Annual Review 2011
This report reviews the Adam Smith Institute's work in 2011, covering its policy research, events, student programmes, and communications outreach.
Annual Review 2011 www.adamsmith.org The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 01 From the Directors 2011 will surely be remembered as an eventful year. From the Arab Spring and the war in Libya, to the Japanese earthquake, the London riots and � yes � the Royal Wedding, the newspapers had no shortage of things to write about. And then there was the seemingly perpetual economic crisis, which naturally loomed large over the Adam Smith Institute's work in 2011. But while many commentators and policy analysts lost their way in the face of a never-ending stream of bad news, the Adam Smith Institute spoke with clarity and force not just about the real causes of the crisis, but also about the rational ways of escaping it. Our principled approach, deeply rooted in liberty, free markets and limited government, made us stand out from the crowd; our track record opposing bailouts, exposing the unsustainability of the welfare state, and revealing the futility of government stimulus, lent our words striking credibility. Sadly, the West's economic woes look set to continue throughout 2012 � a fact that is unlikely to bring a smile to anyone's face. But this crisis remains an opportunity, as well as a threat. Now more than ever, it is vital that we come up with radical but realistic visions for change � in monetary policy and financial regulation, in education, health, and welfare, and of course, in fiscal policy. In all these areas, we must roll back the frontiers of the state and unleash the incredible dynamism of the free market. Coming up with the ideas that make this possible � we call it policy engineering � is what the Adam Smith Institute is all about. This Annual Review pulls together the highlights of our work in 2011, but a few things deserve special mention. As you'll read on p.16, Sam Bowman launched City AM's comment section The Forum with a full page article calling for `a new capitalist revolution' � relegating shadow chancellor Ed Balls to the second page. Professor Kevin Dowd's lecture (p.12) on `The Decapitalization of the West' was an intellectual tour de force, as was education expert James Croft's groundbreaking report on profit-making schools (p.8). And Freedom Week, our weeklong seminar for Britain's brightest young libertarians, was bigger and better than ever before (p.14). There are few organizations in the world as intellectually vibrant, as forward-looking, and as media-savvy as the Adam Smith Institute. Thanks to our talented staff, our exceptional network, and the generosity of our donors, 2011 was a very good year. With your support, we hope that 2012 can be even better. Tom Clougherty, Executive Director Dr Eamonn Butler, Director Dr Madsen Pirie, President 02 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Economics Economics dominated the news headlines and the public debate in 2011. The British government started to implement its fiscal consolidation plan. Inflation continued to rise steadily. Recovery from recession faltered, and the eurozone teetered on the edge of collapse. Throughout the year, the Adam Smith Institute was busy providing a strong and distinctive defence of economic freedom, fighting back against those who argued growth could be centrally planned, who said that we could tax our way back to prosperity, or who suggested we could borrow our way out of debt. The Institute also gave voice to a positive agenda for economic reform, revolving around lower taxes, deregulation, and financial and monetary reform. coalition government's plans did not go nearly far enough, that they were only unwinding a very small part of the extraordinary rise in spending that took place under the previous government, and that there was ample scope to be far more radical. They consistently debunked the `stimulus' myth while arguing instead for a thoroughgoing overhaul of the government and the public sector. The ongoing crisis in the eurozone provided an alarming Keynes Vs. Hayek One of the key themes of the 2011 agenda was captured by July's Radio 4 debate at the London School of Economics: Keynes Vs. Hayek. Did free markets get us into this mess, and do we need government intervention to get us out, as John Maynard Keynes might have suggested? Or was it government's fiscal profligacy, monetary ineptitude, and misguided financial regulation that got us into trouble in the first place? In numerous articles, media appearances and public speaking engagements in 2011, Adam Smith Institute experts took the latter, Hayekian position. example of what happens when governments fail to bring debt and deficits under control. In 2011, the Institute's policy staff discussed the eurozone in a wide range of forums, always stressing the severity of the crisis and highlighting its roots in government incompetence. They were quick to point out that bailouts and fiscal integration would not solve the problem, and that hasty and illconsidered bank recapitalisation risked making matters worse. Instead, they made the case for fiscal responsibility and policies to boost economic growth. An agenda for growth When it came to public spending, Institute spokesmen repeatedly made clear that there was no alternative to spending cuts. Indeed, they frequently argued that the One of the biggest political disappointments of 2011 was that the coalition government's long-awaited growth strategy turned out to be a damp squib. There were no moves to The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 03 address Britain's utterly uncompetitive personal taxes. Nor was there any significant progress in cutting red tape and freeing up entrepreneurs. Instead, we saw the government involving themselves in the allocation of credit, picking industrial winners, and making dubious claims about the economic benefits of expensive infrastructure projects. A series of Adam Smith Institute projects addressed these issues. On tax, the Institute released Peter Young and Miles Saltiel's capital gains tax to 18 percent. The report was backed up by a concerted publicity campaign, and several members of parliament were seen carrying copies into the House of Commons on budget day. Little wonder that the Chancellor felt compelled to reassure the House that the 50p rate would not be a permanent feature of the British tax system, even if he did not feel able to take up the report's specific proposals. Renewable Energy � Vision or Mirage? took aim at the government's energy policy, exposing it is an uneconomic exercise in picking winners. The report argued that far from promoting `green growth' and spurring an economic recovery, the government's subsidy-intensive approach to the energy sector would actually result in an insecure and costly supply of energy, which would damage Britain's The Revenue and Growth Effects of Britain's High Personal Taxes in March, ahead of the Chancellor's budget. It argued that high personal taxes were hitting growth and would end up hitting government revenue too. It made the case for scrapping the 50p tax rate and non-dom tax immediately, reducing the higher rate of income tax from 40 to 35 percent, and cutting OPPOSITE: Clockwise: front page coverage of our renewables report in the Daily Telegraph; Eamonn writes on boosting businesses in the Sunday Post; the Daily Telegraph cover our work on the minimum wage; Tom writes in the Sunday Times on the need for deregulation; Detlev Schlichter talks to the ASI about his book `Paper Money Collapse'. 04 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 economic competitiveness. High Speed Fail assessed the case for a new high speed railway line and found it wanting in almost every respect. Crucially, analyst Nigel Hawkins said HS2 would prove enormously expensive and deliver few economic benefits. On regulation, the Adam Smith Institute's Eamonn Butler and Tim Ambler assembled a panel of five ex-regulators to write Reflections on Regulation: Experience and the Future. In his introduction, Butler argued that the regulators should return to their original purpose: to ensure that markets were free and competitive, and then get out of the way. Tom Clougherty made that same argument in a Sunday Times column based on the report. levy a proportional tax on all equity, bond and derivative trades. Exposing the flaws in this idea � which was heavily promoted by the European Union and numerous left-wing pressure groups � became one of the Adam Smith Institute's main campaigns. Two reports laid out our position: The Tobin Tax � Reason or Treason? and Hanging London out to dry � The impact of an EU Financial Transaction Tax. Author Adam Baldwin showed how a similar tax had failed miserably in Sweden, pointed out that it could severely impact one of the UK's most important industries, and argued that rather than making markets less volatile, the tax would actually make matters worse. The Adam Smith Institute said the tax would be "economic suicide". Shortly afterwards, the Chancellor echoed that sentiment. But it wasn't just taxes threatening the financial sector in 2011. Regulation also loomed large on the horizon, not least in the form of the Independent Commision on Banking, which delivered its interim and final reports during the course of So much for the City Another perilously anti-growth proposal that received a lot of attention in 2011 was the Financial Transaction Tax, also known as the Robin Hood Tax or Tobin Tax, which would ABOVE: Front covers of The Law of Opposites, The Case for NGDP Targeting and High Speed Fail. Coverage of Tax Freedom Day on the front page of the Daily Mail. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 05 " Throughout the year, the Adam Smith Institute was busy providing a strong and distinctive defence of economic freedom the year. As far as the Adam Smith Institute was concerned, the Commission's recommendations represented a missed opportunity. They failed to address the key problem with our modern banking system � namely that governments subsidize bank risk-taking through implicit and explicit guarantees of bank liabilities. Nor did they get to grips with the systemic risk inherent in the deficiencies � current and expected � of international capital regulation. In a series of briefing papers, opinion pieces and public appearances, Institute spokesmen highlighted these flaws and advocated their own, free market approach: specfically, we must find ways of removing all government support from the financial sector, and ensure that failed banks can be resolved in an orderly fashion. Another area that the Independent Commission on Banking (perhaps understandably) did not tackle was accounting rules. Yet as a groundbreaking Adam Smith Institute study showed, this seemingly arcane policy area has had a far more profound impact on our financial sector than is commonly understood. In The Law of " Opposites banking insider Gordon Kerr exposed the way in which international accounting rules have given the impression of illusory profits on bank balance sheets, inflating bonuses and creating perverse incentives for banks to act recklessly. The report was launched at an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting in the House of Commons, and was covered by Bloomberg, the BBC, the Guardian and the Daily Mail. Money, money, money The financial crisis exposed an important flaw in our macroeconomic framework: inflation targeting failed to deliver a stable monetary environment, and allowed ABOVE: Tom Clougherty and Dr Eamonn Butler on ConservativeHome and 50p coverage in City AM. 06 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 enormously damaging asset bubbles to build up. Yet too few policymakers are thinking seriously about the alternatives. In The Case for NGDP Targeting: Lessons from the Great Recession noted American economist Scott Sumner outlined his plan for reform. He argued that a level-targeting regime for NGDP (or nominal income) futures would prove far superior to inflation targeting, and in the long run would make it possible to eliminate policy discretion altogether, so that monetary policy was conducted `automatically' in accordance with a predetermined rule. Several of the monetary experts who spoke at the Adam Smith Institute in the course of 2011 took a different, and perhaps even more radical view. In his lecture on `The anachronism of state-controlled money' George Selgin argued that the state should not be in the monetary business at all. Leading free banking advocate Kevin Dowd took a similar position in his lecture on `The " The financial crisis exposed an important flaw in our macroeconomic framework: inflation targeting failed to deliver a stable monetary environment, and allowed enormously damaging asset bubbles to build up Decapitalization of the West', suggesting that central banks could be replaced by currency boards offering full convertibility into gold. Detlev Schlichter went even further when talking about his book Paper Money Collapse, and advocated a shift to a modern version of the classical gold standard. Whatever happens in the eurozone, the monetary debate looks set to gather pace in 2012. The Adam Smith Institute will continue to be at the forefront of it. " ABOVE: Front covers for our 50p tax report, Reflections on Regulation and Renewable Energy: Vision or Mirage?. Coverage of our 50p tax report on the Daily Telegraph and Douglas Carwell MP talking about the eurozone crisis and the outlook for 2012. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 07 ABOVE: Coverage of our report on the Financial Transaction Tax and Sam's article on the the need for a capitalist revolution in City AM 08 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Education and Healthcare The Adam Smith Institute has long been a leader in radical thinking about Britain's public services, and has a proud history of producing hard-hitting research and innovative policy ideas to extend choice, competition and freedom in healthcare and education. This work continued in 2011. Arguably the most important piece of research published by the Adam Smith Institute in 2011 was Profit-Making clear: far from being skeptical of profit-making schools, government should embrace them and help more children to escape the failing comprehensive model. On the healthcare front, Miles Saltiel's No need to flinch laid bare the deficiences of the National Health Service, analyzing World Health Organization data to show that the NHS underperforms on both outcomes and value for money when ranked against similar countries. Free Schools by James Croft, which explored the untapped potential of the for-profit independent schools sector. Representing the first in-depth, empirical study of its kind in the UK, the report comprehensively debunked the idea that the profit motive compromises standards in education. In fact, the opposite appeared to be true. The report identified 489 mainstream for-profit schools, serving more than 80,000 pupils. Perhaps contrary to expectations, 83 percent of these schools were nonselective. 80 percent were situated in urban or suburban areas. Most strikingly of all, 41 percent operated on fee levels less than, or on a par with, the national average per pupil funding in the state-maintained sector. Yet even these schools significantly outperformed the independent sector as a whole. The report didn't just find that profit-making schools in the UK were capable of providing low-cost, high-quality, nonselective education; it also found that this was a growing and increasingly competitive market, with huge potential to increase capacity, and a strong incentive to do so. The policy implications of these groundbreaking findings were Chris Davies' powerful reflection on four decades of NHS care, Reforming the National Health Service, went further, arguing that the NHS is fundamentally incapable of serving its customers effectively. His radical blueprint for reform would see the entire NHS estate privatized, with taxpayer funding replaced by a national insurance fund capitalized with the proceeds of that privatization, and sustained by employer-employee contributions and user co-payments. Tom Clougherty's popular think piece What a free market in healthcare would look like went further still, imagining a vibrant market completely free of government intervention � and utterly unrecognisable from the healthcare sector as it exists today. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 09 ABOVE: Coverage of our profit-making schools report in the Guardian; the front covers of our reports on Reforming the NHS and Profit-making free schools; Tom writes in The Spectator on Lansley's reforms; Allister Heath writes about our report in his editor's letter in City AM. 10 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Adam Smith in 2011 Adam Smith (1723-1790) was the pioneer of modern economics. His great book, The Wealth of Nations (1776) explained the folly of governments trying to control and direct economic life, and the enormous gains that emerge from allowing people to trade freely with one another. This is a lesson we must re-learn today. For when individuals, and indeed countries, voluntarily engage in commercial exchange, they do so because both sides benefit. To maximise those benefits to humanity, we need to encourage voluntary exchange, not restrict it. Smith believed that a free, competitive economy was by far the best way to help the working poor. He wanted people to be able to use their own efforts and talents to improve the lives of themselves and their families. He deplored how important businesses � aided and abetted by those with the political power � actually promoted regulation as a way of keeping out competition from such sources and preventing the rise of outsiders. Having lived through a major banking crisis in Scotland, Smith did advocate banking regulation. But his concern was only to promote honest dealing in the marketplace. Provided that people traded openly and justly, and competition was maintained, the most effective regulators would be customers themselves. There is no need for detailed technical rules beyond that. Smith would also have regarded a government that spends half the country's GDP � and he was the inventor of that concept � as the greatest tyranny. He saw taxes as another way in which established interests manipulate the economy in their favour and do down potential competitors. Taxes, he thought, should be as low as possible; they should encourage, not restrict trade; and they should be simple, intelligible and convenient. So we can imagine what he might have thought of a tax code that in Britain today is now longer than The Wealth of Nations itself, and a regulatory rulebook that is even longer. When Smith's ideas were put into practice by reformist nineteenth-century governments, it produced the greatest era of free trade, discovery and progress that the world has ever known. It is an approach we must rediscover � which is one reason why the Adam Smith Institute published Eamonn Butler's The Condensed Wealth of Nations in mid-2011. Smith's original is written in a dense and archaic style which, coupled with the book's length and its many digressions, makes it inaccessible for most modern readers. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 11 " Smith believed that a free, competitive economy was by far the best way to help the working poor The Condensed Wealth of Nations, by contrast, presents Smith's ideas in modern language, with just enough of Smith's examples and quotations to provide a sense of colour, and with marginal notes to explain how today's economic concepts have developed from Smith's early ideas. It gives the same treatment to Smith's other great " book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and still manages to come in at just 83 pages. The following quote does not actually appear in The Condensed Wealth of Nations, but it does capture the flavour of Smith's thinking, as well as the principles that guide the Adam Smith Institute: "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things." ABOVE: Dr Eamonn Butler with David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and guest speaker for the launch of The Condensed Wealth of Nations; the front cover of The Condensed Wealth of Nations 12 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Events The Adam Smith Institute hosts some of the most popular events in Westminster. Our evening events bring together diverse audiences and influential academics and politicians to discuss policy and ideas. This year we have increased the number of seminars and lectures and started to film all our events to maximise the reach and impact of our events programme. Seminars & Lectures In January, Professor Steve Horwitz gave a lecture on `An Austrian perspective on the great recession of 2008-2009', Dambisa Moyo, economist, spoke on `How the West was lost' and Dr Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute explained `How to be a rational egoist'. During the Spring we also held a debate on the Alternative Vote, while Greg Clark MP, Mark Pennington and Tim Hellier talked on `The Future of Planning' at an evening seminar. Chris Preble from The Cato Institute came to talk to the The UK's fragile economic situation was a focus for a number of our lectures. Professor Kevin Dowd talked about `The Decapitalization of the West' whilst Professor George Selgin pointed the finger of blame at `The Anachronism of State-Controlled Money'. Detlev Schlichter argued that all paper money systems ultimately fail at his book launch, hosted by the Adam Smith Institute, entitled `Paper Money Collapse'. Dr Razeen Sally also delivered a fascinating lecture on the shift of the world economy to emerging markets and what this means for freedom. In December we sponsored a discussion in parliament on how bad bank regulation generates illusory profits to accompany our report `The Law of Opposites' by Gordon Kerr. Institute about "A libertarian perspective on foreign policy" and in the Summer the Adam Smith Institute held a panel discussion with the Free Society on "Education, freedom and the State" with speeches by Toby Young, David Davis MP, Terence Kealey and Tom Clougherty. Dr Tara Smith, objectivist and professor of philosophy delivered a lecture on `The Pursuit of Happiness � and the Tools Essential to Attaining it". On a less cheerful note, just before Christmas we held a panel discussion on "2012: the end of the world as we know it?" with Douglas Carswell MP, Jamie Whyte, Alex Massie and Brendan O'Neill. Although the panel tended to hold a rather pessimistic view on 2012 there were some glimmers of hope to cheer the audience. ABOVE: David Gauke MP, Freddie Cohen, John Redwood MP, Tom Clougherty and Allister Heath speaking at an Adam Smith Institute event at the Conservative Party Conference. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 13 Patrons Dinners In 2011 we continued the Institute's tradition of holding private dinners for our most significant donors and supporters. Our guest speakers were Greg Hands MP, the PPS to George Osborne, David Laws MP, Sir Roger Douglas, the former Finance Minister of New Zealand, and Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, the former Scotland Secretary. All of our dinners are off-the-record and present a unique opportunity to hear the most eminent political figures talk candidly about the state of the economy and current events. to kickstart growth in the UK in a lively discussion. We also held a panel discussion on `Economic Growth and the Planning System' with Bob Neill MP, Steve Baker MP, Tim Smith from Berwin Leighton Paisner and Tom Clougherty. Parties & book launches Following tradition, the Adam Smith Institute held its annual Bloggers' Bash just before Easter, with Tim Montgomerie, Harry Cole and Douglas Carswell speaking to a packed room of bloggers and Tweeters. Our summer boat party was also well attended with a mix of students, supporters and MPs enjoying an evening cruise along the Thames despite the rain! We held two book launches this year. We launched `The Condensed Wealth of Nations' with a drinks reception at which David Smith, economics editor of the Sunday Times, gave a short speech on the many merits of Eamonn's book. We also held a triple book launch for JP's `What the Immigrant Saw', Madsen's `The Emerald Warriors' and Eamonn's primer on Milton Friedman. In December we held our Christmas Party at the St Stephen's Club with John Redwood speaking. The room was packed and buzzing with MPs, journalists, supporters and students dropping by to celebrate the end of another successful year for the Adam Smith Institute. ABOVE: Guest speaker Peter Stringfellow with Eamonn Butler at one of our student events; John Redwood speaking at the Christmas Party; Elizabeth Truss MP speaking at our student conference; and Dr Razeen Sally delivering a lecture on the shift to emerging markets. Party Conferences This year we focused on the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. We held three fringe events, all of which were a huge success and well-attended. On the first day we held a panel discussion on `The Individual v the State: The Battle for lifestyle freedom" where Philip Davies MP, Dan Hamilton, Alex Massie and Chris Snowdon discussed sin taxes and increasing interference of the State into people's personal consumption and lifestyle choices. Our most popular fringe event focused on `Wealth Creation and the Coalition: An Agenda for Growth'. David Gauke MP, John Redwood MP, Allister Heath from City AM and Freddie Cohen, Finance minister of Jersey, debated the best ways 14 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Students The Adam Smith Institute sees student outreach and education as a core part of its activity, and it runs through everything the Institute does � from its online and social media presence, to its publications, seminars and lectures. Few think tanks attract such a youthful audience. But the Institute also runs a variety of dedicated student programmes, which went from strength to strength in 2011. The Next Generation The Next Generation is the Adam Smith Institute's group for the under 30s, which meets most months in Westminster. Guest speakers this year fell into two main camps. First, we had the `next generation' of political leaders, with new MPs Sajid Javid and Elizabeth Truss making the case for a radical, free-market government, and MEP Syed Kamal talking about his battles for liberty in the EU. Then we had three speakers adressing controversial libertarian topics: legendary club-owner Peter Stringfellow gave us his take on personal freedom; SpikedOnline's Brendan O'Neill argued the London riots were `a mob made by the welfare state'; and drug policy expert Steve Rolles advocated legalization. The Next Generation also hosted a debate ahead of May's Alternative Vote referendum, which pitted No2AV's Dylan Sharpe against the IEA's Mark Littlewood. and the profit motive' from leading libertarian thinkers. This year's ISOS debate saw philosopher-turned-journalist and media commentator Jamie Whyte face the Institute of Ideas' Patrick Hayes on the motion, `This house believes there are no such things as free markets'. In our postconference survey, 96 percent of respondents rated ISOS as `Good' or `Excellent'. The Liberty Lectures September's `Liberty Lectures' conference was open to more advanced students, and featured longer, more in-depth talks and discussions � which were subsequently made available on the Adam Smith Institute's YouTube channel. Tim Evans explored the proper role of government, Jamie Whyte wondered how moral capitalism was, Eamonn Butler explained how markets work, and Andrew Lilico examined the real causes of the financial crisis. Independent Seminar on the Open Society The Adam Smith Institute's long-running conferences for sixth-form students continued in 2011, with nearly two hundred schoolgoers hearing robust, free market talks on topics like `political interest and consumer power', `public goods and the myth of market failure', and `externalities Freedom Week Freedom Week, organized in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs, was the jewel in the crown of the Adam Smith Institute's 2011 student programmes. 40 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 15 " The Adam Smith Institute sees student outreach and education as a core part of its activity, and it runs through everything the Institute does students � more than ever before � came to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, for an expenses-paid week of learning about liberty and free markets. Topics covered included the Austrian school of economics, public choice theory, classical liberalism and social justice, and the history of freedom. In addition to attending lectures and participating in discussions, attendees had the opportunity to network with fellow students, leading academics, and think tank representatives � all in a relaxed atmosphere with nightly social activities. affliliated student societies and look set to continue growing rapidly. In October, they held their first Liberty League Annual Conference in London, with the Adam Smith Institute as a sponsor. Head of Research Sam Bowman chaired a panel discussion on `How the state harms the poor', while other sessions put the Chicago and Austrian schools of economics head-to-head with one another, explored whether Islam and libertarianism can be reconciled, and asked `Where next for education?' Freedom-fighting MP Steve Baker gave the keynote address. " European Students for Liberty Another great thing to come out of 2011 was the establishment of European Students for Liberty, which aims to help students acquire the skills, momentum, and connections necessary to effectively advance liberty across Europe. The Adam Smith Institute was one of the main sponsors of its inaugural conference, which took place in Leuven, Belgium, in November. The conference attracted over 220 students from 25 different countries, who enjoyed three days of lectures, workshops, and social events. The conference was also broadcast live on the internet. UK Liberty League In early 2011, three members of the Adam Smith Institute's Next Generation group independently set up the UK Liberty League, an umbrella organization for classical liberal campus groups across the UK. They already have more than 20 ABOVE: Students at our day-long ISOS conference; young people at a Next Generation meeting and students at the ESFL conference in Leuven. 16 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Media Outreach Media outreach is a central part of the Adam Smith Institute's work. Our spokesmen regularly appear in print, and on broadcast and online outlets making the case for freer, more competitive markets and greater individual freedom. Commentary Apart from promoting our latest publications, representatives of the Institute have been commenting on topics as diverse as tax simplification, the Eurozone crisis, welfare reform, economic growth and education reform. Broadcast We regularly take part in interviews, debates and panel discussions on a wide range of programmes both on radio and TV. For example, in the last month (December 2011) ASI representatives have appeared on Sky News, Bloomberg TV, Radio 4's PM show, BBC News, BBC World Service and a number of regional radio stations. " Print Traditional print media is still one of our main sources of media coverage, with our op-eds, report coverage and comments featuring in national and regional newspapers worldwide. The Institute has a number of strong writers, which has ensured we produce a high number of comment pieces in the papers. Our Head of Research, Sam Bowman, was even given the privilege of writing the first op-ed piece for City AM's new forum section on the need for a new capitalist revolution. In 2012 we will be seeking to set up even more op-eds in order to maximise our impact in the media and to better promote free markets and limited government. Our spokesmen regularly appear in print, and on broadcast and online outlets making the case for freer, more competitive markers and greater individual freedom Online " The Adam Smith Insititute blog remains the focus of our online activity. However, we also write for a number of online news sources and blogs to complement this. In particular, we regularly write for ConservativeHome and the Spectator's Coffee House blog. Our reports and comments also often get picked up by websites such as the Daily Mail Right Minds blogs, Telegraph.co.uk and many specialist online media. ABOVE: Eamonn on BBC News discussing public resentment of high taxes. The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 17 ABOVE: Tom discusses the need to cut public spending on Al-Jazeera; Madsen calls for the 50p tax rate to be scrapped on Sky News; Sam talks about the public sector strikes on Al-Jazeera; Tom addresses the relationship between the media and politics on CNBC; Adam Smith Institute author Gordon Kerr promotes `The Law of Opposites' on Bloomberg. 18 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 New Media Engagement The Adam Smith Institute is proud of its active following and engagement on online and social media platforms. Its blog is one of the most popular think tank destinations in the world, and it is one of the most well-followed think tanks on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. AdamSmith.org The new Adam Smith Institute website, launched at the end of 2011, is the latest chapter in our proud history of online engagement. As the first British think tank with a website, and the first with a blog, the Adam Smith Institute has always led the field in quality online content. Our new website is stylish and easy to navigate, and will set us in good stead for years to come. The website also sees the launch of a new "Articles" section, which will host thoughtful extended articles on liberty and the modern world that will consolidate its place as the go-to destination for liberal thought in Britain. Since its launch, it has hosted articles on topics ranging from the impact of profit on schooling to private security provision in parts of Kenya. Adam Smith's example of the power of specialization and cooperation as the inspiration for our group efforts. Traffic to the blog has risen by about 50% over 2011, from an average of around 2,000 visitors per day in 2010 to an average of around 3,000 visitors per day in 2011. We are aiming to increase this even more in 2012 by introducing new writers and developing the blog's voice so that it becomes the go-to place for irreverent, sharp comment from a libertarian perspective. Facebook and Twitter As the largest social network in the world, Facebook is central to our new media strategy. Our fan numbers on Facebook grew from 2,700 to over 5,000 during 2011, and our Twitter followers more than doubled from around 2,750 to over 7,000. These two platforms are critical to our continued growth and success as an organization, because they deliver a high-quality readership and allow the potential for rapid dissemination of our articles. Both Facebook and Twitter allow us to engage with our supporters and critics constructively, so that we can answer questions, share interesting links and help to foster the growth of an online community of liberty-minded people in the UK and overseas. The Blog The ASI blog remains the focal point of most traffic to our website, and is the most popular think tank blog in the UK by some distance. A group blog with regular contributions by ASI staff and external writers like Tim Worstall and Christopher Snowdon, it gives the Adam Smith Institute a platform on which to comment on the day's news on our own terms. With the launch of our new website, the blog has been rechristened `The Pin Factory' � taking The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 19 Youtube While we have had a presence on Youtube for several years, 2011 was the year when we fully began to embrace this platform. We have begun to record all of our events and upload them as soon as possible, giving our events a much greater impact and allowing people from all around the world to watch them. For example, a popular lecture by economist Detlev Schlichter had over 100 attendees; but this is dwarfed by the 1,300 people in Britain, the US and Europe who have watched it on Youtube. " The new Adam Smith Institute website launched at the end of 2011 The potential here is enormous: as our Youtube channel followers), it will allow us to leverage our events to give our grows in subscribers (driven by Facebook, Twitter and blog " message of liberty a truly global reach. The unified strategy of social media outreach that the Adam Smith Institute has had so much success with in 2011 will help 2012 to be our best year yet for online presence, confirming the Adam Smith Institute as the think tank with the best online presence of any UK think tank, left or right. ABOVE: The new AdamSmith.org, our YouTube video channel, and our Twitter feed. 20 The Adam Smith Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2011 Ranked Ranked NO.1 IN EUROPE DOMESTIC ECONOMIC POLICY NO.6 THINK TANK IN WESTERN EUROPE Ranked Ranked NO.8 THINK TANK OUTSIDE THE US NO.19 THINK TANK WORLD WIDE According to The Global `Go-To Think Tanks', published by the University of Pennsylvania, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, January 18, 2011. Supporting Adam Smith Institute As the accolades above suggest, the Adam Smith Institute is one of the world's leading think tanks. Its ideas don't just change minds; they also change the world. We hope this Annual Review has given you a taste of what we do. From our vital media commentary and our agenda-setting research and events, to our unparalleled online outreach and peerless student programmes, the Adam Smith Institute is at the forefront of defending, and extending, freedom in the United Kingdom. It is essential work, and we enjoy every minute of it. 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