Articles

Taking and returning liberties

AJP Taylor wrote in his Oxford History of England:

Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state beyond the post office and the policeman…He could travel abroad or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter a foreigner could spend his life in the country without permit and without informing the police…All this was changed by the impact of the Great War…The state established a hold over its citizens which though relaxed in peace time, was never to be removed and which the Second World War was again to increase. The history of the English people and the English State merged for the first time.

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Tax transparency: some moral and economic considerations

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Price transparency and visibility are vital components of consumer protection in fair markets: laws and regulations protect consumers’ rights by requiring businesses to ensure their prices are visible and transparent. This is especially important when people purchase complex financial products. However, when it comes to tax, the term ‘tax transparency’ has come to signify exclusively the transparency of taxpayers’ financial affairs (referring to initiatives such as cross–national exchange of tax–related information by tax authorities), while transparency of the tax burden borne by individuals themselves receives little attention. Most people are not aware of the total amount of tax they pay and studies show that they under-estimate the amount of tax they pay substantially.

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Why Saving Catholic Schools from Covid’s Impact Is a National Imperative

Why Saving Catholic Schools from Covid’s Impact Is a National Imperative

This article was originally published in Forbes in July 2020. Previous articles on education have emphasised that Catholic social teaching has mandated that there should be no discrimination against Christian schools when it comes to funding education. This policy imperative runs into different obstacles in different political environments. This article looks at the challenges in the US, especially in the covid crisis.

“Go and set the world on fire.” Those simple words from St. Ignatius of Loyola coloured all of his works, most notably the establishment of the Jesuits, among whose leading contributions is Catholic education.

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Subsidiarity post-covid

Subsidiarity post-covid

“[I]t is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.” (Quadragesimo anno, 79).

In the current crisis, there is much talk of “policy reset”. Some of that talk seems strange. We have the most centralised health service in the Western world and it has not obviously performed better than healthcare services in other countries. The NHS has also moved infected people out of hospitals and into care homes with disastrous consequences. Despite that, reliable sources in the UK government seem to be suggesting that, following the crisis, there will be a move to centralise political control of the NHS further and also that the NHS will take control of social care from local authorities.

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Liberty in Education and Catholic Social Teaching

Liberty in Education and Catholic Social Teaching

The provision of public services by the government has always raised concerns about the respect for individual liberty. And in the case of education, this issue gets even more relevant. For being a vehicle of transmission of knowledge, education contributes not only to tackle ignorance and to increase the level of literacy of the population, but also to create and promote a common set of values and behaviour patterns. In this post we analyse the perspective of Catholic social teaching on the provision of education by the government.

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Government debt – a vacuum in Catholic social thought?

Until Debt tear us apart

The UK government has borrowed huge amounts of money to try to deal with the covid-19 crisis. Catholic social teaching and thought discusses the question of personal debt and poor-country government debt a great deal but, oddly, there is no systematic treatment of government debt more generally. Yet there are several ways in which government borrowing might be thought problematic. This post will deal with just one aspect of the problem – distributive justice.

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