In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic or distributive justice. This book unites philosophical discussion of justice with debates on tax policy.
The book discusses prominent issues like the estate tax, redistribution, progressive versus "flat" taxes, and whether the tax base should be consumption or income. It explains the most important theories of justice and their implications for tax policy.
The Myth of Property is the first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership. It critically analyzes what it means to own something, and it takes familiar debates about distributive justice and recasts them into discussions of the structure of ownership. The traditional notion of private property assumed by both defenders and opponents of that system is criticized and exposed as a "myth." The book then puts forward a new theory of what it means to own something, one that will be important for any theory of distributive justice. This new approach more adequately reveals the disparate social and individual values that property ownership serves to promote. The study has importance for understanding the reform of capitalist and welfare state systems, as well as the institution of market economies in former socialist states, for the view developed here makes the traditional dichotomy between private ownership capitalism and public ownership socialism obsolete. This new approach to ownership also places egalitarian principles of distributive justice in a new light and challenges critics to clarify aspects of property ownership worth protecting against calls for greater equality. The book closes by showing how defenders of egalitarianism can make use of some of the ideas and values that traditionally made private property appear to be such a pervasive human institution.
Class, Geopolitics, and the Making of Modern International Relations
Author: Benno Teschke
The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 is widely interpreted as the foundation of modern international relations. Benno Teschke exposes this as a myth. In the process he provides a fresh re-interpretation of the making of modern international relations from the eighth to the eighteenth century. Inspired by the groundbreaking historical work of Robert Brenner, Teschke argues that social property relations provide the key to unlocking the changing meaning of 'international' across the medieval, early modern, and modern periods. He traces how the long-term interaction of class conflict, economic development, and international rivalry effected the formation of the modern system of states. Yet instead of identifying a breakthrough to interstate modernity in the so-called 'long sixteenth century' or in the period of intensified geopolitical competition during the seventeenth century, Teschke shows that geopolitics remained governed by dynastic and absolutist political communities, rooted in feudal property regimes. The Myth of 1648 argues that the onset of specifically modern international relations only began with the conjunction of the rise of capitalism and modern state-formation in England. Thereafter, the English model caused the restructuring of the old regimes of the Continent. This was a long-term process of socially uneven development, not completed until World War I.
Essays on Evidence, Textuality and Bibliographical Method
Author: Joseph A. Dane
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Category: Literary Criticism
The Myth of Print Culture is a critique of bibliographical and editorial method, focusing on the disparity between levels of material evidence (unique and singular) and levels of text (abstract and reproducible). It demonstrates how the particulars of evidence are manipulated in standard scholarly arguments by the higher levels of textuality they are intended to support. The individual studies in the book focus on a range of problems: basic definitions of what a book is; statistical assumptions; and editorial methods used to define and collate the presumably basic unit of 'variant.' This work differs from other recent studies in print culture in its emphasis on fifteenth-century books and its insistence that the problems encountered in that historical milieu (problems as basic as cataloguing errors) are the same as problems encountered in other areas of literary criticism. The difficulties in the simplest of cataloguing decisions, argues Joseph Dane, tend to repeat themselves at all levels of bibliographical, editorial, and literary history.
This history of Britain since 1945 confronts two themes that have dominated British consciousness during the post-war era: the myth of decline and the pervasiveness of American influence. The political narrative is about the struggle to maintain a power that was illusory and, from 1960 on, to reverse an economic decline that was nearly as illusory. The British economy had its problems, which are fully analyzed; however, they were counterbalanced by an unparalleled prosperity. At the same time, there was a social and cultural revolution which resulted in a more exciting, dynamic society. While there was much American influence, there was no Americanization. American influences were incorporated with many others into a new and less stodgy British culture. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this groundbreaking book finds that the story of Britain since the war is marked not by decline but by progress on almost all fronts.
This paper uses Engel curves to estimate real income growth in Brazil. The estimated per capita household real income growth in metropolitan areas during 1987-2002 is about 4½ percent per year, well above the "headline" growth of 1½ percent obtained by deflating nominal incomes by the CPI. This suggests a substantial CPI bias during that period, likely owing to one-off effects of trade liberalization and inflation stabilization. The estimated unmeasured gains are higher for poorer households, implying a marked reduction in "real" inequality. This finding challenges the conventional wisdom that post-reform real income growth in Brazil was low.
"The wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in neighboring Croatia and Kosovo grabbed the attention of the western world not only because of their ferocity and their geographic location, but also because of their timing. This violence erupted at the exact moment when the cold war confrontation was drawing to a close, when westerners were claiming their liberal values as triumphant, in a country that had only a few years earlier been seen as very well placed to join the west. In trying to account for this outburst, most western journalists, academics, and policymakers have resorted to the language of the premodern: tribalism, ethnic hatreds, cultural inadequacy, irrationality; in short, the Balkans as the antithesis of the modern west. Yet one of the most striking aspects of the wars in Yugoslavia is the extent to which the images purveyed in the western press and in much of the academic literature are so at odds with evidence from on the ground."—from Chapter 1 V. P. Gagnon Jr. believes that the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s were reactionary moves designed to thwart populations that were threatening the existing structures of political and economic power. He begins with facts at odds with the essentialist view of ethnic identity, such as high intermarriage rates and the very high percentage of draft-resisters. These statistics do not comport comfortably with the notion that these wars were the result of ancient blood hatreds or of nationalist leaders using ethnicity to mobilize people into conflict. Yugoslavia in the late 1980s was, in Gagnon's view, on the verge of large-scale sociopolitical and economic change. He shows that political and economic elites in Belgrade and Zagreb first created and then manipulated violent conflict along ethnic lines as a way to short-circuit the dynamics of political change. This strategy of violence was thus a means for these threatened elites to demobilize the population. Gagnon's noteworthy and rather controversial argument provides us with a substantially new way of understanding the politics of ethnicity.
Few institutions have become as ferociously fought over in democratic politics as the courts. While political criticism of judges in this country goes back to its inception, today’s intensely ideological assault is nearly unprecedented. Spend any amount of time among the writings of contemporary right-wing critics of judicial power, and you are virtually assured of seeing repeated complaints about the “imperial judiciary.” American conservatives contend not only that judicial power has expanded dangerously in recent decades, but that liberal judges now willfully write their policy preferences into law. They raise alarms that American courts possess a degree of power incompatible with the functioning of a democratic polity. The Myth of the Imperial Judiciary explores the anti-judicial ideological trend of the American right, refuting these claims and taking a realistic look at the role of courts in our democracy to show that conservatives have a highly unrealistic conception of their power. Kozlowski first assesses the validity of the conservative view of the Founders’ intent, arguing that courts have played an assertive role in our politics since their establishment. He then considers contemporary judicial powers to show that conservatives have greatly overstated the extent to which the expansion of rights which has occurred has worked solely to the benefit of liberals. Kozlowski reveals the ways in which the claims of those on the right are often either unsupported or simply wrong. He concludes that American courts, far from imperiling our democracy or our moral fabric, stand as a bulwark against the abuse of legislative power, acting forcefully, as they have always done, to give meaning to constitutional promises.