine's report on the origins of money. A decent effort, he says, but with a glaring flaw: its claim that coinage, the root of commodity money, was exclusively the preserve of the state:

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Will more state spending stimulate the economy?

Written by | Thursday 23 August 2012

Things look pretty grim in the economy right now, so naturally people want to do something about it. That 'something' seems to be more capital spending in order to stimulate demand and put 'idle' resources to work. That's a bad idea, as Prof Steve Horwitz (whose ASI lecture next month is now fully booked) explains in a blogpost for the LSE's EUROPP blog:

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President Obama's blue chart of death

Written by | Thursday 23 August 2012

The American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis posts an updated version of the Obama jobs chart. Note the green dot — what the unemployment rate would be like without the early retirements and other people who, in one way or another, have decided to stop looking for jobs altogether.

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The Fountainhead comes to London

Written by | Wednesday 22 August 2012

Ayn Rand seems to be everywhere these days. Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee presumptive for Vice President, is a fan (although his actions have often not matched his words); the world's media have become slightly obsessed with explaining how appallingly individualistic she and her writings were; and, best of all, the Adam Smith Institute's Ayn Rand Lecture this year was a roaring success.

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Illegal everything

Written by | Tuesday 14 August 2012

I'm away in Ireland at the moment, but I enjoyed watching this video last night and thought readers of the blog might too. It's a surprising look into the American regulatory state, with plenty of points that will be (sadly) familiar to viewers on this side of the Atlantic as well. (Quite a few of the points are also rather surprising to see on Fox News — in a funny way it's quite a subversive film.)

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Gentlemen, kickstart your engines

Written by | Friday 10 August 2012

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On business cycles and economic engineering

Written by | Tuesday 7 August 2012

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The blunder that is France's Tobin Tax

Written by | Thursday 2 August 2012

I'm in City AM this morning writing about the new French Tobin Tax, something we're particularly interested in here at the ASI:

WHEN Napoleon Bonaparte’s regime executed an aristocrat on trumped-up charges of treason, stirring up bloody memories of the Revolution, his chief of police is said to have remarked that it was “worse than a crime; it was a blunder”.

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One easy step to a cost-free Living Wage

Written by | Friday 13 July 2012

I was on Radio Five Live this morning in discussion with the Living Wage Foundation’s Director, Rhys Moore. The news hook was the story today about Whitehall cleaners demanding a pay rise, which I’m actually pretty sympathetic to – I’d rather public money went on a slightly higher wage bill for cleaners than the considerably higher wages of the many, many unnecessary quango staff that the government pays for, the bloated public service, and so on.

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