Domingo, 27 de enero de 2013

The constitutional argument for a referendum on Europe is clear. We elect MPs to make decisions in parliament on our behalf, but not to transfer the powers of parliament to other bodies. That is why the transfer of legislative powers downwards, through devolution, requires a referendum. So also, since the European Union Act 2011, does the transfer of powers upwards to the EU.

But since we entered the EU in 1973, numerous powers have been transferred without our consent. And the referendum requirement poses a particular dilemma for a party of the left, which seeks to be both internationalist and sensitive to the demands of the people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thirty years ago, I was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. My prognosis was “grave”: I would never live independently, hold a job, find a loving partner, get married. My home would be a board-and-care facility, my days spent watching TV in a day room with other people debilitated by mental illness. I would work at menial jobs when my symptoms were quiet. Following my last psychiatric hospitalization at the age of 28, I was encouraged by a doctor to work as a cashier making change. If I could handle that, I was told, we would reassess my ability to hold a more demanding position, perhaps even something full-time.…  Seguir leyendo »

Snow was my first love. From November’s first flakes and the season’s first blizzard, to unexpected midnight dustings and late March blasts, snow fell frequently and happily on my childhood in western Massachusetts. I never complained about the unshoveled, post-blizzard darkness of my paper route, nor about scrambling over icy drifts en route to school. In the evenings I read in front of our wood stove, captivated by thoughts of Narnia’s endless winter.

Snow gives us a new world. It gives us (not least) a day off to contemplate it. Snow bestows silence: deep snowfalls “spread their peace,” said Saint-Exupéry. Above all, snow gives meaning to the great indoors.…  Seguir leyendo »

Esta semana, los 27 miembros del Panel de Alto Nivel de Personas Eminentes sobre la Agenda de Desarrollo Post-2015 se reúnen en Monrovia, Liberia, para asesorar al secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon. En la reunión, el Panel establecerá una visión "audaz y a la vez práctica" para una acción conjunta en materia de desarrollo sustentable.

Mientras se llevan a cabo estas discusiones -cuyos anfitriones son la presidente liberiana y premio Nobel de la Paz Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, el presidente indonesio, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, y el primer ministro británico, David Cameron-, la vecina región de Sahel y los Grandes Lagos sigue sumida en la violencia y el conflicto.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una sociedad exitosa necesita que el gobierno sea eficaz, asequible y que realice bien sus funciones, incluida la obtención de suficientes ingresos para financiarlas. Pero un gobierno excesivamente grande, centralizado, burocrático y caro reduce sustancialmente la economía privada al erosionar la iniciativa y la responsabilidad individual; desplazar a la inversión privada, el consumo y la caridad; y dañar los incentivos con elevadas tasas impositivas. También corre el riesgo de desplazar por otras a funciones gubernamentales necesarias, como la defensa. Así es, en pocas palabras, la Europa actual; y Estados Unidos la sigue de cerca.

El reciente fallecimiento de James M. Buchanan, padre de la economía de la elección pública, es motivo para reflexionar sobre sus sabias advertencias.…  Seguir leyendo »