Thinker's Corner

The Unforeseeable Circumstances of Mr Gordon Brown (The Federal Trust, Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF, 0171-799 2818, £4.99). Andrew Duff, director of the Federal Trust, argues that a clear political decision from the government to join up to the euro is essential in order to persuade businesses to spend the large sums required to make the transition. Duff believes that Labour can win the election regardless of the timing of a euro referendum. He contends that Gordon Brown's "prepare and decide" tactic, which sought to put off the decision until after the next election, is wearing thin as neither our European partners nor the financial markets are satisfied with the status quo.

Duff argues that the longer the government delays in signing up to the euro, the more unstable Britain's economic state is likely to become. The euro, moreover, will be all the stronger once the British have become fully fledged participants.

The Net Effect: rethinking the regulatory role of the nation state in the global electronic economy (Fabian Society, 11 Dartmouth Street, London SW1H 9BN, 0171-222 8877, £15). The management consultants Charles Doyle and Hugh Morris suggest that, in the digital age, the nation state will have to reform its regulatory outlook if it is to remain the key focal point for steering economic, social and cultural activity. Doyle and Morris argue that government regulation at national and international levels is required if the Internet is to deliver greater benefits to individuals and business. The authors propose a common framework of rules for the Internet, statutory rights of access, an "e-commerce charter" and a cyber "interpol" and cyber "central bank". Doyle and Morris suggest that by taking action at a national level, as well as actively promoting new global regulatory institutions and agreements, the nation state could even renew itself.

This article first appeared in the 09 April 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Judge the US by deeds, not words