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The enduring curse of easy answers

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Political radicals are in the news, especially in Greece and now Spain. In the midst of tragic suffering, people are being seduced by the curse of easy answers. State socialism has always aimed at a spectacular improvement in the average person’s standard of living. It is a noble intention which I share. The problem is that the methods chosen by state socialists to achieve their aim cannot succeed. And, tragically, in the course of trying, state socialists have all but […]

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In Defence of Capitali$m | a Christian perspective for BMS World Mission

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[BMS World Mission asked me to write a defence of capitalism from a Christian perspective for their magazine Mission Catalyst. It appears in Issue 4 2014, alongside a defence of socialism.  The article is online here and reproduced below. The entire issue is available to read as published here. I may reply to the defence of socialism if time allows.] I want an end to poverty. I want a social system which operates justly in the general interest without boom and […]

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Of course shareholders should control executive pay

Via the BBC: Swiss voters have overwhelmingly backed proposals to impose some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, final referendum results show. The measure has two important strands: shareholders will have a veto on executive remuneration and golden hellos and goodbyes will be banned. The former is a sensible, pro-market reform, the latter is not. Both are a response to what has gone wrong with capitalism. It is entirely right that the owners of firms should control the […]

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Ending crony capitalism – how markets work

Crony capitalism — businesses capturing the state for commercial advantage, serving politicians and officials instead of the public — ought to be brought to an end. A prerequisite to that is a good understanding of how social cooperation in the market works. Israel Kirzner’s, How Markets Work: Disequilibrium, Entrepreneurship and Discovery (PDF) provides a brief and readable explanation. From the book’s page at the IEA: Human action consists of ‘grappling with an essentially unknown future’, not being confronted with clearly-specified […]

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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on the Moral Case for Capitalism

Via, The 15 Best Videos on Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on the Moral Case for Capitalism: You have empathy and care and sympathy for others and you have the foundation for a great economic system. But intellectuals and economists ignored that ethical foundation for capitalism and tried to ground it on strict self-interest and that led to ethical attacks…

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Who Exploits You More: Capitalists or Cronies?

Via Learn Liberty, Who Exploits You More: Capitalists or Cronies? See also this short book on how political decisions come to be made: Public Choice – a Primer by Dr Eamonn Butler. Or watch Yes, Minister.

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Is Capitalism “Pro-Business?”

Via Learn Liberty, Is Capitalism “Pro-Business?”

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Luigi Zingales – Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity

This morning, I had breakfast with the engaging and insightful Luigi Zingales, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago Booth and author of Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. Via Amazon: A rising star in economics takes a forceful and sometimes personal look at how pro-business forces overwhelmed the pro-market principles that made American capitalism great, and how to get it back on track. Born in Italy, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales witnessed firsthand […]

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Crony capitalism is so entrenched, we scarcely even spot it

The Transport Committee met today for an evidence session on low carbon vehicles. It illustrated that crony capitalism is now not merely entrenched and passed over, but borne out of the good intentions of a global regulatory elite. In the first session, we learned that “consumer demand is lagging policy”, which I translated as “people don’t want to buy these expensive vehicles” (I’ll link to the transcript later). We learned that electric vehicles are expensive and impractical: £30,000 for a […]

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On double-dip recession, Tullett Prebon rightly ask “What’s the big idea?”

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The latest strategy note from Tullet Prebon asks, “What’s the big idea?” with the subtitle “the imperative need for a new ideology”, writing: Effective government is not simply a matter of management. Even in good times, competence is barely enough. In bad times, ideological clarity is imperative, and the lack of a clear, ideas-based strategy is the black hole at the heart of the coalition administration. This chart is particularly informative: They comment, “The centre-right is in desperate need of a […]

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