Amazing how the circle jerk works, isn’t it?

The Times Higher Education asked me to contribute to their Christmas edition in which a range of people select their books of the year.

And who did others pick as their book of the year?

Moreover, tax is much more than economic policy – it is an element in the construction of our collectivity and in decisions about what kind of society we want. In The Joy of Tax: How a Fair Tax System Can Create a Better Society (Bantam), Richard Murphy takes on all this with gusto, moving from forensic deconstruction of the current common sense to a proposal for a chancellor’s statement that might set us on the road to change.


Hurrah! For contrast (can I really mean relaxation?), I devoured The Joy of Tax: How a Fair Tax System Can Create a Better Society by Richard Murphy (Bantam). Now I have an inkling about government spending. Is it really true, as Murphy asserts, that nowhere in the UK university sector do we teach why we tax? Shame on us.

Those recommendations from a geographer and an engineer. They’ve still not found an economist to endorse it yet….

13 thoughts on “Amazing how the circle jerk works, isn’t it?”

  1. Quel Surprise!
    Doreen Barbara Massey FRSA FBA FAcSS (born 1944), is a contemporary British social scientist and geographer, working among others on topics typical of Marxist geography, feminist geography, and cultural geography. Her work on space, place and power has been highly influential within a range of related disciplines and research fields. She currently serves as Emeritus Professor of Geography at the Open University.
    Peter Goodhew
    Reader for Waverton Good Read, and Engineering Educator; retired electron microscopist
    Chester, UK
    @good2reader’s Tweets are protected.
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  2. *Serves* as Emeritus Professor? But Emeritus means “retired”, you don’t *serve* as a retired professor, you *are* a retired professor.

  3. “Is it really true, as Murphy asserts, that nowhere in the UK university sector do we teach why we tax?”

    No, it isn’t true.

    I wonder if Murphy actually says that or if he complains that no university teaches why he thinks we should tax? Which has a very different answer and reason.

  4. I sent this to the good Professor:


    This took 30 seconds on Google.

    Doubtless the treatment of the subject that Mr Murphy would prefer would be more akin to the compulsory “Scientific Socialism” module taught in Hungarian universities pre 1989.

    This should teach you to treat Mr Murphy’s charitably-funded oeuvre with grave caution.

    Public Economics
    Public Economics is a wide-ranging discipline, being concerned with most aspects of economic policy. The course covers both principles and applications. It starts by developing the welfare-theoretic foundations of policy analysis, the rationale for government intervention and the constraints on government action. Taxation and government expenditure are considered extensively. On the revenue side of the public accounts we consider the principles involved in tax design and analyse different types of taxes, including social insurance systems. On the expenditure side the course assesses the rationale for major categories of public spending, including health, education and pensions.
    This course covers both principles and applications. The objectives are to provide an understanding of:
    the welfare theoretic foundations of policy analysis, and the constraints on government action;
    the considerations that are involved in the design of specific taxes, and the implications for the relation between aggregate revenue and spending;
    the rationale for the major categories of public spending;
    and to encourage:

    a critical appreciation of the strengths, weaknesses and consequences of the types of taxation and expenditure system which arise in practice, mainly but not exclusively in relation to the UK.
    There are 16 lectures, and students will have 8 tutorials in groups of two or three. Suitable textbooks for this course include: Hindriks and Myles, Intermediate Public Economics; Barr, The Economics of the Welfare State.
    Course Convenor
    Johannes Abeler

  5. Most ‘pick of the year’ book lists involve puffs for books by friends or relatives or ideological allies. Quite shameless.

  6. My God does he really claim that?

    It is astonishing what nonsense you can get away with saying about economics (about what’s taught) and have it lapped up by credulous intellectuals

  7. Has anyone done a fact-checking exercise on Murphy’s book?

    Or has he avoided facts and just given us his endless puffed-up opinions?

  8. Because it’s bleedin’ obvious from primary school. you dingus.

    I expect Mr Ecks to come along any minute to argue that static bandits are better than roving bandits.

  9. Andrew said:
    “Has anyone done a fact-checking exercise on Murphy’s book?”

    No, because that would require reading the damned thing.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    jgh – “*Serves* as Emeritus Professor? But Emeritus means “retired”, you don’t *serve* as a retired professor, you *are* a retired professor.”

    I have seen a growing number of Emerita Professors. Who would be Emeritae presumably. Partly because the number of young women who joined the profession 30 years ago means that some are rising to the top. But also, partly, I would guess, because some people are really pretentious.

    However I am a little bit torn. Is this pretentious? I can not be sure until I work out if it offends Julie Bindel. For now, I am going to assume it does and so support it. Pretentious? Moi?

  11. What to fuck is it with Marxist geographers?

    A few years back I picked up ‘A brief history of Neo-liberalism’ by David Harvey, and about 1/5th of the way in I ended up throwing it across the room. I still considered myself to be on the left back then too (which is why I picked the fucker up, expecting to read something I agree with) – but whilst sitting on my factory produced sofa, in front of a big flatscreen tv, with few proper cares in the world, I couldn’t really see myself as a victim of the companies who had sold me this shit.

    Plus he used Amazon to sell me the book. They all use Amazon. Bunch of shitcunts.

  12. A particularly mischievous relative bought me ‘The Joy of Tax’ for Christmas – a dissection of it will follow at some point….

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