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