Events, news and views from the Adam Smith Insitute
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In this ASI e-bulletin:
  • The Ayn Rand Lecture is coming!
  • Crowded ASI events calendar
  • Our recent reports have netted a record haul of press reports

But first...
Twitter informs me that the branch of Greggs The Bakers, situated where Adam Smith’s house once stood in Kirkcaldy, now bears a plaque with his words “Man is an animal that makes bargains” – apparently to market their £2 roll and coffee deal. Enterprising.

As for the other news, whatever folk say, the result of the Trump-Clinton debate was clear. (That is, the big loser was the large body of freedom-minded taxpayers.) The 1000 people in the audience were told not to clap or cheer. (Fortunately, silent sobbing was allowed.) 

NASA, meanwhile, says that its Jupiter probe has found no aliens up there. (Probably because they’re all out campaigning furiously against Trump before his Wall goes up.) I have been advising American friends to prepare for a Trump victory by seeking advice from the Bible. (Specifically, the Book of Revelations.) 

In the UK, outgoing PM David Cameron has called his successor Theresa May “lily-livered” on immigration. (It must please her that at least he’s trading insults. Apparently he’s not talking to one-time chum but Brexit rebel Michael Gove MP at all.)

Meanwhile, left-wing radical Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as leader of the UK’s Labour Party. (Silent sobbing is probably the rational response to that, too.) Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis punched the wall in fury when Corbyn aides changed his autocue line on keeping Trident. (Next time, he’ll more likely miss the wall and hit them.)

And a new study says that horses can be trained to communicate their opinions to humans. (And the state of the political debate suggest that we’re all listening to the brainless beasts.)
But I digress…
Why Society Works Best When It’s Organised Around the Entrepreneur
With Julie Meyer CBE
Chief Executive of Ariadne Capital and 
Founder of Entrepreneur Country
6pm on 25 October, at the Royal Institution, London W1S 4BS
Strictly by invitation (but fish for one at

We’re doing four events next week near to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. You don’t need a Conference pass, so see for details.
On Monday, it’s Rebooting Britain, with Steve Baker MP (Treasury Committee) and Dame Angela Knight (Chair, Office of Tax Simplification), Ben Southwood (ASI) and Alex Wild (Taxpayers' Alliance) putting the case forward for simpler, flatter taxes. 
Later that day it’s Planning Reform with John Howell MP (author, Open Source Planning), Nicholas Boys Smith (Create Streets), Prof Paul Cheshire (LSE), Rory Meakin (Taxpayers' Alliance), and Jonn Elledge (CityMetric).
And then (phew), it’s Legalising Cannabis where the lessons from abroad will be reviewed by Crispin Blunt MP (Foreign Affairs Committee), Ian Birrell (Mail on Sunday), Steve Moore (VoleFace), Sam Bowman (ASI), Francesca Washtell (CityAM).

On Tuesday, its The Border after Brexit, with Charlie Elphicke (MP for Dover), Ed West (The Spectator), Sam Bowman (ASI), and me.

And later on it’s Innovate not Regulate with Lord Callanan (European Parliament), Chris Snowdon (IEA), Prof David Nutt (Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs) and Madsen Pirie (ASI).
LibDem health spokesman Norman Lamb MP, will be talking on the case for creating a legal, regulated market for cannabis in the UK, at our Next Generation Group on 11 October. Under 30s only. RSVP on Facebook.

Prof Hillel Steiner delivers our next Liberty Lecture on 18 October, on ‘Free Markets and Exploitation’. RSVP on Facebook.

Prof Robert Lawson of the Cox School of Business in Texas will talk about the Economic Freedom of the World Index, which he co-authors. That’s on 27 October at 6pm. Contact for info and invites.
IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS – Get an Adam Smith Institute desk or pocket diary!
We have teamed up with those nice (if occasionally misguided) people at The Economist to produce a stunning range of leather-bound desk and pocket diaries. Reassuringly expensive, they are a really high-quality product that will give you a year’s enjoyment (and bragging rights). 
Get yours by visiting our diaries page here.


Vice without pain (what’s not to like? – Ed.)

Liberalising—not tightening—regulation is how to solve the social costs of "vices" like alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and drugs. That is the finding of our new report Sinnovation. We need permissionless innovation, allowing firms to create new products that satisfy human desires but slash the social and health costs. E-cigs, for instance, are a hit with smokers because they are 95% safer than cigarettes but provide similar enjoyment.

The report made headlines on Friday morning with the promise of hangover free drinking. Pieces appeared across national titles including The Daily Telegraph (twice), The Sun (not twice but three times), City AMDaily MailDaily StarDaily Express (twice), Daily Mirror (twice), ThisisMoneyIndependentEvening StandardMetro and The Scotsman. As well as broadcast coverage on Sky News, LBC and a host of regional stations, the paper also landed some top tier lifestyle titles including Marie ClaireEsquireTimeOutLadBibleVice and Prima, as well as Time Magazine and the Drudge Report front page. The story made the global front-page of Reddit and generated over 1,400 tweets reaching 1.7 million Twitter accounts. 

The Border after Brexit

Britain’s Border Authority is incapable of dealing with post-Brexit migration, say journalist Ed West and the ASI’s Sam Bowman in their new report The Border after Brexit. More than just curbing numbers, Referendum voters showed their deep concern over who comes in and goes out of the country. Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy will need proper controls. To do that, the agency needs a big dose of private-sector thinking and radically updated technology.

The idea got a clean sweep of media coverage across The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, The SunDaily MailMail OnlineDaily Express (twice), Metro, MirrorCity AM and The Scotsman. The paper also inspired one Daily Mail journalist to make the journey across the channel in an inflatable boat, and the author appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live and 82 BBC regional radio stations.

Working on the railroad

The UK's railways are moving more people than any time since 1913—after which decades of state control ruined them. But there are still many improvements to be made. Network Fail, by ASI senior fellow Nigel Hawkins shows how small reforms—allowing open-access horizontal competition where possible (such as on big main routes), but promoting vertical integration where necessary (such as on small regional routes)—can improve the UK rail network.

The report made for good commuter reading with articles in The Times, The Sun, The Daily TelegraphThe Daily ExpressCity AMMail Online not once, twicethrice but four times, the Spectator, Country Life, and 140 regional and trade publications. The paper also inspired a Times leader, and ITV News segment, and sparked discussion on Radio 4’s Start the Week, where Andrew Marr discussed the "damning report" with guests Sir John Armitt, the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and Dame Margaret Hodge.

In fact, these three reports, all released in September, landed 563 pieces of coverage and counting, thanks to our media mogul Flora Laven-Morris. And if that wasn’t enough the ASI team also commented on everything from EU Trade Deals and state interventionism in City AM, to the closing of Fabric in the Guardian and Mirror, the Green Belt on the BBC, Immigration and new runways in the Guardian, and the glories of Uber in City AM and the Times to name but a few. 


On our superblog

* Our numbers boffin Ben Southwood says we should boost jobs for the low-skilled by liberalising Sunday Trading hours for larger shops
* ASI Executive Director Sam Bowman argues that while neoliberalism has been in retreat around the world in 2016, the last month has been a good one for it.
* Our gap year intern Oliver Riley argues that school vouchers, not grammar schools, should be the focus of the govt's education policy.
* And our other new intern Amelia Stewart says that the middle east would be a whole lot better if they let women start businesses.


* 100 Nobel Laureates write to the EU bashing its nonsense on genetically modified crops.
* Gary Johnson in WIRED: why the magazine should have endorsed him for president.
* The Telegraph's James Kirkup thinks Tony Blair should come back to UK politics.

Facts and stats

* The sweet tooth of yours is around 50% genetic, and 50% down to environmental factors.
* Once you account for income mobility as people get older, most tax cuts are not so "regressive" after all, says the IFS.
* Development aid makes governments more willing to slap restrictions on firms and worsen the business climate (64 countries over 6 years).

With the US Election so current, I am reminded of Alexis de Tocqueville, who famously wrote Democracy In America. And as I reflect on Hillary Clinton’s efforts to create a new dynasty (and of the support the Bushes have given her), his words seem apposite:

The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.

Quite so.

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