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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‘Dying well’ in the time of coronavirus

Deathbed-Etiquette-During-Covid-19

This article follows the same theme as last week’s article in a rather different context. The virtues of social justice and solidarity demand that we all play our part in ensuring that those who die experience a good death and have the support they need. Catholic organisations are working to ensure this in these difficult times, as are a range of other organisations. However, ultimately, when things return to normal, we know that, though we will learn from the use of technology during this difficult period, we still need human contact.

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Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

I read the previous two posts on this blog with great interest, and I welcome this opportunity to bring a theological perspective to bear on some of those discussions. In this piece, I want to discuss a passing comment from Trevor Stammers’ post, in which he acknowledges the necessity of employing utilitarian reasoning when faced with the ethics of triage. This acknowledges situations whereby an ethical philosophy considered woefully problematic in normal circumstances, might be permitted due to the extreme complexity at play.

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Covid-19: Love in a time of War

covid 19 Healthcare worker

In an open letter to his parish of St Mark’s, Cambridge weeks before the Government’s “Stay at home” message was issued, Prof of New Testament, Richard Bauckham wrote “During the past week I have had the weird sense of a society preparing for an imminent outbreak of war…The analogy with war came to me last week and I might then have thought it over-dramatic. But now everyone is using it. The difference from the great wars is that the “home front” is now the front.”

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The late scholastics and globalisation

Salamanca

While the understanding of Catholic social thought as a structured and articulated body of thought is relatively recent, its roots go back much further. The work of St. Thomas Aquinas is certainly pivotal in this regard (and merits its own analysis), but in several matters the first consistent reflection on applied global economic and social issues from a Catholic perspective ought to be credited to the late scholastics and particularly to the so-called School of Salamanca.

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The environment and continuity in Catholic social teaching

Environment

We are all entitled to empathise with different ways of proclaiming Church teaching, and of course with different pontiffs. John Paul II had and Benedict XVI and Francis have particular charisms which different people find attractive. One of the purposes of the MA in Catholic Social Teaching at St. Mary’s, however, is to emphasise the continuity of Church teaching. When it comes to Catholic teaching on the environment, that continuity has been evident – it did not begin with Laudato Si.

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