This Sunday the Observer ran a frontpage story headlined ‘rightwing thinktanks call time on austerity era’. I was quoted in the article, wearing my IEA hat, as were representatives of the Adam Smith Institute, Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange. As it happens, I am happy with the specific comments attributed to me, which … Continue reading No, Observer: ‘free-market think-tanks’ haven’t changed their tune
It is understandable that some people are on the lookout for villains to blame in this time of national crisis – and who better than City ‘fat cats’ who are ‘profiting from the misery of others’? But it usually only takes a moment of serious thought to realise that these attacks are well wide of … Continue reading Why bans on ‘short selling’ are a bad idea
"I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that an emerging markets fund co-founded by Jacob Rees-Mogg is taking advantage of lower equity prices to buy shares in, er, Brazilian healthcare companies and South African chemist chains. This SICKENING behaviour, er, (cont. p94)..." (with apologies to the Private Eye’s Dave Spart) I’ve written before about the lazy narrative of ‘disaster … Continue reading ‘Disaster capitalism’ revisited – the case of Somerset Capital
Given how trendy it is to blame ‘capitalism’ for all the world’s other ills, from wars to climate change, it’s no surprise that some have been quick to pin the current crisis on the failures of free markets too. Many have also used the need for unprecedented government intervention as evidence that the state should … Continue reading Coronavirus crisis doesn’t mean Corbyn was right
Given that even ‘profit’ now seems to be dirty word, it is no surprise that being accused of ‘profiteering’ during a crisis is about as bad as it can get. But there are some circumstances when an increase in prices in response to exceptional demand can actually be a good thing. By definition, ‘profiteering’ is … Continue reading Can ‘profiteering’ ever be justified?
The coronavirus job retention scheme is the biggest step the Chancellor has taken so far, both in terms of its nature (subsidising the wages of millions of private sector worker) and cost (potentially many tens of billions of pounds). This raises three questions. Is this degree of state intervention justified? What more is needed? And … Continue reading ‘Intervention is essential, but does not signal a socialist state’
In their latest stunt, protestors from Extinction Rebellion have dug up the lawn at Trinity College, Cambridge. Presumably they think all publicity is good publicity, but this looks like yet another own goal. Trinity appears to have been targeted for two reasons, both stupid. One is opposition to the college’s involvement in plans to redevelop … Continue reading Why Extinction Rebellion should stay off the grass