Adam Smith's Legacy

Prominent academics, journalists and politicians highlight the historical contribution of Adam Smith and the role of his ideas in the shaping of modern economic thinking. Includes contributions by Leo Rosten, Professors William Letwin and Edwin G West who speak to The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments specifically, Richard Vernier, Russell Lewis, writing about Adam Smith today, Rt Hon Nicholas Ridley, Professor Norman Barry with a piece about the ethics of capitalism, and Dr Jeremy Shearmur.

Read the full essay collection here

Competition for the Phone

In approaching the decisions that have to be made in the forthcoming duopoly review, this paper argues that the UK should adopt the same approach that it has to other industries as they move towards more effective competition. The reduction in intervention, and the increased opportunity for market forces to shape companies throughout British industry, have transformed many under-performing sectors. They will be no less effective in the telecommunications sector.  

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Green Machines

There is a neo-puritan strain running through parts of modern society which urges us to live more simply. Looking longingly back to easier and quieter times, it urges us to learn to do without the motor car and the conveniences it brings. This view is sometimes expressed as an aversion not onlyto automobiles, but to economic growth itself. It sees modern technology as the source of insuperable problems, and urges us to dismount the tiger which we have by the tail.

This report derives from the alternative view that the problems derive not from surfeit of modern technology, but a deficiency of it. It seeks to explore how a more advanced technology of a lower level. It endeavours to apply the problem-solving techniques of public policy in order to accelerate the development of a technology which brings answers instead of problems.

The solution looked for is not one which seeks to banish the automobile, but one which seeks to tame it, to humanize it, to make it an acceptable companion of our cities. 

Read the full paper here.

Fast Track Forward

High speed rail networks across continental Europe are developing rapidly, with the liberalisation of Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany. With the French Railways (SNCF) and German Railways (Bundesbahn) looking to expand eastwards. Britain risks being left on the sidelines as an island nation. It must look for innovative ways to rejoin Europe with high speed rail. The Labour Party's policy document "Moving Britain Into Europe - A high speed future for transport" is one possible way of bridging the gap. This paper critically analyses Labour's proposals, examines the controversy surrounding the fixed link, suggests policies for a high speed UK rail network and develops two sets of proposals for high speed services to Europe. It is also calling Government to implement feasibility studies on such proposals or to put forward its own alternatives. 

Read the full paper here

Sunday, Sunday

Proposals to allow Sunday opening of shops in England and Wales are again on the political agenda. Despite the failure of the Thatcher government's previous attempt to deregulate Sunday trading, the arguments in favour of change are as strong as ever.

This publication is an evaluation of the arguments for and against Sunday trading, looking at examples of it in action across the world, and applying it to the current UK climate.

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