Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Kind of Moderate Libertarianism I Support

"Ten Reasons Why The Left Should Support the Adam Smith Institute" (London) HERE 
"1. Raising the Tax Threshold:
“For over a decade the ASI has urged that the income tax threshold should be raised.  The ASI advocated a threshold of £12,500 when the actual threshold was less than half that figure.  Its case was partly a moral one, in that low paid people find it hard enough as it is to get by, without having the taxman take some of their meager cash.  The ASI points out that someone on the minimum wage for a normal working week will earn about that figure, which also happens to be roughly half the average wage.
2.  Support for Debt Relief:
“The Left should appreciate the removal of the debt-servicing burden from the citizens of poorer countries that this would bring.
Many of the churches joined a 'Jubilee' campaign at the turn of the Millennium, calling for much of the debt owed by poorer countries to rich ones to be cancelled.  Even before then the ASI had called for the same, pointing out that in many cases the loans had been ill-advised, given to dictators for dubious projects, and that much of the money had been spent by them on arms and self-aggrandizement.  Now sometimes long after many of those dictators had gone, the burden of servicing those debts fell upon people struggling at subsistence level.”
3.  Trade With Poor Countries:
“Some campaign for more aid, but the ASI's line is that trade is more important.  Humanitarian aid is fine, and we should give generously to support victims of natural disasters, to help provide clean water, and to fund health programmes.  We do not, however, support development aid that is designed to boost state investment in industry or state direction of emerging economies.  Every country that has gone from poor to rich has done it through trade, and none has done it without trade.
The ASI enthusiastically supports giving goods from developing countries unrestricted access to developed world markets.”
This snappy series posted by Dr Madison Pirie is just the right antidote to knee-jerk reactions I sometimes get when I disclose my status in Scotland as a Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. 
For many people, the ASI is composed of unreconstructed rightists in the pockets of greedy bankers and privileged lay-abouts living off the sweaty and bleeding backs of the toiling masses.
Yet, the ASI regularly campaigns for causes generally regarded as exclusively monopolized by Leftist organizations (of which we have plenty in Scotland).   I shall report on the other seven reasons from Dr Madsen Pirie, a regular spokesperson for ASI.   Readers should popover the ASI Blog and judge for themselves.
Of course, there are specific topics where I might disagree with other ASI authors and Fellows, as no doubt my colleagues in ASI might disagree with specific policies I support – like Scottish Independence, for example – but I have never made this a secret (if asked) and nobody has charged me with ideological heresies or questioned my commitment.  I am a moderate Libertarian who is comfortable with what ASI enunciates on most issues in its valuable work.


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