Why we can’t (usefully) dismiss concern about the income of others as envious

I. The Easterlin paradox is the observation that country level happiness does not seem to increase overtime with income- even though there are many reasons to think it should- for example, income gives us choices, security, additional consumption and so on. The paradox grows even weirder when we reflect that individual increases in income do … Continue reading Why we can’t (usefully) dismiss concern about the income of others as envious

[WIP] [Technical] Extending the veil of ignorance argument for utilitarianism into an argument for ‘egalitarian’ interpersonal utility comparison

I. Plausibly there are actually two problems of interpersonal utility comparison- the epistemic problem and the ontological problem. The epistemic problem is the problem of how we could know that a given comparison is correct. The ontological problem is the problem of why we should think such comparisons are meaningful- anymore than measuring temperature against … Continue reading [WIP] [Technical] Extending the veil of ignorance argument for utilitarianism into an argument for ‘egalitarian’ interpersonal utility comparison

The end of Neoliberalism and the beginning of the venal age? Comment on Crooked Timber

The following comment was made on Crooked Timber by a friend (Tim Scriven). After speaking about it with him I'm reprinting it here with slight modifications as requested: "I have a take on Neoliberalism- it’s pretty poorly informed, but then a lot of people have pretty poorly informed takes on this subject. There are actually … Continue reading The end of Neoliberalism and the beginning of the venal age? Comment on Crooked Timber

A dollar is a dollar? What economists don’t get about indirect programs

[EDIT. I am no longer satisfied with my treatment of Ng's argument. It is perhaps not wrong as such, but it is like taking a 2 dimensional slice of a three dimensional object. I have ignored much of what is subtle and interesting in his take. I will leave this essay up though for two … Continue reading A dollar is a dollar? What economists don’t get about indirect programs

Against Kaldor-Hicks, or an ethical weight of zero on distributional concerns is still an ethical weight.

Definition of a Kaldor-Hicks improvement & efficiency  The notion of a Kaldor-Hicks improvement is a way of evaluating policies. As we shall see, it is a very bad one. A change is a Kaldor-Hicks improvement if and only if: A) It is a Pareto improvement (at least one party wins and no parties lose) OR … Continue reading Against Kaldor-Hicks, or an ethical weight of zero on distributional concerns is still an ethical weight.