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Scottish independence matters less than you think

The centre of political gravity in Scotland is far to the left of that of the UK and that is at the centre of the concerns – widely held but little expressed – of Scottish business over independence.

The Map is Not the Territory: An Essay on the State of Economics

The reputation of economics and economists, never high, has been a victim of the crash of 2008. The Queen was hardly alone in asking why no one had predicted it. An even more serious criticism is that the economic policy debate that followed seems only to replay the similar debate after 1929. The issue is budgetary austerity versus fiscal stimulus, and the positions of the protagonists are entirely predictable from their previous political allegiances.

Scotland would gain few benefits from going it alone that it cannot already get as part of the United Kingdom

The SNP’s victory in the 5th May elections, which delivered an overall majority of 69 out of the 129 seats, means that the party can now fulfil its commitment to push for a referendum on independence. But independence, if achieved, would bring complications—both political and economic.

Why economists stubbornly stick to their guns

Why do we so often find that events reinforce what we already believe? John explains how confirmation bias characterises reactions to the financial crisis.

How the British prefer to register displeasure

The interpretation of fairness is culturally specific but rarely does it correspond to measures of income inequality. Fairness is a perception, not a Gini coefficient.

A chance to restore confidence in Britain’s official data

Government spin is especially debilitating because government is a monopoly supplier of much of the information that an informed democracy requires.

Brace yourself, Britain, for higher taxation

Britain cannot aspire to continental European levels of public services with lower tax rates. Any British government has to confront that simple fact.

The real cost to business of government guarantees

The most effective control is other parties’ diligence in assessing the businesses with which they deal.

Labour’s digital plan gets in the way of real progress

All our experience of the development of information technology starts from what the customer might want rather than what the technology might do.

Powerful interests are trying to control the market

A stance which is pro-business must be distinguished from a stance which is pro-market. In the two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, that distinction has not been appreciated well enough.