Logic dictates that as societies become richer, social spending should decline. But the opposite is true in the West today. Why? Partly because poverty is broadly defined, and partly because social expenditure goes beyond poverty alleviation. The effect of this excessive generosity can be to disincentivise able-bodied men and women from working, robbing a nation of productive workers.
To the Westminster audience he addressed this week, the most powerful Republican in Congress was something of an alien species: a morally unambiguous, super-fit policy geek. His expression of support for a UK/US trade deal claimed the headlines. But the meat of his talk concerned Russia. The language with which he denounced Putin was stark. And his reminder of the importance of Nato for European security couldn't have been clearer.
One of the more frightening revelations in the UN's recent Human Development Report is that more than 100 countries forbid women from working in some professions. This is just one of the many ways in which women around the world are denied their economic freedom. As reforms in Ethiopia demonstrate, the economic liberation of women is not only the right thing to do, but a proven road out of poverty.
Theresa May's announcement that she wants a general election may be a shock, but it is good for the UK's democratic hygiene. It gives the Prime Minister the opportunity she needed to secure a mandate for her ideological break with the Cameron government - and gives centrist and centre-left voters the chance to save Labour by demonstrating that the hard Left is an electoral dead end.
There are two opposing stories about our attitudes to inequality. Some psychological studies suggest mankind is innately averse to it. Others show not only that we tolerate a degree of inequality but that we actually prefer it. Yet this contradiction has been convincingly reconciled in a new paper. Its authors argue that when people appear to get angry about inequality, in fact they are worried about unfairness.
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