equality politics

Equality is a political opportunity

Britain’s political parties will all be reflecting on the recent elections, where the anti-immigration, anti-Europe UKIP party did very well for themselves. In response, it is going to be tempting for all the parties to toughen their stance on those issues ahead of the general election next year. We’d then have an election fought on the defensive, on the basis of who can be the most xenophobic and paranoid without actually appearing racist and unreasonable.

Or we can talk about positive change and progress, a vision for a fairer and more sustainable Britain – and one of the wide-open opportunities on that front is inequality. Here’s an issue that affects ordinary people, that plays a big role in the health of society, and that has wide popular support. How we reduce inequality is obviously a big question, but a large majority of people believe that we should.

 

reducing inequality

8 comments

  1. Equality: best angle of attack: basic accounting beyond UK, smaller income inequality, globally regulated revenue on capital, global currency, changes in education, …taxes within a garbled context (nation-states, limited political environments) matter least.

    Read more: Thomas Piketty mostly makes sense, to differ on the importance of taxing, income regulation does away with most taxes(and fines) as it is sensibly managed.

    m.

  2. One of the prerequisites is a complete change in the tax system, away from taxes on earned wages, goods, services, profits, and transactions. The main source of public revenue needs to be a charge on the annual rental value of land. As this reform is not on any political party agenda, things are going to get worse and worse.

  3. The trouble with single issue picking, which is what this is, is that tackling a single issue can make the other big issues worse. That is why little is actually done about immigration because it would hurt the economy which would make it harder to build more houses or cut taxes. Similarly the economic evidence is that in the UK cutting inequality would also harm the economy, making it harder to build those homes or cut taxes.

    Unless you the money you take from the rich actually goes to the poorer rather than just be destroyed (which is the history of tackling inequality) then it is unlikely to make many people happier, and the negative economic consequences will make them unhappier. So as a politician you would lose. Much safer to talk about cutting inequality but not act on it.

    1. If this was the only post on the blog, that would be a fair comment. Since it’s one of over 2,000, it’s hardly single issue picking.

      If you’re getting your evidence from Tim Worstall, no doubt you’ve found what you need to back up your belief that equality doesn’t matter and harms the economy. A growing number of people think differently. Even the IMF suggested earlier this year that inequality actually impedes growth.

      1. As of course you know the IMF report says that above a certain level too much redistribution impedes growth and put the UK above that level, so not sure why you quoted that report.

        I was making a wider point about single issue politics. Just because lots of people think something doesn’t make it true. Otherwise you would agree we should be nasty to immigrants since 77% of people think that is a problem. Is envy better than racism? – discuss.

        1. Which is why I’m more in favour of pre-distribution and avoiding inequality in the first place.

          Inequality isn’t about envy. It’s about inclusion, opportunity, and whether or not people are able to participate in society and democracy.

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