Danny Dorling, Social Geographer

But perhaps not Danny Dorling economist.

Hundreds of thousands more jobs could be afforded if there were a little more austerity among the rich, a report just published by IPPR shows. It would not take a near-halving of top salaries – just a slight and gradual reduction of income inequalities would make huge savings every year. This is what occurred in the UK between the mass unemployment of the 1930s and the near full employment that lasted into the 1970s. Cutting high wages would allow employers to take on many more employees.

Over the last 30 years, pre-tax income inequality in the UK has increased massively, as it has in the US. Britain has seen massive rises in the incomes of those at the very top of the income scale, leading to increased overall inequality, fewer people earning enough to survive without tax credits and far more young people having to live on benefits because there are fewer jobs than a slightly more evenly distributed payroll would deliver.

Umm, OK, it\’s fine to look at the distribution of incomes in the economy.

But it is something of an error to only look at that distribution: we also want to know what is the effect of the distribution upon growth. Dorling\’s assumption here seems to be that we can change the distribution without changing the growth rate.

And maybe we can and maybe we can\’t but isn\’t that the very question that needs to be answered, rather than simply making the assumption that we can?

Sadly, the actual paper won\’t download for me so I can\’t see his argument in detail.

That paper has now been sent to me and yes, he really does just say that if we take £160 billion or so more in tax off the high income earners then all that will happen is more equality.

He doesn\’t even consider, for a moment, Laffer Effects or anything like them. Geographers doing economics: not a pretty sight, eh?

5 comments on “Danny Dorling, Social Geographer

  1. Not, not an economist. I do know, however, that this man is a past master at pushing tendentious and hand-wringing arguments about how unfair the world is because some people have more than other people. Taxing the rich will not solve society’s ills and may not even be the right starting point to try but it makes Professor Dorling and his ilk feel that they are Doing Something. There is just no reasoning with such people. One despairs of them.

  2. In what way will taxing the rich more make their services cheaper?

    Lots of people want skilled labour to be cheaper. Nothing new about wanting to pay less for investment advice, mending a burst pipe, making more profit from your workforce, watering the workers beer… But can it be done?

  3. Geographers doing economics: not a pretty sight, eh?

    Actually Geographers doing anything (even geography) is not a pretty sight, not being the sharpest tools etc etc.

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