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Book review – The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

I frequently enjoy Hayek’s writing less than anticipated. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism was no exception. The book is mercifully brief and its substance is insightful and yet it was a dull read. It begins by explaining that tradition arises between instinct and reason. Hayek destroys the case for a rational reconstruction of civilisation. It is a fatal conceit to imagine society can be designed, one grounded in fear and a revolt against reason. Markets, money and trade emerged […]

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Book review: The Golden Revolution – How to prepare for the coming global gold standard, Butler

Conservative economic policy is easily recognised when stated as balanced budgets, low taxes and sound money. Today, these are a distant prospect. For all the work the Government have done, this year’s net financing requirement is £144.9 billion, larger than the health budget (£140bn) or education (£98bn). As my weekend brief explains, “The Government have delivered a typical tax cut of £705 for over 25 million people and taken over 3 million people out of [income] tax altogether”, however, please contact […]

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Mises’ Socialism and George Osborne’s year of hard truths

Ludwig von Mises’ 1922 book Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis is the definitive refutation of socialism, ie coercive direction of production and distribution by the state. It is the book which persuaded Friedrich Hayek to turn to classical liberalism. He wrote in his foreword, Socialism promised to fulfill our hopes for a more rational, more just world. And then came this book. Our hopes were dashed. Socialism told us that we had be looking for improvement in the wrong direction. […]

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“It is impossible to be a democrat and support the continued existence of the European Union”

In the Telegraph, Peter Oborne reviews Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy by Peter Mair. I have not yet read it. Towards the end, Oborne writes, Like Miliband, Peter Mair comes from the Left. He was an Irishman who spent the majority of his professional life working in European universities in Italy, the Netherlands or Ireland. And yet he has written what is by far and away the most powerful, learned and persuasive anti-EU treatise I have come […]

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Book review: Life After The State, Dominic Frisby

Dominic Frisby’s Life After the State catalogues the systematic failure of political power to meet people’s aspirations for it. From the book description: Have you ever had the nagging feeling that the problems the country faces are spiraling out of control, that the government has lost its way and that, despite its promises, nothing ever changes? Well, you’re right. In every instance where government gets involved in people’s lives with a desire to do good, it can always be relied […]

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Book review: The Problem of Political Authority

Earlier in the year, I had a wonderful conversation on the doorstep with a lady who, like so many members of the public, despairs at the conduct of all politicians. I asked if she had followed my own actions and could give me a personal example. The truth was, as I expected and perfectly reasonably, that her views were formed by press reporting of the political battle amongst generals far above this foot-soldier’s level. The pattern is quite common. Increasing […]

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Book review: Milton Friedman by Eamonn Butler

I usually romp through Eamonn Butler’s books and Milton Friedman: A concise guide to the ideas and influence of the free-market economist was no exception. The book sets out how Friedman became a public intellectual of worldwide influence, how to end financial crises and how to cure inflation. People, trade and currencies should be free, he argued. Government fails and markets work to promote diversity and help ordinary people. Friedman advocated a 100% reserve requirement on demand deposits, giving government […]

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Book review: On God’s Side, Jim Wallis

I enjoyed meeting Jim Wallis in Parliament through The Bible Society. He’s undoubtedly a great orator with a huge heart for service to other people in fulfilment of the Christian faith we share. I mostly delighted in his book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. The book’s key inspiration is a saying of Abraham Lincoln, My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be […]

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The German way of 1923

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I chanced this morning on the superb collection of essays from Ludwig von Mises, The Causes of the Economic Crisis and Other Essays Before and After the Great Depression (PDF). In his Stabilization of the Monetary Unit—From the Viewpoint of Theory written in 1923, he showed considerable foresight: Only the hopelessly confirmed statist can cherish the hope that a money, continually declining in value, may be maintained in use as money over the long run. That the German mark is […]

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Book review: Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations

Karl Popper’s 582-page Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge seemed a daunting read. It need not have done: the essays within are written in plain English and a lively style. The central theme of the book is that our knowledge, our aims and our standards develop through trial and error: that is, by making conjectures and seeking their refutation. I was glad I read the book knowing Popper had turned from the so-called “scientific socialism” of Marxism. In […]

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