Tag Archives: adam smith

The Independent View: The Lib Dems can – and should – be the Party of the Entrepreneurs

Every party claims, in some way, to be on the side of small business, but none has really given new and potential businesses much time or attention. Firms that do not yet exist are much less easy to champion and harder still to help than existing small businesses, but they are no less important.

It may be no wonder, then, that not one of the three main party leaders mentioned entrepreneurs in their Autumn conference speeches. That’s why today we at the Adam Smith Institute are helping to launch The Entrepreneurs Network, a new think tank dedicated to giving …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Land Value Tax – an old idea with lots of modern supporters

Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations (1776) was an early proponent of land taxes as was that great radical Tom Paine.

John Stuart Mill was an advocate and Henry George put the case in ‘Progress and Poverty’ (1879).

The economist David Ricardo gave us the concept of economic “rent” – that land or property derives its value from scarcity rather than investment.

In the debates before and after the peoples budget of 1909 both Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George argued strongly for the introduction of a land tax.

The economists John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman recommended Land Value Tax (LVT) for …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 258 Comments

Opinion: for a market to be free you must have regulation

Whenever I utter the phrase ‘free trade’ within those Liberal Democrat circles in which I am permitted to mix, the reaction is akin to that which I might get if I suggested making it compulsory for all party members to worship statues of me.

And that’s a pity (the reaction to the free trade, not the statues) because most people when they meet an advocate of free trade, mutter darkly about the effects of ‘light touch regulation’. But free trade and light touch regulation are not the same, indeed in many ways they are inimical to each other.

The debate should not …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

What did you make of Vince Cable’s speech?

It was the speech which revived the Lib Dem conference, oddly listless after Nick Clegg’s speech on Monday: Vince Cable’s rallying final day speech gave members and activists a real lift, and provided plenty of red meat for the media to chew on. Here’s my first impression…

Perhaps what was most impressive about Vince’s conference speech was how unchanged it was from his usual fare: uncompromising, wise-cracking, punchy, intelligent.

The right-wing media has focused on Vince’s attacks on capitalism, with the Daily Mail in typically shrill mood, and ConservativeHome giving it the silly billing of ‘Red Vince Day’.

That’s the thing about some right-wingers: too often they are unable to see past their own dogma which assumes Big Business must always be right. It’s the same blind spot left-wingers have about the unions.

Liberals — and I’m not using that as a party label because it also encompasses Adam Smith — understand that unfettered capitalism is not the same thing as the free market, and capitalism does not automatically promote market competition. That is why liberals, and Liberal Democrats, believe in a regulated free market, to curb the excesses of capitalism and to promote the interests of healthy market competition from which individuals and society can benefit.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 68 Comments

[email protected] … A Vince double-bill – ‘Osbornomics’ and single mothers

Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable’s path has gone beyond mere sainthood – to his financial omniscience we can now add his media omnipresence. In today’s Independent, he delivers a withering attack on what he terms ‘Osbornomics’ in, erm, honour of the Tories’ shadow chancellor.

First, Vince tries to pin down Boy George’s guiding economic philosophy:

The last Conservative government was led by people who had a clear sense of ideological direction and conviction. Mrs Thatcher was clearly influenced, directly or indirectly, by the ideas of Hayek – rolling back “the serfdom of the state”. Sir Geoffrey Howe and rising stars like Nigel Lawson had developed a response to the inflationary 1970s through the monetarist ideas of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School. It is very difficult to see any clear or consistent thread this time round.

However, he acknowledges Mr Osborne has publicly lauded one philosopher, one Adam Smith:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment
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