No Way to Help the High Street
A new paper from the Centre for Policy Studies, supported by the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), shows that an Online Sales Tax would do more harm than good to consumers, businesses and the economy – as the Government’s own consultation paper to a large extent acknowledges.
The House of Commons Expenditure Committee was conceived under the 1969 Labour Government, and brought to birth under the 1970 Conservative one. It took the place of the long standing Estimates Committee; and its formation represented a compromise between the wishes of those on both sides of the Commons who wanted to have an Economic Policy Committee, and the determination of the Treasury to avert the prospect of politicians cross-examining civil servants about the formulation of economic policy.
It is now widely realised that many of our present economic ills stem from a cardinal error, the belief that inflation and unemployment presented a choice of evils. We have learned to our cost that inflationary measures designed in good faith to abate unemployment have eventually intensified it, leaving us with the worst of both worlds.
This study investigates in some detail how the Bundesrepublik dealt with the effects on its economy of the world recession in the mid-1970s when unemployment reached over one million, without falling back on large scale interventionism, nationalisation and controls of prices, wages, profits and investments; so far the principles of the social market economy remain intact, through undergoing evolutionary adaptations to new conditions.
Since the war, rising prosperity and increased leisure have enabled the mass of the British people to enjoy their individual freedoms on a scale never previously realised. Bit it is a paradox that, just when personal liberty is beginning to characterise the life-style of a whole generation, that generation has produced so many articulate members who have failed to perceive that their life-style depends crucially on a socio-economic system which they claim to abhor. There is a need to demonstrate to these people that freedom is indivisible, and to explain to them the underlying contradiction between extreme egalitarianism and freedom; the role of prices, profits and competition in creating wealth; and the intimate link between personal liberty and the diffusion of economic power.
This is the first of the pilot papers which the Centre for Policy Studies intends to publish. Their purpose is to prepare the path for comprehensive studies on various topics of the day; in this instance, on the teaching of English in schools.