Thursday, 17 September 2015

Inequality: what can be done?

In his latest night shelf donation, Stephen Town delves into the world of economics, politics and inequality.

Atkinson, Inequality: what can be done?, in the University Library at G 9.41 ATK

The University of York has a proud record of research into inequality. Professor Kate Pickett’s The Spirit Level had a great impact beyond the academic sphere (you can find it in the University Library at DA 2.1 WIL or on Yorsearch). But, despite being quoted by the Prime Minister, the recent election and its aftermath indicate that few lessons have been learnt either by the electorate or by the political classes, and that there is no real plan in the UK for dealing with the problem.

Find Atkinson's work on Floor 1 of
the JB Morrell 
My latest donation, from distinguished economist, Tony Atkinson, does provide such a plan. Atkinson discusses a comprehensive set of fifteen proposals in five areas: technology, employment, social security, capital sharing and taxation. These suggestions are robustly defended against the sceptical and pessimist arguments currently so prevalent, and offer some hope that there is a method for reversing the present trend.

What is lacking at the moment, to reverse inequality, is both the political will and the courage to offer an intellectual challenge to the absurdities of extremist market theories. Atkinson’s book is a potential start to the latter.

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