Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Zero Hours Contracts and the Labour Party

During the build up to the election I wrote a blog for Manchester policy expressing my scepticism about the need to ban zero-hours contracts.

Unfortunately I was a bit late getting it to them and so it was published when I was out of the country and unable to publicise it.

As things stand, though it is quite possible that Labour will be fighting another election again soon with a similar manifesto. It is still worth mentioning, therefore, though who knows what will happen in the disaster that is British politics since the vote for Brexit.

In the blog I argue that measures short of a ban should be considered, such as setting a higher minimum wage for zero-hours contracts.

I take this one example of where the Corbyn team currently leading the Labour party are a little out of touch with the economy. Unfortunately the favourable employment conditions found in the more economically developed world from the mid twentieth century no longer apply and are highly unlikely to return.

The immediate levers to which the Corbyn team turn are, to my mind, and their plans to borrow huge amounts would have economic consequences that could affect ordinary people as well as the hated 'fat cats.'

That said, I would of course prefer a Corbyn government to a Tory one, and the progressive tax proposals in the Labour manifesto represent a move in the right direction. I would just disagree on how they should be spent.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Free view of my book review - limited time only

In my previous blog I mentioned that my review of Julie Rose's book Free Time (Princeton University Press, 2016) has been accepted for publication in the journal Res Publica.

Well, it is now available online and the publisher has provided a link to get a free view of it.

I'm not sure how long the above link will work for, but the publication page (which will probably require you to pay or use an institutional login to view the review) can be found here.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Julie Rose's book Free Time

I'm pleased to report that my review of Julie Rose's book Free Time (Princeton University Press, 2016) has been accepted for publication in the journal Res Publica.

Here is a photo of me with the book (which has a very attractive cover).

Julie prefers the term Free Time to leisure because it captures the idea that what matters is that we have time where we do not have any binding commitments.

Those with a lot of wealth or high hourly incomes can not only buy themselves goods and services, but also in many cases enjoy more free time than the rest of their society.

In my own work on taxation and benefits I have emphasised that this is not captured very accurately in our current tax and benefit system, and that doing so would be fairer and more economically efficient. My CLIPH-rate tax proposals are designed with these generally overlooked issues in mind.

I think the book is very good and while I disagree on certain points it does an excellent job of showing how important yet underappreciated free time by liberal philosophers of distributive justice.

I hope that Julie, myself and others will continue to develop theories which emphasise the importance of leisure/free time.