It is customary for those in public life who set out their ideas to sensationalize their work with overblown claims about its urgency. Thus we are usually told that "Britain stands at the crossroads," and that critical choices have to be made which will determine the entire future of the nation. Such claims serve to underline the dire warnings of the writer, to alarm people that we face some sort of "crisis," and to suggest that only prompt action based on those selfsame insights can avert the impending catastrophe. I make no such claims. Britain stands at no crossroads except in the trivial sense that every present is a crossroads where the past meets the future. I do not believe that this nation is in crisis or that only the immediate adoption of urgent remedies can save it. On the contrary, I believe that Britain is well on course, and is in the process of making a seamless transition from the policies which succeeded in the 180s to those which will succeed in the 1990s.
Thus my purpose is not an attempt to sound the alert to some impending emergency, however much interest such drama would add to my words. It is rather to show how the principles which enabled us to solve many of the problems of the last decade can develop the policies we need to tackle the different priorities which the current decade presents.
In this paper Dr. Madsen Pirie discusses the differences between public and private sector ownership, and the overarching benefits of private ownership for the consumer.
In this essay, Professor Kenneth Minogue puts in context the claim that events in Eastern Europe leave the genuine blueprint of socialism quite untorn. He argues that it represents just one more example of a familiar human frailty, the sad but common unwillingness of human beings to give up their most cherished beliefs and prejudices.
The following publication is a summary of key policies toward pharmaceuticals in three European countries, Britain, France and West Germany, in 1989. Four key policy areas are covered: pricing and reimbursement, registration, research and development and patents. Some reference is made to pharmaceutical policies in other European countries where this is thought to be particularly relevant or illuminating.
It provides an overview of key policies and may be regarded as a primer for non-experts.
There is a growing consensus in Britain that urgent membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism of the European Monetary System is required to cure Britain's inflation and to secure the re-election of the Conservatives at the next election. The argument put forward by proponents of membership is, however, flawed and many of those who argue for membership have secondary reasons unconnected with sound analyses of the problems facing the British economy. Most of these arguments skim swiftly over the economic reasons for membership to concentrate on the political or the future of the EEC. And, indeed, many proponents of ERM are also unapologetic supporters of full monetary union. It is interesting that the clamouring for membership of the ERM is only now being put forward as a panacea for our inflationary problems. It was not so mooted as a cure for the inflation faced by Britain in the early 1980s. Is it a coincidence that the current calls for membership of the ERM occur at the same time as those in favour of full monetary union are pressing ahead on the next stage of their plan?
This paper seeks to scrutinise the major arguments put forward in favour of ERM membership - whether it be early membership, or even membership "when the time is right". It argues that membership of the ERM would not solve the problems faced by Britain. It seeks to establish this by concentrating on the following areas:
- by exposing the flaws in the economic argument in favour of joining the ERM;
- by highlighting the political implications of membership.