Nothing inherently belongs to anyone. What belongs to who is always a function of policy and the way they construct our economic institutions. Accordingly, all incomes are, at a basic level, politically determined. So, you should not act like some kind of baseline (pre-tax market income for instance) demarcates everyone’s true income, with all other [...]
Following the interaction that culminated in my doing a small survey of wonkblog posts to see how they use the word “redistribution,” there has been more discussing going on. Mike Konczal has this post about redistribution, which builds on a sports metaphor I first saw him unveil on twitter a short [...]
Horizontal equity is the idea that people with the same incomes should pay the same taxes. I’ve made some remarks here and there about horizontal equity when trying to explain my view on Pay It Forward. Pay It Forward is a way of funding free higher education by imposing a flat tax on college graduates.
The correct view on the naturalness of distribution is that it isn’t natural. Who gets what is all made up and we can make it up how we want. That’s not to say it’s all arbitrary and all ways of doing it are equal. It is to say that you have to come up with [...]
Amanda Marcotte had a really strange piece today in Alternet, which was cross-posted at Salon. She is apparently trying to respond to conservative efforts to demand liberals articulate where human rights come from. The conservatives Marcotte focuses on claim they come from God, while Marcotte explains that they come from, well, um…don’t worry [...]
Some libertarians (usually the dimmer internet ones) actually think that the non-aggression principle does argumentative work in favor of a libertarian theory. But it clearly doesn’t. Watch.
Suppose I come on to some piece of ground that you call your land. Suppose I don’t believe people can own land since nobody makes land. So obviously [...]
I don’t enjoy any debate that has to do with history or exegesis. But I found myself right in the middle of one such debate today that I found absolutely hilarious.
So I wrote this post at Demos today. It’s a pretty vacuous post in which I observe that being economically insecure harms [...]
One of the popular memes coming out of this Syria debacle is an assertion that there is no difference between conventional and chemical weapons. I’ve yet to see someone explain what the Just War Theory response on this is (granted I don’t follow this stuff anymore). So I figure I will just take a stab [...]
How do you ever initiate property ownership without introducing injustice? This is a question that occupied much of my intellectual energy not too long ago. The answer I came to is that you can’t, at least not if you are trying to come up with some standalone justification for property ownership of the sort libertarians [...]
Peter Buffett has a piece in the New York Times titled The Charitable-Industrial Complex. From the article:
As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling [...]