Minutes 20/6/2012

Equality NW Meeting Minutes

Friends Meeting House, Manchester 20th June 2012

 

Present: Philip Duval (Chair), Mike Cribb, Graham Whitham , Allan Wort, Maurice Barnes, Elizabeth Coleman, Ted Willet, Colin McPherson

Apologies: Jeremy Mills (Treasurer), Adam Corvelle, David Seddon

Agenda: Feed-back from working groups and a general discussion on how to put the world to rights.

Colin McPherson heads an Arts Council backed project 'A 41'. He is based in Birkenhead and is exploring how to use photography as a tool for political activism, particularly in the field of inequality - how to capture inequality via photography and what to do with the photos.

The Equality Trust have been supportive and he is looking to work with people already arranged with inequality. He has 3 exhibitions booked and people participating in London, Birmingham and Milton Keynes. He would like to work with a group from Manchester, amateurs or professionals, and will provide training and equipment if necessary.

The time scale is between now and the end of July for an initial briefing session, then participants will go away to do the work and re-convene in September. The first exhibition is expected to be next March. Interested parties should get in touch with Allan Wort (ajw01@cyteenfoundation.com)

The Raising Awareness Group are working on a presentation and hope to have it ready for September. They would like to know what the common arguments are used against the case for equality and how to counter these arguments. They are looking for venues/forums to give their presentation - universities, elected members, business gatherings etc.

Maurice reported that he had visited the Newport Equality Trust. They are considering using our constitution as a model and our idea of using working groups.

He also reported on a perceived change of thinking within the
Manchester City councillors regarding economic strategy and the possibility that they are now more open to suggestions from outside.

The groups's thoughts regarding common arguments against Greater Equality and the book The Spirit Level were:

1. The rich will leave the country and therefore remove resources.
Allan said a lot of researches showing most rich people do not leave their home country if for examples taxes are high.
2. There is need for capital accumulation for promoting businesses and therefore jobs and wealth for others.
Allan also has information to show (as Fabians research showed and in the book The Cost of Inequality) that since the 80's most rich people do not actually invest money in wealth creation endeavours but more short term exploitive actions.
3. That the politics of "envy" should not be encouraged.
The view was that caps on income not a good idea but higher taxes suggesting the rich pay a higher proportion of what they earn towards the general good.
4. The Spirit Level statistics were not valid.
Good answers to these accusations on the Equality Trust website. They need to be analysed and known.
5. The Spirit Level while it may show correlation it cannot prove causation between inequality and social ills.
True that causation hard to prove but often "common sense" points of view which people can easily understand can be raised e.g. increase stress on those at the bottom of the social ladder causing increased mental health problems.

What can be done to frustrate ever increasing higher incomes?

The group's overall view was:
a) A lot more transparency in all business and tax issues
b) Clearer tax rules which are devised for the common good
c) Taxing a person/business where their money is actually made.
d) Corporations legally having other objectives other than making profits - more enhanced social responsibility objectives.
e) Promoting procurement polices that took account of wider issues such as social behaviour of a company.
f) Promoting and supporting different types of companies e.g. cooperatives.
g) Promoting workers/community involvement in the management of all companies.
h) Overall improving competition amongst companies so market forces can work effectively.

Main points to cover in dealing with Inequality

1. Moral factors - fairness
2. Economic factors - the cost to the wider society
3. Social factors - described well in the Spirit level and other researches.

The Networking Group meet online and the results of that meeting are up on the website here http://bit.ly/I0023X

Graham reported that local MPs have set up the Greater Manchester Poverty Commission and public meetings will be arranged in each of the ten participating Councils. It was agreed that we should put in a submission to this commission. Graham will draft and circulate for comment.

It was agreed that the core group should continue to meet on a fairly
regular basis.

The next meeting will be 7.00 pm Wednesday 15th August at the Friends Meeting House.

Maurice Barnes and Joe Taylor give their apologies

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Equality North West to add comments!

Comment by Allan Wort on June 22, 2012 at 13:16

3.      That the politics of “envy” should not be encouraged.

 

The view was that caps on income not a good idea but higher taxes suggesting the rich pay a higher proportion of what they earn towards the general good.

 

The point here is that you enter a minefield of legal and taxation implications by trying to administer individual personal reward schemes from corporates that would cause more trouble and achieve lower outcomes than shaming those susceptible into contributing more in tax or abandoning obvious tax avoidance schemes. There are sociopaths who are not susceptible to social pressure but luckily they are a small proportion of the population.

 

It’s a far more winnable argument to say ‘Hey! Sure! Make the great money but make sure you pay your fair share of taxes as a citizen.’ Than to say ‘You CAN’T earn more than X.’ because you will end up spending your time squabbling over where to draw the line rather than concentrating upon changing behaviour, in my opinion.

 

4.      The Spirit Level statistics were not valid.

Good answers to these accusations on the Equality Trust website. They need to be analysed and known.

 

http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/response-to-questions/

 

5.      The Spirit Level while it may show Correlation it cannot prove Causation between Inequality and Social ills.

 

True that causation hard to prove but often “common sense” points of view which people can easily understand can be raised e.g. increase stress on those at the bottom of the social ladder causing increased mental health problems.

 

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-things-rich-people-need-to-stop-saying/

 

What can be done to frustrate ever increasing higher incomes?

The groups overall view was:

a)      A lot more transparency in all business and tax issues

b)      Clearer tax rules which are devised for the common good

c)      Taxing a person/business where their money is actually made.

d)      Corporations legally having other objectives other than making profits – more enhanced social responsibility objectives.

e)      Promoting procurement polices that took account of wider issues such as social behaviour of a company.

f)        Promoting and supporting different types of companies e.g. cooperatives.

g)      Promoting workers / community involvement in the management of all companies.

h)      Overall improving competition amongst companies so market forces can work effectively.

 

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/27-2

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/business/web-sites-shine-light-on...

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic964076.files/BertrandMor...

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/brett-scott-the-safe-deposit...

http://democracy.livingreviews.org/index.php/lrd/article/viewArticl...

Comment by Allan Wort on June 22, 2012 at 13:14

1.      There is need for capital accumulation for promoting businesses and therefore jobs and wealth for others.

Allan also has information to show (as Fabians research showed and in the book The Cost of Inequality) that since the 80’s most rich people do not actually invest money in wealth creation endeavours but more short term exploitive actions.

 

I’d be interested in seeing the Fabian research, please.

 

Small business creates jobs in our economy to a greater extent than either the public sector or large corporate vehicles. The wealthy invest predominantly in short-term, secondary and tertiary investment vehicles which tend to be destructive of value and jobs in seeking higher and riskier interest returns.

 

Zip-meme; if the wealthy really are job creators then we should be awash in jobs after their wealth growth in the last thirty years; we are not.

 

http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/on-inequality-why-now/?utm_source=fee...

http://www.businessinsider.com/income-inequality-charts-2011-10

http://politicalaffairs.net/the-economics-of-inequality/

http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/inequality-the-cau...

http://www.alternet.org/story/155738/joseph_stiglitz%3A_the_price_o...

http://www.businessinsider.com/nick-hanauer-ted-presentation-about-...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/06/17/job-creators/

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-12-12/news/30504074_1_tax-...

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/news/jobcreationanddestru...

http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/REStat%20small%20businesses.pdf

Comment by Allan Wort on June 22, 2012 at 13:14

AJW; I’ve added a number of reference links to each section for your perusal. While not attempting to be a comprehensive survey of any particular question (tax migration, wealth investing, transparency and investigative reporting etc) they should nevertheless provide a good starting-point for any further investigation you may wish to pursue and a solid degree of evidential support for the rebuttals we wish to make. Newspaper articles are obviously a less rigorous source of information than academic studies so can be browsed easily and I’d suggest you only read the abstract, executive summary or conclusion sections of the more scientific papers in the list unless you really wish to engage with the meat of the topic.

 

Inequalities Groups thoughts where common arguments against Greater Equality and the book The Spirit Level.

 

1.      The rich will leave the country and therefore remove resources.

 

The list of readings below present good support for the rebuttal here to the simplistic assertion that economic migration is driven by marginal personal tax rates. There are inevitably some effects but increasingly we are seeing strong evidence for two salient points to be made here;

 

Firstly that most economic migration decisions are taken far more frequently as a result of individual assessments of job and career options or of age-related issues than of short-term tax changes (ie migration decisions are a function of international career mobility and pension/retirement planning decisions to a far greater extent than any other factor and most people consider far wider decision criteria than just tax burden when settling upon their domicile for tax purposes).

 

And secondly that there is far greater scope for gaining higher tax yields by closing loopholes and evasion/avoidance opportunities than by raising marginal tax rates although even then the threat of mass emigration is demonstrably false when we examine actual case studies.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/business/economy/the-case-for-rai...

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_best_policy/201...

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/04/29/135813061/studies-rich-do...

http://unlearningeconomics.wordpress.com/tag/tax-rates/

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=vie...

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/09/08/100276/would-raising-taxes-on...

http://www.nber.org/papers/w10645

http://personal.lse.ac.uk/kleven/Downloads/MyPapers/WorkingPapers/k...

http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/selectedpapers/sp79.pdf

http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/diamond-saezJEP11opttax.pdf

 

Other ways to keep in touch:

© 2017   Created by Freire Institute.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service