Events, news and views from the Adam Smith Institute.

Dear friend of ASI:

We had a great time at our Christmas party last night, where ASI author John Redwood MP replaced the indisposed Eric Pickles. (You read it right: indisposed, not 'deposed'.) The US has just announced that the fated Obamacare website is now fixed. Click the Apply Now button here and see. And it's official: students who cheat at university are more likely to go into public service. (Well, that explains a lot of things.) Meanwhile, as the Chancellor delivers his Autumn Statement, he will be pleased to see that the FTSE 100 is up 63% on its 2009 financial-crisis low. (Mind you, it did take £1.2 trillion in debt and £375 billion in Quantitative Easing to get it there.) But I digress...
13 DecemberWorking Lunch with Ryan Avent, economics correspondent of The Economist. (Unfortunately this event is already fully subscribed.)
15 DecemberMy colleague Dr Madsen Pirie will be speaking at the Young Britons Foundation annual seminar in Cambridge. In the last two weeks, he has spoken at Emanuel School, Judd School, the University of Brighton and our own ISOS sixth-form conference – to a total of nearly 1,000 students. Contact to book Dr Pirie for your school. See his YouTube series Economics is Fun here.
27 January: Civil liberties campaigner Dominic Raab MP is guest speaker at an ASI Patrons Dinner. (Patrons Dinners are by private invitation to ASI supporters, but email if you would like to be wait-listed for this event.)
4 February: Power Lunch in the City with Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England's prudential regulator. (This event is already fully subscribed, but contact if you would like to be wait-listed.)

School Vouchers for England: Our experts propose a system of vouchers to help children to attend private schools and increase competition between state schools.
Ayn Rand: More Relevant Now Than Ever. A particularly thoughtful ASI lecture by Lars Seier Christensen, Co-founder and CEO of Saxo Bank.
Zombie companies that should have died long ago are being kept alive by cheap credit, says Tom Papworth in his ASI report The Trading Dead – which was covered by CNBC the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, City AM and lots more.
Bitcoin. It's poised to shake the world, says Michael Taylor. Are you prepared? Thought not.

Think piece: Tim Worstall explains why The Modern Slavery Bill is going to be absolutely appalling, and will visit draconian punishments not just the thugs but on innocent employers who mistakenly employ an illegal.
Inequality is less than it appears. China is unequal, but the vastly higher living costs in rich areas absorb much of the rich folks' income. Here too, probably, says Tim Worstall. We should look at living standards, not incomes.
UK economic growth is racing, but it is a fake boom based on loose money and cheap credit, not on long-term sustainable investment, say I. Sometime, we have to go through the pain of adjustment...
France could miss out on eurozone recovery, according to Gabriel Stein's Chart of the Week. French governments have not seriously reformed the economy...and the current one is unwinding what small improvements there have been.
* The 1776 US Declaration of Independence was 1,337 words. The 2013 White Paper on Scottish Independence is 670 pages. (Which at roughly 250 words per page, comes out to 167,500 words.)
* Ministers plan to cap payday loan costs. (Which will probably do for lenders what Obama's health price cap has done for insurers.)
* 'Plebgate' victim Andrew Mitchell MP criticised police officers as 'not telling the truth' about the affair. (What? A politician calling others liars? Must be really bad.)
* Cuts in fuel bills will be funded by tax rises. (Why is it a 'massive' fuel-bill cut saves you £50 but a 'small' tax rise costs you £100?)
* Britain's schools are falling behind in maths. (At least, we think they are. Nobody is quite sure how to do the statistics.)
* The Royal Bank of Scotland has been bankrupting small companies. (Cheek. That's the Revenue's job.) 
This may well sum up what most people think about our politicians:
When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence.
– Gary Lloyd
Bye, and Merry Christmas (when it comes),
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