Robert A. Becker (ed.), The Economic Theory of Income Inequality, Edward Elgar, 2013, 0 85793 908 1, hbk, lvii + 636 pp, £225 Ten years ago, Edward Elgar published a two volume collection of reprinted articles, The Economics of Poverty and Inequality, edited by Frank Cowell. The publication of this new volume of reprints, a [...]
This essay begins and ends with a genuine question: Given the proven desirability and financial feasibility of a Citizen’s Income, why does a Citizen’s Income not appear to be politically feasible?
In 1797 Thomas Paine suggested that, because in principle the land belongs to everyone equally, those who occupy it should pay a ground rent to the whole community. We can generalise the profits that landowners reap from the occupation of land into the concept of ‘economic rent’: if someone uses natural resources that belongs to all of us in order to make money, then any income greater than the cost of production is ‘economic rent’. Paine would have made the point that the economic rent belongs to all of us.
It must be exceedingly frustrating for ministers and civil servants that every attempt that the Government makes to simplify the UK’s benefits system results in increasing complexity. Take the example of Universal Credit: One of its aims is to ensure that payments will be permanently accurate because based on real-time information about wages being passed seamlessly from employers to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and then on to the Department for Work and Pensions, thus alleviating claimants of the need to declare changes in earnings.
Malcolm Torry, Money for Everyone: Why we need a Citizen’s Income, Policy Press, 2013, xiv + 300 pp, 1 44731 125 6, pbk, £24.99, 1 44731 124 9, hbk, £70 From the book: The structure of the book Following some notes on terminology and on graphical representation, chapter 1 sets the scene by asking the [...]
Danny Dorling, The No-Nonsense Guide to Equality, New Internationalist, 2012, 176 pp, pbk, 1 78026 071 6, £7.99 Dorling’s egalitarian tract is, as Richard Wilkinson suggests in his foreword, ‘multi-faceted and rich in insights’ (p.7). Throughout the book, countries in which inequality is greatest are compared with those exhibiting greater equality ( – Dorling is, [...]
Alberto Minujin and Shailen Nandy (eds), Global Child Poverty and Well-Being: Measurement, concepts, policy and action, Policy Press, 2012, xxxii + 591 pp, pbk, 1 847 42481 5, £28.99, hbk, 1 847 42482 2, £70 In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first internationally agreed definition of child poverty: Children living in poverty [...]
Gaby Ramia, Kevin Farnsworth and Zöe Irving (eds), Social Policy Review 25: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2013, Policy Press, 2013, xii + 324 pp, hbk, 1 44731 274 1, £70 As Gaby Ramia’s introduction to this twenty-fifth annual collection suggests, the choice of papers is evidence of an increasing internationalisation of the Social [...]
Kevin Farnsworth, Social Versus Corporate Welfare: Competing Needs and Interests within the Welfare State, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, xii + 222 pp, hbk, 0 230 27453 2, £55 In this book, ‘corporate welfare’ means ‘governments serving the needs of business’ (through subsidies, contracts, tax allowances, etc.) and ‘social welfare’ means ‘governments serving the needs of citizens’ [...]
Clive Lord, Miriam Kennet and Judith Felton (eds), Citizen’s Income and Green Economics, The Green Economics Institute, 2012, 339 pp, pbk, 1 907543 07 4, £20 This somewhat passionate book sets off from a classic example of the tragedy of the commons: the story of Easter Island, where for six hundred years the felling of [...]