Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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My Bookmarks file is huge and I'm going through it to see what links still work and what might be useful on this blog. 

The Adam Smith Institute is " is a right-wing think tank and lobbying group based in the United Kingdom, named after Adam Smith, a Scottish moral philosopher and classical economist"          ( 

In 2012 they published an interesting report on anti-poverty policies, summarised here.

From the poor law to welfare to work: what have we learned from a century of anti-poverty policies?

Examines the long-term effectiveness of strategies to reduce poverty and inequality, reviewing anti-poverty policies over the course of a century in the UK. Discusses the 'Minority report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws' published in 1909. Looks at policy initiatives from four time periods: 1905-42, when the Liberal government began to lay the foundations of the welfare state; 1942-79, which involved the foundation of the welfare state and the economic recession of the 1970s; 1979-97, when the New Right was championed by Margaret Thatcher and poverty and inequality rose rapidly; and 1997-2010, which involved the New Labour years and the deepest recession of the post-war period. Highlights the strengths and weaknesses of government interventions. Considers how the UK's performance compares internationally, noting that those countries with less poverty and income inequality than the UK generally have stronger welfare states and more active labour market institutions. Discusses social mobility, the Coalition's policies and the 'big society'. Suggests that redistribution, through welfare, is an essential part of the solution to combating poverty, along with pre-distribution policies, particularly in the labour market.
(my emphasis)

The report has been removed from their site and this summary is from Research Online 

I've written elsewhere about Adam Smith: he's a man that I might be very interested in spending some time with. As Deborah Boucoyannis writes:

Smith’s system precluded steep inequalities not out of a normative concern with equality but by virtue of the design that aimed to maximise the wealth of nations. Much like many progressive critics of current inequality, Smith targets rentier practices by the rich and powerful as distorting economic outcomes.

The Adam Smith Institute have used his name but, it seems, are disinterested in what he actually said. To the point where they have quietly removed their own research when its findings are in opposition to their own government reality.

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