No salvation in fiscal policy

Yesterday, I ended a presentation to sixth-formers by commenting that nobody would want to be Rishi Sunak. Of course, in the strict sense that is not true – indeed, many of the people to whom I was talking might well have had ambitions to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. What I meant was that the Chancellor was facing the most difficult combination of circumstances of anybody in his position since the mid-1970s.

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Catholic teaching on usury and interest – continuity amidst change

Carlo Crivelli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Finance and banking are institutions heavily associated in most people’s minds with modernity and the development of modern economies. While there is a certain truth to that, in the sense that the scale and reach of such institutions accelerated in the nineteenth century, it disguises the fact that most of the tools, methods and institutions associated with modern finance attained their mature form in the Catholic world of mediaeval Europe.

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Tax transparency: some moral and economic considerations

old-notice=about-tax

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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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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