The Labour Party has set out plans “to deliver fast and free full-fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service”. This is bad economics. There is no doubt that the wider availability of broadband would be a ‘good thing’. Indeed, the case was … Continue reading Labour’s ‘free broadband’ would come at a heavy price
According to Brexit pessimists, the UK economy is already as much as 3% smaller than it would have been if the UK had voted to remain in the EU, and the deal that Boris Johnson’s government has negotiated could reduce GDP by another 7% over the next ten years. Fortunately, neither of these numbers stands … Continue reading What would Boris’ deal mean for the economy?
If there’s one industry where it should be possible to make a decent case for renationalisation, it’s surely water. The water and sewerage utilities provide an essential service, have many features of a natural monopoly, and need high levels of investment that could, in principle, be financed more cheaply by government. Labour’s 2017 Manifesto claimed that … Continue reading Should English water be renationalised?
A day rarely seems to go by without fresh calls for the government to control the price of a good or service in response to some perceived unfairness. The latest example is the outcry over the higher cost of holidays taken outside school term times. But this outcry also illustrates why, more often than not, … Continue reading Should the prices of family holidays be capped outside term time?
At first sight there’s an obvious inconsistency between libertarianism and paternalism. The latter usually involves government actions which limit someone’s choices, even if the intention is to promote their own good. How can it be right (asks the libertarian) to restrict an individual’s freedom and autonomy just because the government thinks it knows better? Indeed, … Continue reading Nudge economics – can paternalism ever be libertarian?