Conspicuously missing from the coming British general election will be a debate about the size of the state. An uneasy consensus rules that the present scope of activities is about right. The government spends or dispenses 40 per cent of the national income. That is quite a bit more than in 1960 but a lot less than it might have been had the Thatcher privatisations not happened. True, the Conservatives talk about shrinking the state but they are not willing to take political risks to do so.
Continue reading “The case for a smaller state revisited”
With the west’s humanitarian concern now focused on Russia’s assault on Grozny, it is a good moment to look back on Kosovo, not least because the renewal of the Chechen war is a direct consequence of the Kosovan operation. It showed Russia the “western, civilised” way of waging this type of war, and it tilted the balance of power in Russian politics towards the military.
Continue reading “Nato’s deadly legacy from Kosovo”
Ten months after the end of the Kosovan war sufficient time has elapsed and information accumulated to draw up a tentative historical balance sheet. I say ‘historical’, because what has been done cannot be undone. We must live with the consequences, and do our best in the new situation.
Continue reading “Kosovo: The balance sheet”
A hundred years ago all the main countries of the world adhered to a fixed-exchange rate system known as the gold standard.
Continue reading “The First 100 Years: A policy that crippled: The Gold Standard debate”
Review of Capitalism with a Human Face by Samuel Brittan
Published by Edward Elgar, £49.95
This collection of essays by the UK’s leading financial journalist ranges widely, from studies in utilitarian ethics to technical macroeconomics. Samuel Brittan is as much at home with John Rawls as he is with Milton Friedman.
Continue reading “Book Review: Economics as part of the human condition”