Jan Boucek

Holy Credit!

Written by | Friday 26 July 2013

So Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wants to make the Church of England’s property available for Credit Unions so they can wipe out those dastardly payday loan sharks. This is a brilliant idea with wide-ranging opportunities for both entrepreneurial clerics and banks.

Just consider the convenience for consumers of banking and praying at the same time. After the queue for communion, you simply shuffle over to the bank teller next to the altar to pick up your loan or maybe deposit whatever spare change you have after passing the collection box.

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Ending employer pension plans

Written by | Monday 10 December 2012

Last week’s autumn statement was further proof that Britain’s pension arrangements are out of date, grossly inefficient and far too complicated. The system benefits politicians, bureaucrats and the pensions industry to the detriment of savers, pensioners and employers. It’s time to sever the link between employment and pension provision.

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Saint Mark

Written by | Friday 30 November 2012

Canada’s motto of “peace, order and good government” may not stir the blood as America’s “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” or France’s “liberté, égalité, fraternité” but, all things considered, the country’s not in a bad place compared with other advanced economies. The banking system is solid, government debt and borrowing manageable and growth and inflation about as good as could be expected from a major trading nation.

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Behold the Dartford Olympics

Written by | Monday 30 July 2012

Hopefully, David Cameron’s summer vacation takes him over the Dartford Crossing over the Thames River downstream from London. With luck, the toll queue on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge will let the Prime Minister take in the stunning views in all directions - the panorama will instil more pride in the nation and inspiration for new policies than the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

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Cash piles

Written by | Monday 16 July 2012

A series of news items on cash in recent days underscore the perversity of the world’s  economic situation. What they all have in common is the growing piles of cash around the world that no one knows what to do with. Consider these items:

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Market hypocrisy

Written by | Monday 9 July 2012

It was nice to see so many of our politicians attacking Barclays’ Bob Diamond for distorting markets by manipulating Libor rates. Efficient markets are the bedrock for solid economic growth, and nobody defends free and open markets better than the Adam Smith Institute, so can we take credit for the politicians’ exuberant market fervour?

Alas, no. Many members of the Treasury Select Committee were simply grand-standing hypocrites because nobody manipulates markets more and urges others to do the same than that crowd hunkered down in Westminster and its various partners in crime.

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Inquiry festivals

Written by | Wednesday 4 July 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron has just got to think bigger. His announcement of a parliamentary inquiry into the banking industry as a result of the Libor scandal missed a huge opportunity. Maybe Labour leader Ed Miliband has the right idea with his call for a full-blown independent Leveson-style inquiry into British banking.

This could be the start of a series of inquiries around the country on any number of issues. After all, the music festival business is in decline and the Olympics will soon be over so Ed’s Big Idea could keep the circuses coming.

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Subverting the Teutonic way

Written by | Monday 25 June 2012

Are the days numbered for Europe’s last big bastion of sound money and public finances? The omens from its real estate market aren’t good.

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Rhapsody in regulation

Written by | Tuesday 19 June 2012

“The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.” — Adam Smith in The Wealth Of Nations

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Granny mugging

Written by | Monday 11 June 2012

Nick Petford, vice-chancellor at the University of Northampton, wants to take money from law-abiding pensioners and savers in order to give it to convicted criminals. In the spirit of the times, let’s call it granny mugging.

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