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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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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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Heathrow – this price fixing must end


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Via BBC News – Heathrow Airport attacks regulator’s price-control plan: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Thursday said that Heathrow’s yearly rise between 2014-18 should not be more than the retail price index (RPI). Prices can only bring supply and demand into balance if they are allowed to find their own level. If some government authority fixes prices, it is bound to create problems: we should not be surprised Heathrow is overcrowded and other airports struggle if prices for access […]

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HS2: Update


I have continuously campaigned against a second state-funded high speed rail programme. It is slowly transpiring that the business case is collapsing. The benefit cost ratio (BCR) for phase 1 has fallen from 2.4 in March 2010 to just 1.2 today and 1.4 for the whole of the Y spur extension. A fifth downgrade is expected to be released in the summer incorporating the new, lower GDP figures. How low do the figures need to go until policy makers understand […]

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Low rates and the damage they are doing to the economy and society


Via Another “Operation Twist” will cause more damage to the economy » The Cobden Centre, Frank Shostak explains the damage that will be done by further credit market interventions: Last week the US central bank has announced that it will expand its “Operation Twist” program to extend the maturities of assets on its balance sheet and also said it stands ready to take further action to put unemployed Americans back to work. The US central bank will prolong the program […]

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