Articles & Blogs on Free Markets, Ethics and Well-being

Interesting posts and articles from around the web, collected in one place. Plus original content from our researchers and other contributors.

Can Capitalism Be Saved from Conservatives?

“Peter Kolozi’s new book Conservatives Against Capitalism showcases a conservatism uncomfortable with free-market capitalism – which adherents see as revolutionary and disruptive of tradition – and traces its origins from the antebellum South, to the election of Donald Trump, profiling a remarkable coterie of thinkers who rejected the tenets of capitalism and urged a conservatism based on humane values, smallholding, and even a more powerful state.”

How Capitalism Tamed Medieval Europe

“Because knights were strong, so knighthood was celebrated in songs and poems, and yet the violent culture that underpinned their position only led to further bloodshed – until the rise of the merchants swept them away. Although a number of things contributed to the huge decline in violence of the late medieval period, among them the Catholic Church and the legal system, the development of capitalism, and the rise of a merchant class whose wealth was not won with a sword, played a huge part.”

Few Things Are as Dangerous as Economists with Physics Envy

“Two questions: is it good or bad that professional athletes earn 400 times what nurses do, and is string theory a dead end? Each question goes to the heart of its discipline. Yet while you probably answered the first, you’d hold an opinion on the prospects of string theory only if you’ve studied physics. That annoys economists, who wonder why everyone feels free to join economic debates instead of leaving them to the experts, as they do with physics or medicine.”

Carillion, Capita and the Costly Contradictions of Outsourcing Public Services

“When major construction company Carillion collapsed, much of the attention was focused on issues specific to its business model and corporate governance, or on the UK’s PFI model of funding large infrastructure projects. Yet such explanations miss the broader lessons of this tragedy. […] the view that competition among public service providers will necessarily lead to improved services at lower costs is no longer tenable.”

Are Some Cultures Less Trusting Than Others?

“Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow once described trust as a ‘lubricant of a social system’. Economic exchange, in particular, is virtually impossible without at least some level of trust. […] Trust can affect people’s ways of communicating, their workplace etiquette and their organisational hierarchies, all of which may constitute important stumbling blocks in international collaborations. And so to ensure success of global trade, we need to understand and make allowances for cultural differences in trust. In our latest research, we set out to do just that.”

How Neoliberalism is Damaging Your Mental Health

“There is a widespread perception that mental ill health is on the rise in the West, in tandem with a prolonged decline in collective well-being. […] In particular, there is growing concern that the conditions and effects of neoliberalism – the enervating whirl of relentless privatisation, spiralling inequality, withdrawal of basic state support and benefits, ever-increasing and pointless work demands, fake news, unemployment and precarious work – is partly to blame.”

Capitalism’s Biggest Enemies Are Capitalists

“Despite the huge difference capitalism has made to our standard of living, capitalism has its detractors. Socialists and progressives want to regulate it, control it, or eliminate it, but capitalism’s biggest enemies are those who claim to support it.”

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