Economic Regeneration Through Banking Reform

It has been the commonly held view since at least the second world war that the way to bring about economic growth in the poorer parts of Britain was through government intervention; through negative measures such as industrial development certificates, and through positive measures such as subsidies, grants, and cheap loans. Equally, it has been commonly argued that the way to generate growth in general is through increased government spending, financed as often as not through inflation of the money supply. Both views have become progressively more difficult to sustain in the light of actual experience, of deprived areas remaining so despite the aid they receive (while the areas financing regional aid themsleves decline), and of periodic bouts of inflation creating transient growth at the cost of long-term depression and unemployment.

But, if failure is the predominant feature of post war policy the example of an earlier period might well indicate the way towards a more prosperous future. Between 1750 and 1844, Soctland raised its standard of living from half that of England to somewhere near parity and did it without government activity, interference, or control. The engine behind that remarkable record of growth was a banking system free of all but the most minimal restrictions and isolated from the activities of any central bank.

At a time when legislation is promised to complete the amalgamation of the Trustee Savings Bank Movement into a new national joint-stock bank, when the Royal Bank of Scotland is integrating its operations with its English affiliate, Williams and Glyns, and when non-banking financial institutions such as building societies are increasingly offering banking-type services, it would seem appropriate for a radical review of the regime within which British banks have to operate and the consequences that regime has created for their customers.

Read it here.

The Future of Pensions

This report is not intended for the pensions technician, but to raise a few fundamental questions about the state pensions and welfare system which affects us all. It reviews the shortcomings of the present arrangements, and asks whether freedom of choice and other long-term objectives can be achieved more effectively by moving from state pension provision to personal pensions arrangements provided by the private sector.  

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The Tringo Phenomenon

Economists have noted that when taxation and regulation are very high, there is a tendency for economic activity to move beyond the range of scrutiny. An "underground" or "black" economy develops in areas which are not easily measured and assessed. This movement appears to have its counterpart in government activity. When government itself is under criticism for its size and growth, there is a tendency for it, too, to move off-stage.


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Omega report - Local government, planning and housing

"The Adam Smith Institute's Omega Project was conceived to fill a significant gap in the field of public policy research. Administrations entering office in democratic societies are often aware of the problems which they face, but lack a well-developed range of policy options. The process by which policy innovations are brought forward and examined is often wasteful of time, and unconducive to creative thought."

This Omega report is one of the Omega Files, a collection of 600 policy initiatives published by the Adam Smith Institute in the 1980s. This particular report's focus is local government, planning and housing, and it was one of the first papers to call for the relaxation of the greenbelt.

This Omega report is broken down into the following chapters:

  1. Local Government Services
  2. The Structure of Local Government
  3. The Finance of Local Government
  4. The Main Proposals
  5. Planning
  6. Planning Proposals
  7. Housing
  8. Summary and Conclusions

Hayek: His contribution

... to the economic and political thought of our time. This book, written by Dr Eamonn Butler, gives an introduction to the great Austrian economist and political philosopher Friedrich A. Hayek. The book covers the themes of Hayek's work, which consists more than 25 books and numerous articles. The topics include Hayek's understanding of the market process; his critique of socialism and the meaningless term of social justice, and Hayek's suggestions for the constitution of the liberal state.

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Icarus: Or the Fate of Democratic Socialism

The only countries which unequivocally call themselves socialist are those under totalitarian rule or in process of fashioning such rule, namely the Soviet Unions and its European satellites, China, Yugoslavia, Albania, and a Third World country or two, such as Cuba, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Grenada. Though here and there among these countries there may have been some measure of liberalisation. the system has remained essentially totalitarian even in such cases. In the Western democratic world there are socialist parties which form or have formed, governments, but such countries are generally thought by the socialists themselves, as well as by all others, to be still in substantial measure capitalist or non-socialist, or at best only part-socialist, in character.

In this book, Shenfield explains why democratic socialism is destined to fail.

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Roads and the Private Sector

A collection of papers written by a range of authors on the theme of 'Roads and the Private Sector'. The collection offers authors' views on what the problems with the road network are, how private sector investment may help, the public's views on private road investment and the consequences of private funding of roads.  

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The Rise of the Euro Quango

Michael Fallon suggests timely reforms. If they are not heeded, we may soon see a European Community governed not by Parliaments, Ministers or peoples but a faceless bureaucracy operating through bodies which lie beyond the reach of democratic control.


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