Why most economic assumptions made by governments are wrong Over the past few decades, certain economic theories have achieved the status of fundamental economic truths among many of the world’s governments: that high spending is always dangerous, for example; that taxing corporations less makes them more productive; that the way to stop people doing things you don’t want them to do (drinking, smoking and so) on is to make them pay more for the privilege. In Free Lunch Thinking economist and journalist Tom Bergin takes ten of the most prevalent economic mantras and assesses how they play out in practice in the real world. He studies the Irish experience with free trade to establish whether open markets are always desirable. He scrutinises the US belief that high tax rates lead to lower tax revenue (the ‘Laffer curve’). He looks at Italy’s flirtation with the view that employment must be wholly flexible if jobs are to be created. And he considers the realities of the ‘big’ vs ‘small’ government debate in countries that range from Brazil to Sweden to Japan. Again and again, he shows how common assumptions are rarely rooted in observed outcomes, and how countries frequently pursue economic courses that have more to do with faith than facts. His book both challenges lazy thinking and sets out a path for more considered future.