Freedom InstituteFreedom Institute Event (9.12.2005, 16:17 UTC)
Just a quick note to remind you of our Christmas Party in Ron Black's tonight. Feel free to bring along friends and partners. Those who have not previously attended FI events before are particularly welcome. In case of queries, please contact Darren O'Brien. We look forward to seeing you there.
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Freedom InstituteSending taxes to space (7.12.2005, 19:36 UTC)
Dom did us all a favour reminding us of the work of Swedish economist Erik Moberg, who estimated that government could provide basic functions up to twelth grade education with a social safety net for 15% of tax. So why is the typical OECD tax take twice as much again?Well, when it's someone else's money, that is, taxpayers' money, it's no big deal spending a few billion here and there. (And, as one US Senator once dryly noted, 'a billion here, a billion there, and soon you're talking about seri...
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Freedom InstituteEnlightened Journalists and Their Allies (3.12.2005, 13:37 UTC)
I was thrilled to spot the UAE based Khaleej Times (printed edition, page 15, 2nd December 2005) had reprinted a Guardian article ‘It’s great up north’, in which Mr. Henry Porter engaged in the usual liberal USA-bashing.And that, in short, explains why leaving America for Canada is done with noenormous regret. Behind you lies the weight of American touchiness and hysteria,the radio shock jocks, the twerpish, bow-tied TV pundits, the religious nuts whodeny evolution with the phr...
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Freedom InstituteDistorting the Housing Market (2.12.2005, 14:57 UTC)
In 1980 Ireland was at the bottom of the EU ladder in terms of dwellings per 1000 capita. The influx of new homes was meagre too. In 1993 when the house prices started soaring we were still far below the EU average. That inadequate supply was facing rampaging punters fuelled with the abundance of Celtic Tiger cash. Attempts of the Government to engineer the market had limited success. First time buyers grant was a legacy measure from 1979 when it stood at some 4% of an average price at the time...
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Freedom InstituteNotice (30.11.2005, 11:31 UTC)
A site redesign is currently in progress. As a result some old posts may disappear for a few days. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
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Freedom InstituteSpeaking this Thursday (28.11.2005, 20:41 UTC)
I'll be in Trinity this Thursday by invitation of the Philosophical Society to oppose the motion that 'this house has lost faith in Tony Blair'. The debate begins at 7.30 in the Graduates Memorial Building. As usual, readers are more than welcome to attend.
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Freedom InstituteTaxpayers' Bill of Rights (25.11.2005, 21:30 UTC)
I couldn’t agree more with Richard Waghorne on the issue of the Irish corporate tax rate. It should be reduced along with the overall tax burden. But the government spending is due to flourish. The rumour is the new budget will give the government an extra €5b to play with. Minister Cowen said recently there will be a 7% increase rather than the 10% as previously speculated. Anyhow, the Irish government is growing again. Overall the tax burden has risen some 5% as percentage of GDP ...
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Freedom InstituteGovernment wrong on Nicaragua (25.11.2005, 00:45 UTC)
Minister of State for Development and Human Rights, Conor Lenihan T.D., is in Nicaragua today where he has announced Irish development assitance to the country this morning. The package is a case study in how Irish overseas assistance can do more harm than good.First, Lenihan has bought into the economic nonsense of 'Fair Trade', specifically tying Irish aid to a Fair Trade operation in the country. Fair Trade penalizes through omission those farmers in countries where Fair Trade conditions can'...
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Freedom InstituteTaking Foreign Policy Seriously (24.11.2005, 15:42 UTC)
Disraeli defined the job of an opposition as to oppose. Disraeli also lost five out of six elections. Possibly the lesson is that opposition for its own sake is thin gruel. Opposing the Bush Doctrine and the strategy underway for pursuing the War on Terror is somewhat irrelevant without advocating alternative proposals. Iraq is one instance. Though the US House of Representatives voted down withdrawal by 403 to 3 last week, many of those who sensibly opposed abandoning the Iraqis to terrorism a...
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Freedom InstituteTechnical Difficulties (24.11.2005, 14:49 UTC)
For the last two or three weeks we've been having considerable trouble posting. Apologies for the gaps. We're hoping to clear it up once and for all soon.
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Freedom InstituteHelping others to help themselves, and us too (23.11.2005, 23:55 UTC)
Recent social unrest in France has focused attention on how best to integrate immigrants into the fabric of a nation. With Ireland being one of the largest per-capita recipients of immigrants in the world it is instructive to look at what we should do to tackle this issue in order to wards off the threat of similar tensions emerging here going forward. While the underlying causes of the current problems in France are a contentious issue for many, the similarities among the participants are strik...
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Freedom InstituteAlex Singleton and the Globalization Institute (21.11.2005, 21:01 UTC)
Alex Singleton of the Globalization Institute, the "high priest of globalization", was in town at the end of last week and met with a number of Freedom Institute members and contributors. Check out his excellent work here.
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Freedom InstituteEvents Update (21.11.2005, 20:59 UTC)
John McGuirk of the Freedom Institute spoke last Monday in University College Cork at the invitation of the Philosophical Society in a debate on the future of US forces in Iraq. John argued in support of their continued work in the country, finding himself on the winning side of the evening when the votes were counted, making it four in a row for the Freedom Institute since September. Richard Waghorne will chair a debate convened by the Trinity College Law Society to discuss terror policy in Ir...
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Freedom InstituteTaking terrorists seriously (21.11.2005, 20:28 UTC)
As Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies recently remarked, when someone vows to kill you, it's well to take him seriously. Long before the Iraq War, Osama bin Laden promised to kill all Americans and others besides. A recent compendium of bin Laden's statements lays out his rationale. Those who would argue for a 'root causes' explanation of al-Qaedaism that privileges poverty and US foreign policy as explanatory factors have to downplay bin Laden's own statements. These ar...
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Freedom InstituteProtest, Procedure, and Property Rights (21.11.2005, 18:57 UTC)
We wrote about the Corrib pipeline in July 2005. Since then, the public controversy has been somewhat beside the point as it is not within the power of politicians to order judges to release individuals from prison - the demand of the Rossport Five campaign - and procedings to determine the future of the pipeline were in progress through the appropriate channels. Public protest is perfectly legitimate, irrespective of the merits or demerits of the case being made. What is unacceptable is for ca...
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Freedom InstituteAdvisory (21.11.2005, 17:49 UTC)
The Freedom Institute would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that all Freedom Institute publications online on external websites are accompanied by our publicly available contact details. All authorized online Freedom Institute output carried on external websites is additionally accompanied by an advisory on the Freedom Institute weblog. Reproductions of Freedom Institute material without these two appendages should be considered unauthorized. Update (following query in comments)...
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Freedom InstituteAdvisory on open access websites (21.11.2005, 17:49 UTC)
It is not normal practice for the Freedom Institute to publish on open access websites. Accordingly, the Freedom Institute would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that any and all Freedom Institute publications online on open access websites are accompanied by our publicly available contact details. All such authorized online Freedom Institute output carried on external open access websites is additionally accompanied by an verificationary advisory on the Freedom Institute weblog....
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Freedom InstituteA solution to the trade liberalisation Gordian knot? (21.11.2005, 17:00 UTC)
In its editorial yesterday, The Business newspaper said that a radical departure may be needed if Europe is to lead any moves toward world trade liberalisation. Among free-traders, there are two broad schools: the unilateralists and the multilateralists. In theory, unilateral free trade is an attractive option and Milton Friedman, for one, advocated it. However in today's world, where trade is often presented by political leaders - and understood by publics - as a weapon with which to improve c...
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Freedom InstituteWillie O'Dea's toy soldiers (19.11.2005, 23:48 UTC)
Minister O'Dea should have known better than to let himself be pictured on the front of two national newspaper fooling around with a pistol. The reaction, though foreseeable, has completely missed the point. First, in few countries would it be considered noteworthy, let alone grounds for criticism, for the Minister of Defence to be photographed with military personnel or equipment. Much of the condemnation seemed as upset or outraged by the Minister being around guns as by the childishness of h...
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Freedom InstituteTax in Ireland (19.11.2005, 22:14 UTC)
Tax is probably the issue of most importance to Ireland's future well-being. Comparatively low tax was not only the most crucial among several factors that turned this country around, it is also the policy area in which mistakes would be costliest. Policy choices matter. A generation after free secondary education and more than a decade after joining the EU, Ireland was in as bad a way as any time since the foundation of state. Laying the groundwork in a well-educated workforce and positioning ...
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Freedom InstituteFI Event (16.11.2005, 14:37 UTC)
Founder of the London based but internationally focused Globalisation Institute and all-round good guy Alex Singleton is in Dublin this week, and will meet FI members in Ron Blacks on Dawson Street at 9pm on Friday. He was formerly attached to the Adam Smith Institute while bloggers will be familiar with his work on the ASI, GI and Samizdata blogs. Members and friends of the FI are invited along to what promises to be a great night out. He will be also addressing members of the TCD Philosophica...
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Freedom InstituteChalabi comments on oil vouchers (8.11.2005, 19:15 UTC)
Last month I wrote that if Iraq exploited the potential contained in article 109 of its new constitution for the direct payment of oil wealth to its citizens, then the chances that the institutions of democracy would bed down in the medium-term would improve. It seems that some senior figures in Baghdad lean towards this idea too. In an interview with yesterday's Financial Times, the current deputy prime minister Ahmed Chalabi spoke of his intention to campaign in December's elections on just s...
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Freedom InstituteCAP: Welfare for Millionaires (7.11.2005, 11:54 UTC)
We wrote over the weekend about Ireland's disappointing stand against access to EU markets for developing world farmers. Opposition to CAP reform is economically wrong, but will damage our standing internationally, both with EU partners and with developing countries looking to Ireland to draw on our historical experience. Another issue with CAP is the old question with state spending: who benefits? Oxfam, though no friend of free market economics, have done the debate a great service by releasi...
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Freedom InstituteMoral clarity on Saddam's trial (5.11.2005, 02:15 UTC)
Those who opposed the war in Iraq ought to be able to maintain that opposition without rubbishing indisputably good consequences. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice is one such indisuptably good thing. The debate around the invasion in 2003 did not turn greatly on the possibility of trying and convicting Saddam, though it was raised as one likely desirable outcome by proponents. As part of the case for war it was at most an incidental item. Most opponents of the war did not dispute that justice...
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Freedom InstituteCongratulations to Constantin Gurdgiev (4.11.2005, 13:05 UTC)
Economist and writer Constantin Gurdgiev, it has been announced, is the new editor of Business and Finance. Constantin has been a good friend to many in the Freedom Institute and is well known to the public through his work with the Open Republic Institute and his writings in the Irish Times, Magill, the Dubliner, and the magazine he now edits. In addition to his prolific media output, Constantin's academic work is highly regarded, where he recieves similar praise for the volume and quality of ...
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Freedom InstituteThe Uzbekistan example (4.11.2005, 12:48 UTC)
An example I used during Wednesday's debate is the instance of Uzbekistan. US policy following the Andijan massacre is a good counterpoint to those who insist that American strategy is dictated purely by realpolitik. As we wrote at the time (here, here, and here), Uzbekistan was a test case for the current administration's commitment to democracy promotion. Though not without an important strategic aspect due to the air bases there, Uzbekistan had to be punished for its internal behaviour. As i...
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Freedom InstituteIreland must drop CAP support (4.11.2005, 10:54 UTC)
This morning, the world trade talks on trade are on the brink of collapse. The Doha round of trade talks had aimed at access to European agricultural markets for third world farmers and an end to the ludicrous practice of developed countries subsidizing their farmers, and their cows, to the extent that CAP is now more than half the EU budget. We've written in more detail on this here, and here. The case for reform of CAP is one of those rare things - an issue on which there is broad consensus. ...
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Freedom InstituteNotes from a busy day (3.11.2005, 23:35 UTC)
Thanks to those of you whom I spoke with yesterday, from RTE through to Trinity and everyone in between. For readers who didn't make it along to the evening debate and those of you sensibly working while the Big Bite screened in the afternoon I thought I'd post a few notes from the day. The Big Bite went great fun. RTE and Tyrone Productions are fantastic to work with and their reputation for hospitality fully deserved. The conversation topic for the programme was the whole issue of natural dis...
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Freedom InstituteFreedom Institute Articles Update (1.11.2005, 19:10 UTC)
October was another productive month at the Freedom Institute. The current edition of Magill Magazine contains a number of articles by Freedom Institute members: Dr. Rory Miller writes on the future of the UN,Peter Nolan interviews Tariq Ramadam,Richard Waghorne dissects anti-Americanism in the Irish media, andKeith Mallon examines the Eddie Hobbs phenomenon. Also, Peter Nolan contributed this month to the Jerusalem Post on the subject of ex-CIA agent Michael Scheuer's contributions to the US n...
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Freedom InstituteFI on the TV (1.11.2005, 16:49 UTC)
Richard Waghorne of the Freedom Institute will be discussing natural disasters and their policy implications on David McWilliams' Big Bite. The programme runs live tomorrow Wednesday at 2.25 on RTE 1. Later in the day, Richard will be representing the FI in the College Historical Society's War on Terror Debate.
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