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The Trouble with Philanthropy

November 20, 2011


Summary: Private philanthropy (charity) is often presented as a free-market alternative to state welfare, and has been recently championed by the UK Conservative party as part of its ‘Big Society’. Charity is greater in countries where welfare provision is lower, but fundamental differences between charity and welfare make charity an inappropriate substitute for welfare. Philanthropy […]

Happiness and income comparisons: Biased methods consecrate a worldview

May 1, 2011


A paper came out (May 2010) in the Economic Journal on the impact of income comparisons on subjective wellbeing. The researchers, Andrew E. Clark and Claudia Senik from the Paris School of Economics and the Institute for the Study of Labour at Bonn (IZA), analysed data on income comparisons from the European Social Survey, covering […]

Reclaiming the State

February 1, 2011


In the US, right wingers use the rhetoric of liberty to argue against asking more from the state. They rhetorically position the state as in opposition to the people, rather than their collective organ for deciding the public good. This is hugely damaging to the people's capacity to use the state for democratic purposes. British PM David Cameron is trying to do the same - under the guise of the rhetoric of responsibility. Both are rhetorically powerful and are capturing the public imagination. Both are selective deployments based on lies.