Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Branko Milanovic argues that there's plenty of reason to be concerned about inequality even if one puts aside a utilitarian comparison of individual needs and benefits:
(I)nequality of opportunity affects negatively economic growth (so we now have a negative effect going from my third ground back to the first) which makes inequality of opportunity abhorrent on two grounds: (1) it negates fundamental human equality, and (2) it lowers the pace of material improvements for society.

My argument, if I need to reiterate it, is: you can reject welfarism, hold that inter-personal comparison of utility is impossible, and still feel very strongly that economic outcomes should be made more equal—that inequality should be limited so that it does not strongly affect opportunities, so that it does not slow growth and so that it does not undermine democracy. Isn’t that enough?
- Brad Delong takes note of Barry Eichelgreen's timeline of the development of inequality over the past three centuries. Marvin Shaffer discusses British Columbia's inequitable growth favouring those who already have the most, while Josh Hoxie notes that the U.S.' generation of young adults is bearing the brunt of grossly unequal distributions of income and wealth. Emma Burney points out the OECD's latest report (PDF) on how tax policy can rein in inequality. And John Hood comments on the UK's seeming consensus on the need to address inequality - though it remains to be seen how (if at all) that will be translated into meaningful policy choices.

- George Hoberg rightly argues that the federal government needs to step up and develop an effective national climate change policy due to the wholly insufficient results of trying to push the issue down to the provinces. But Alex Emmons notes that the oil industry's lobbying at the Republican National Convention represents just one more example of the large amount of money being burned in an effort to stall progress wherever possible. 

- Megan Sandel and Laurel Blatchford discuss the connection between investment in adequate housing and a reduction in health care expenses. And Stephanie Dickrell comments on the massive individual and social costs of child homelessness.

- Finally, Michael Geist studies the Trans-Pacific Partnership's intellectual property rules, and find that they'd impose new and gratuitous burdens and costs on the public in the name of lining corporate pockets.

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