Christmas pudding without butter

Milton Friedman once quipped that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand within five years. In the very same way, an interventionist and protectionist government can create a staple food shortage even in the most highly developed nation on the planet. [...]

A wild forecast for Euro pain

In a more optimistic scenario, European politicians would realise that the euro cannot be saved and stopped pretending otherwise. But perhaps it is already too late for such naïve Christmas wishes. [...]

World class economy, first class prices

No doubt the Australian economy has performed well in the past decades. But for Australian consumers to benefit from this development, government needs to step out of the way and stop needlessly inflating prices. [...]

Let the online bargain hunt begin, properly

Thanks to the high dollar, Australians have become the world's most savvy online bargain hunters. Parcels with cheaper DVDs from the US, computer games from Hong Kong and books from Britain arrive on our shores in their thousands every day. [...]

A British pawn in Europe’s game

Perhaps it is dawning on Cameron that he had been moved like a pawn on a chessboard by his continental friends. His insistence to act in Britain’s national interest mainly served to promote the interests of France and Germany. Power politics does not get more ironic than this. [...]

Germany’s blissful euro ignorance

It is only a matter of time until reality will catch up with the Germans at some stage. But don’t wake them up just yet. They won’t have their Christmas holidays spoilt just because some countries around them face bankruptcies. [...]

Trans-Atlantic Fiscal Follies: The Sequel

In 2009, CIS Research Fellows Robert Carling and Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich predicted sovereign debt troubles on both sides of the Atlantic at a CIS event called ‘Trans-Atlantic Fiscal Follies.’ In August 2011, they were joined by CIS Research Fellow Adam Creighton to discuss the future for those countries buckling under their sovereign debt obligations. How much worse is it going to get? And does it have to get worse before it gets better? Will the dollar survive as the lead currency? Will the euro survive at all? Will gold continue to rise? And what’s the endgame of government debt? [...]

Incentives are life and death

If there was one word to sum up the whole body of economic theory, it would have to be ‘incentives.’ People act on incentives. As William Stanley Jevons (1835–82), one of the founding fathers of neoclassical economics, put it, the whole economy is ‘a calculus of pleasure and pain.’ Greece is playing out a most macabre application of incentives. [...]
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