Tuesday, 4 February 2020

To ban or not to ban?

Tim Worstall has written a nice little essay about paternalism for the IEA. In To Ban or Not To Ban?, he looks at everything from chlorinated chicken and climate change to gambling and the green belt.

When is the government justified in restricting freedom? It is not enough that some people might prefer the new arrangements. Tim rightly notes that costs to third parties could justify state coercion and taxation, but he finds the evidence of such costs is often lacking in practice. Much of the time, demands to clamp down on other people's behaviour are motivated by paternalism or self-interest.

Regular readers may be familiar with these arguments, and many will be familiar with Tim from his popular blog. This report takes a fresh look at the subject from first principles. Hopefully it will appeal to people who do not normally read about economics. You can download it for free here.

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