Archive for the Public Policy Category

The ‘Gentleman in Whitehall’ does not know best

The government is relaxed about people cashing in their pension schemes to buy a Lamborghini. But the left-leaning liberal commentariat is certainly not. Abuse has been heaped onto George Osborne’s Budget measure of removing the requirement for people to buy an annuity. The main thrust of the

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“It’s not the economy, stupid, it’s the narrative!”

The improvement in the economy has seen a narrowing of the gap in the opinion polls between the Conservatives and Labour. In the key marginal seat of Bury North, a Tory gain in 2010 by just 2,200 votes, they recently took a council seat from Labour. Bill

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Ukraine and Russia: why they’ve proved Friedman’s ‘MacDonalds’ doctrine wrong

On 31 January 1990, a great event took place in Pushkin Square, Moscow. A branch of MacDonald’s was opened. The same excitement was generated in Kiev on 24 May 1997, when the MacDonald’s franchise was extended to the Ukraine. The American author Thomas Friedman wrote in 1999

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German revival exposes deep fissure within Europe’s economies

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Germany was seen by many as the new ‘Sick Man of Europe’. Between 1991 and 2005, GDP growth averaged only 1.2 per cent a year, compared to 3.3 per cent in the UK. Since then, the German economy has revived dramatically.

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Onion Economics

There is something about onions which brings out the worst in bureaucrats. Orlando Figes’ A People’s Tragedy chronicles the early years of the Russian revolution. Under war communism, the Bolsheviks attempted to exert state control over the entire economy. A long list of vegetables was drawn up,

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Nick Bosanquet in the Financial Times: projections for 2014

Each New Year the Financial Times surveys a select group of policymakers, academics and commentators to gauge views on some important questions for the economy for the coming year. Volterra associate Nick Bosanquet took part in the survey again in 2014. Take a look at Nick’s responses

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The recovery is well grounded – except in France

The coming year looks like it will be a good one. At the start of each of the past five years, the economic scales have been tilted down, and the challenge has been to look for factors which might have tipped them back up. This year, the

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‘Re-inventing’ London: Planning for the Future

London is changing.  But then, it always is.  The theme of my new book, ‘Reinventing London’ is that change is the lifeblood of a great city.  Over the past thirty years it has replaced around 1 million jobs in manufacturing, largely around the edge of the city

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Britain’s New Industrial Policy: Can We Learn from the Mistakes of the Past?

The phrase ‘industrial policy’ seems to take us decades back in time. In 1964, a powerful catchphrase of the new Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was the need for Britain to embrace the ‘white heat of the technological revolution’. Sadly, by the 1970s this vision had deteriorated

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Grangemouth highlights the competitive problems of the Rest of the UK

The recovery in the British economy is now firmly established.  Output in the services sector, the largest part of the economy, is above the previous peak level prior to the crash in 2008.   There is a widespread myth that the recovery is fueled by debt-financed personal spending.

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