Month: November 2011

  • The deservingness of benefit claimants (II)

    In this second of three posts responding to John Humphrys’ Future State of Welfare, I look at his example of people who want to work – but won’t work in crap jobs. The critical questions are: do these people exist?  If so, how common are they? And (next week), what does all this mean for welfare […]

  • The Co-opted Message of Occupy Wall Street

    Emily Matthews is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. Emily also edits a blog on applying for Master’s Degrees. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in late July and has […]

  • The deservingness of benefit claimants (I)

    This is the first of three linked posts on the ‘deservingness of benefit claimants’. In this post, I explain the title, speak about the BBC programme that prompted the posts, and suggest why the British public massively overestimate the levels of benefit fraud. A few weeks ago, the BBC broadcast a documentary about the British […]

  • Beyond ‘Child Poverty’

    It may seem perverse to start criticising the idea of ‘child poverty’. Looking back over Tony Blair’s years in office, there’s nothing more surprising or welcome than his call to ‘end child poverty, and it will take a generation’. New Labour invested substantially in policies that aimed to address it, and the Conservatives overcame their hostility […]

  • Money Can Buy Happiness

    Apologies for missing a post last week, last week I was at the Association of Public Policy and Management (APPAM) annual meeting, and this week I am in South Africa (hopefully some comments on South African inequality issues soon). Below are some impressions from one of the APPAM sessions, “The Measurement and Evaluation of Happiness […]

  • Fraud, dishonesty, and exaggeration

    It’s depressing. By now I should be used to it, but it’s still depressing. The past week has seen another couple of high-profile programmes dedicated to demonising benefit claimants by concentrating on different types of fraud – by the BBC of all people, obviously keen to shed the reputation ‘left-wing bias’ that is thrown at […]

  • Beyond the uncertainty of The Spirit Level

    The debate over the Spirit Level rages on. Since its 2009 publication, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book – subtitled ‘Why more equal societies almost always do better’ – has courted controversy while simultaneously becoming part of mainstream UK political debate. Now a UK social justice foundation has commissioned a review of the book and its […]