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Category Archives: Welfare

Ethos and welfare

The OECD Secretariat released recently (November 2014) a revealing summary (pdf) of public social expenditure by OECD countries. The database the study is based on is available online. (Private social expenditure–i.e. private charity–is not covered by this post.) Social expenditure being defined as: Social expenditure comprises cash benefits, direct in-kind provision of goods and services, and tax breaks with social purposes. … To […]

The Rotten Heart of Europe

Bernard Connolly‘s The Rotten Heart of Europe: Dirty War for Money is a jeremiad against European monetary union first published in 1995. Its publication led to the author’s sacking from the European Commission, where he had been senior monetary and foreign exchange economist. This is not, as Connolly a matter of saying the “Emperor has no clothes” but […]

Thinking about states

While writing a paper on state dynamics in Latin Christendom, it was useful to try and think (think out aloud indeed) coherently about states as historical entities. State understood as an institutionalised structure of expropriation and coercion dominant in a particular territory. The notion that a state has to have, or even aspire to, a monopoly of coercion does not make […]

Don’t mention the inconvenient

So, a black guy with a long criminal record, a history of mental illness and attempted suicide, attempts to murder his girlfriend, kills two cops in Brooklyn and then shoots himself. A mainstream newspaper provides details on his life, ignoring an obvious one; he was Muslim (his name being Ismaayil Abdullah Brinkley is something of a hint). […]

One In A Million

I’m sure his family love him but I am REALLY getting tired of spending my Christmas with Iain Duncan Smith and am hoping the bi-annual ESA renewal form isn’t going to turn into a new household tradition. Wrapping paper? Check. Tinsel? Check. New nerve conduction test? Damn, there’s always something… Nearly a million people who applied […]

Autumn Statement

The welfare state is unaffordable, George Osborne will tell MPs this week, and permanent cuts will be required to make the public finances “sustainable”. The Chancellor will use his Autumn Statement on Thursday to set out more details of a new cap on welfare spending after the next general election. It is an attempt to […]

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

“It’s the most ambitious episode we’ve ever done,” he said. The episode, The Day of the Doctor, will be broadcast in more than 90 countries at the same time as it airs on BBC One on Saturday night. The BBC says it is likely to be the largest simulcast of a TV drama in history. […]

States as coordination problems

Economist David Friedman’s theory about the size and shape of nations leads him to postulate that the increased importance of labour income–a result of the Industrial Revolution: one of the ironies of history is that greatly increased propensity to produce capital increases both the scale (through increased demand) and then the average income (through increased relative scarcity) […]

Paid Parental Leave v Income Splitting

Two things have come to my attention in the last 24 hours. First, in Australia, both Labor and the Coalition are introducing/plan to introduce a form of paid parental leave to replace the baby bonus. Labor’s policy is set at the minimum wage and is therefore cheaper to the taxpayer and less onerous on the […]

Human societies as studies in relative scarcity: the price of children, the cost of capital

That modernising societies experience a “demographic transition“–a change from high fertility and high death rates to low fertility and low death rates with an intermediate period of high fertility and low death rates–is well known. The likely reason is lags in adjusting to changes in death rates. The price of children Having children is a […]