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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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Reform the Council of Europe and abolish the EU


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Via Angela Merkel: Brussels should return powers – Telegraph: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has raised Conservative hopes for David Cameron’s European policy by saying that the European Union should discuss returning powers from Brussels to national governments. Good, though I am not surprised. Having had breakfast recently with the German Ambassador, I know devolved powers are consistent with the German vision of a federal state. All the while politicians insist on policies of interference with business within a customs union, […]

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The Finance Bill 2013 – How to promote special interest lobbying


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Yesterday, I spoke against Clause 35 and schedules 15 to 17 of the Finance Bill 2013. They introduce tax relief for “high-end” television production (that is, posh drama and comedy) and video games development. They’re industries I’d like to see flourish but not by granting special privileges. It’s special privilege which is the most egregious objective of lobbying: it represents a subsidy for a preferred group at everyone else’s expense. I began by provoking laughter, for this kind of measure deserves to be […]

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Anti-cronyism humour – the TARP song (2009)


The TARP song, which shows people can find a way to laugh at most things (contains moderate bad language): TARP is the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a massive bailout in the USA. In a similar vein, The Spectator recently reported a truth about current monetary policy: QE — the ultimate subsidy for the rich. All this is something I have written and spoken about many times — e.g. If this is capitalism, I am not a capitalist. Crony capitalism must […]

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Contemporary crony capitalism – Living with Leviathan


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For a contemporary and historical account of the scale of the state and its relations with nominally private business, I recommend David B. Smith’s excellent Living with Leviathan: Public Spending, Taxes and Economic Performance: In the last 90 years the proportion of national income spent by the UK government has increased from around 10 per cent to nearly 50 per cent. This general trend has been followed in most other developed countries, although levels of government spending are much higher in […]

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