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The central banks have backed their economies into a corner

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Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve decided not to reduce its money creation programme of $85 billion a month. The Cobden Centre publishes a response, No tapering, no surprise: It was not too surprising that there is going to be no tapering for some very good reasons. The commencement of tapering would have led deliberately to bond yields rising, triggered by an increase in sales of government bonds to the public and at the same time escalating sales by foreign governments as […]

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Lloyd George’s liberalism

This quote by Lloyd George has been suggested to me. It’s from “Carving the Last Few Columns out of the Gladstonian Quarry: The Liberal Leaders and the Mantle of Gladstone, 1898–1929”, in David Bebbington and Roger Swift (eds.), Gladstone Centenary Essays, p 253. The doctrine of Liberalism is a doctrine that believes that private property, as an incentive, as a means, as a reward, is the most potent agency not merely for the wealth, but for the well-being of the community. […]

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Niall Ferguson reviews “Lords of Finance”

Via The great liquidity crisis – 94 years ago, Niall Ferguson provides an instructive review of Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression, and the Bankers who Broke the World: By the summer of 1931, however, it was dawning even on Norman that the world economy was falling off a cliff. With massive bank failures on both sides of the Atlantic, it became clear that the Lords of Finance had bungled things. “Unless drastic measures are taken to save it,” he […]

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The Big Society message in Wycombe today

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There is such a thing as society – it’s just not the same as the state. — David Cameron Today, the Big Society message went out powerfully in Wycombe. I spent this morning visiting Coffee Nation‘s HQ, where Chief Executive Scott Martin and I discussed enterprise as the basis of a positive society in the interests of everyman: their gourmet self-service coffee machines are intended to reach every section of society. (And they make an excellent brew!) Over lunch with […]

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Brian Micklethwait on Toby Baxendale

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Brian Micklethwait on my colleague, Cobden Centre Chairman, Toby Baxendale: …You don’t get from seventy grand in debt at the age of twenty one to running a company that turns over a hundred million quid a year before you are even properly middle aged without having something about you. … The thing I find particularly intriguing about Toby is how his thinking in the academic sense and his business and social thinking are so deeply intertwined, which is sadly not […]

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The Apostle of Free Trade: Richard Cobden

I just finished Gowing’s 1885 biography of Richard Cobden, whose doctrine was that free trade would lead to world peace through interdependence and mutual cooperation. Cobden was a leader of the Anti-Corn-Law League — a substantial feat of political agitation — which was established to oppose protectionist measures on corn and decrease the price of basic food products. Cobden viewed the task of the League as “instructing the nation.” We learn in the biography: Only seven years before the total […]

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