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On hampered markets and free

During the Transport Comittee today, one of the witnesses described the personal injury system as “the free market as it is today”. On closer questioning, it turned out that what passes for a market is hampered by heavy structural interventions and price controls imposed by the state. It occurred to me that the usual action of free markets is to increase quality and quantity, decrease price and improve service. And this in an enquiry on the cost of motor insurance… There […]

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I met today with the excellent think tank OpenEurope, along with other MPs of various parties: Open Europe is an independent think tank, with offices in London and Brussels, set up by some of the UK’s leading business people to contribute bold new thinking to the debate about the direction of the EU. While we are committed to European co-operation, Open Europe believes that the EU has reached a critical moment in its development. ‘Ever closer union’, espoused by Jean […]

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Ofgem urges a shake-up of the energy market

This post originally appeared at cobdencentre.org. Via FT.com, Ofgem urges a shake-up of the energy market, Sweeping reforms of the UK’s energy market must be brought in urgently to protect energy supplies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver the £200bn investment needed in the power sector, the energy regulator said on Wednesday. Ofgem said options for reform would include placing more stringent legal obligations on energy suppliers, and “improved market signals”, which could include a higher price on carbon dioxide […]

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Soviet Britain

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Via the Institute for Economic Affairs, we discover the state devouring the economy – ie, the cooperative actions of free people – for over a century: See also The Times Online, ‘Soviet’ Britain swells amid the recession: The state now looms far larger in many parts of Britain than it did in former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary and Slovakia as they emerged from communism in the 1990s, when state spending accounted for about 60% of their economies. And […]

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Big Players and the Economic Theory of Expectations

This post originally appeared on cobdencentre.org. Via FT.com / US / Economy & Fed – Fed signals pullback in liquidity supports, we learn: The Federal Reserve on Wednesday upgraded its assessment of the US economy and highlighted its intention to shut down most of its crisis-fighting liquidity facilities in early 2010. And consequently: Stocks eased slightly after the Fed statement, while the yield curve in the bond market steepened. Which brings us on to Roger Koppl’s Big Players and the […]

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Sustainability: An Assault on Economics – Tyler A. Watts

One of my key areas of interest is how to deliver sustainable, stable and inclusive prosperity. This is why I dedicate so much time to economics. However, the word “sustainable” may not convey the same thing to everyone: via Sustainability: An Assault on Economics – Tyler A. Watts – Mises Institute: The sustainability movement is an assault on economics. It claims at its core that prices don’t operate through time to direct consumption and production decisions in a sustainable way. […]

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Ofwat, Water UK, the Consumer Council for Water and The Managerial Revolution

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In this article, I make the case that we live in a managerial society, one born in the tragedy of the first half of the twentieth century, and that it is this social system which is failing today. I also set out what can be done about it: the future is hopeful. This morning, I watched on the BBC a fascinating series of interviews in connection with this story about water pricing: Average water bills in England and Wales will […]

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Climate targets can’t be achieved, say energy companies – Telegraph

Via Climate targets can’t be achieved, say energy companies – Telegraph: Energy companies have privately warned the Government that its climate change targets are “illusory” and “delusional” as global leaders prepare to sign up to stricter guidelines at the Copenhagen climate change conference in six weeks. We are already facing electricity shortages: how long before someone suggests we live with rationed electricity? If we are serious about energy security and global warming, what is required is a business environment which will […]

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How should we live?

After debating today with my pastor whether what the world needs is more or less government intervention in the cooperative actions of individuals (ie, the economy), I rediscovered the following from De Tocqueville (1835/1840). The passage paints his vision of a future democratic society, indicating how he foresaw people might live: I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all […]

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Moral Markets and Honest Money

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Revised and updated: reconciling our conflicting views of the market through consistent principle and morality. A Christian friend is an avowed socialist and another associate is determinedly left wing. I asked them recently what socialism meant to them. The answer was essentially “people being good to one another”: kindness, compassion, fairness and justice, even liberty. Who would oppose that? But can force make it so? Though I write with great affection for my friends, when I hear or read “socialism”, […]

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