Category Archives: economic analysis

Warning! Beware the toxic textbooks!

What can we do about the toxic textbooks that infest our education systems? How can we counter the pervasive neoliberal ideology which masquerades as ‘objective knowledge’?

I’m not a fan of book burning for any cause. A healthy dose of critical thinking is all that’s required. To help people along the way, here’s a handy warning you can spread generously around university libraries …

Warning!

Source: Toxic Textbooks Facebook Group

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Filed under David, economic analysis

What will National’s tax changes mean?

UPDATED Saturday 15 May 2010: Looks like I may have to eat my hat on this one, if this report suggesting compensatory income-tax cuts across the board “so no-one is worse off” is correct. I shall take it as a valuable lesson in the perils of speculative punditry!

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, economic analysis, social justice

The new republicanism, part 1

The meaning of republicanism is often reduced to an argument over the means of acquiring heads of state: aristocratic inheritance or election? Conversations and debates in Britain and nations with historic ties to Britain via empire and mass migration, such as New Zealand and Australia, are typical in this regard. In the public arena, republicanism is anti-monarchism and little else.

In fact, republicanism is very much more than this one-dimensional debate might suggest. Drawn from a tradition going back to classical Greece and Rome, the foundational notions of republicanism – public politics and self-government – underpinned the struggle against feudalism and absolute monarchy, and were brought to the fore in the works of Rousseau, Paine and many others.

A recent resurgence of interest in these ideals has become known as neo-republicanism. An article by Richard Dagger (2006) provides a useful summary of four important ingredients of a 21st century republic: political equality, freedom as self-government, deliberative politics, and civic virtue.

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Filed under David, economic analysis, social justice

Some evidence in favour of our suggestions

Brief notes and (and links to) a few studies providing evidence in favour of some of our suggestions, and one looking at the case for a Financial Transactions Tax.

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Filed under Barry, climate change, economic analysis, sustainability

Investors – it’s time to put your mouth where your money is

The collective wisdom of capital markets is probably still ‘in some doubt’ in many peoples’ minds at the moment. Interestingly though, from a green perspective, capital markets appear to have been estimating the likely costs of climate change to be higher than those predicted by cost-benefit analyses (such as the Stern Report) that have been much maligned by some industry lobby groups. And, of course, this implies that – even from a purely economic point of view – there is a case for stronger climate change mitigation policies than have been suggested by the cost-benefit analyses.

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Filed under Barry, capitalism, climate change, economic analysis

Evidence based politics

The Spirit Level may be the most significant book I have read in 10 years.

Many people, myself included, hold to the ideological belief that social justice is a prerequisite for a truly democratic, peaceful, sustainable society. What Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett provide in The Spirit Level is the evidence to back up the belief.

When we look at the wealthiest nations, despite the inordinate wealth we find many health and social problems. While it is clear that the prevalence of these problems is hugely variable from one country to another, the evidence shows quite clearly that it is not the level of income in the different countries that is correlated with health and social problems.

Wilkinson and Pickett show – with detailed consideration of a mass of data covering 23 wealthy countries, ie those with a national income above US$25,000 per capita – that the prevalence of health and social problems is greater in countries with higher income inequality.

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Filed under David, economic analysis, social justice

Growth, inequality, and the environment – evidence from the UK

Measuring fossil resource inequality – A case study for the UK between 1968 and 2000 (Eleni Papathanasopoulou and Tim Jackson, Ecological Economics, 2009, 1213-1225)

In this paper the authors examine inequalities in fossil fuel use among different income groups in the United Kingdom between 1968 and 2000. They find that fossil fuel use inequalities have risen faster than expenditure inequalities, and conclude that policy to reduce fossil fuel use needs to pay careful attention to distributional differences. Further, I would argue, with a little unpacking evidence such as this calls into question the dominant mainstream narratives around the unquestionable desirability a) of ‘growth’ and b) of  decreasing the progressivity of income tax regimes.

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Filed under Barry, climate change, economic analysis, social justice