‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory

The mention of public choice theory to those on ‘the left’ of politics can prompt a variety of reactions. Some are based on ignorance about the very existence of public choice economics as a theoretical perspective. This reaction was demonstrated to me following one of the first lectures I gave in my academic career. Having … Continue reading ‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory

Two Views on ‘Structured Inequality’

I am no fan of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, which one or two libertarians notwithstanding, is a gathering of the ‘usual suspects’ on the reactionary left. That said the one virtue of this so-called ‘movement’ has been the attention it has focused on ‘structured inequality’. Most people do not care about the massive inequality … Continue reading Two Views on ‘Structured Inequality’

Sex, Luck and Distributive Justice

If ‘status anxiety’ is as big a threat to individual well-being as many egalitarians seem to think then logically they should favour the equalisation of opportunities based on physical attractiveness as well as those based on income. Policies focussed solely on ‘correcting’ the income distribution may simply intensify the significance of physical attractiveness or other … Continue reading Sex, Luck and Distributive Justice

Footballers and the Top 1%

I looked today at some data on the changes in top division/Premier League footballers (soccer players for Americans) pay between 1985 and 2010 here in the UK. According to figures compiled by the Professional Footballers Association average pay increased from £1000 per week in 1985 to £33,000 per week in 2010 – an increase of … Continue reading Footballers and the Top 1%

Gypsies, Land Use Planning and the Tyranny of Social Democracy

This week saw a violent confrontation between Gypsies/travellers and the police as the former were evicted from an illegal camp site at Dale Farm, Essex, UK. There is no doubt in my mind that the decision to evict the Gypsies from the site was the correct one under the terms of British law and land … Continue reading Gypsies, Land Use Planning and the Tyranny of Social Democracy

Amartya Sen as Paternalist

Amartya Sen is a great economist and social philosopher whose willingness to recognise a central role for market institutions in securing economic development and individual freedom shows considerable commonality with the classical liberal tradition. Sen’s commitment to the values that underpin a free society is, however, equivocal and indeed often points towards what classical liberals … Continue reading Amartya Sen as Paternalist