Author Archives: aveekbhattacharya

Is gender the next party dividing line?

A few days before the recent UK General Election, I read Colin Crouch’s essay ‘Post-Democracy and Populism’. Crouch ends the piece by considering whether the political centre and left have any social identities that can support their movements in the way that populists of the right have appealed to national identity. The one he suggests […]

Should governments care about the fertility gap?

Cross-posted from Justice Everywhere In most rich countries, and increasingly in low and middle income countries, there is a ‘fertility gap’: people say they want to have more children than they end up having. For example, two-thirds of Australian 44 year olds have fewer children than they intended to, working out at one and a […]

Are partisan cues necessarily a bad thing?

I spent a couple of days last week at the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference for the day job. One of the things that struck me while I was there was just how strong partisan cues are. Ordinary SNP members didn’t need much convincing that reducing harmful drinking should be a government priority because their […]

Private schools and freedom

Some Labour activists have called for the abolition of private schools. According to Chris Dillow: The case for not doing so is simple – freedom. My instinct is that folk should be free to spend their money how they want. I think this is correct, as far as it goes. But I don’t think the […]

Book review: The Community of Advantage

I’ve written a review of Robert Sugden’s book, The Community of Advantage, for the LSE Review of Books. Here’s an extract: The Community of Advantage is a rich and wide-ranging work, touching on welfare economics, political philosophy, value theory and meta-ethics. Apart from the formal analysis of the later chapters, it is clear, readable and […]

English student loans are a weirdly designed tax

Despite being called ‘tuition fees’, the system of financing university education in England operates more like an extra income tax on graduates. For most students, the government pays universities up front, and then charges the student an additional 9% of any income above a threshold of £25,725 a year along with income tax and national […]

Votes for children: going back to first principles

I’ve been planning to write something for Justice Everywhere on the arguments around lowering the voting age for a few months now. Then Nicolas Brando beat me to it, in a very clearly argued post setting out the main positions last month. I highly recommend Nicolas’ post, which provides an excellent overview of the debate. […]

Is meritocracy efficient?

James Kirkup’s recent piece on social mobility, ‘Too posh to fail’,  is an interesting contribution to the debate because it begins to grapple with the fact that intergenerational inequality is not just about people from advantaged backgrounds being better educated. It is also that they have the “soft skills, demeanour and habits that a privileged […]

The morality of management

It’s hardy a novel or arresting insight to say positions of power bring with them greater moral responsibilities. It’s Spider-Man’s catchphrase for goodness’ sake. The reason  is obvious: a powerful role means that a person can have a greater influence on more people’s lives. Therefore it is really important to ensure that impact is a […]

Does it matter whether rich people really like money?

Responding to the ongoing debate among economists about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a 70% tax rate on the very richest Americans, Chris Dillow  says: “I’ve never been comfortable with the marginal utility argument for high top tax rates. One reason why the rich are rich is that they value an additional dollar highly”. I […]