The Political Economy of Economic Freedom brings together a timely selection of Sir Alan Peacock’s views on economic freedom, its philosophy, its influence on the critique of economic policy and the problems encountered in expanding it.
The book represents a diversity of experience ranging from academic speculation to close involvement with policy issues. An opening chapter introduces the essays and discusses the promotion of economic freedom. The book is then divided into three parts and each essay is introduced with a discussions of its intellectual origins. Part I considers how far the pursuit of individual freedom conditions government intervention in the pursuit of economic growth, the right to freedom of expression, conduct in the market place and the distribution of income, affording the author an opportunity to analyse the views both of his contemporaries and such major figures as Hume and Keynes. In Part II the author uses his specialist knowledge of public choice and public finance to explore ‘government failure’ in attempts to impose progressive taxation, to influence industry through subsidy and regulation and to control bureaucracy. In the final part, the author draws on his personal experience to demonstrate the problems encountered by economic advisers in devising reforms in the tax system, the devolution of government, social security and broadcasting.
This volume will be welcomed by business and government, as well as by professional economists and social scientists familiar with Sir Alan’s commitment to economic analysis as the servant of policy debate rather than merely a form of intellectual gymnastics.