WHAT WOULD ARISTOTLE SAY?

8 June 2010

The Tory Libdem government has told us that we are all in this crisis together and that everyone will suffer. Certainly we have to tackle the financial deficit but I recall that Aristotle – he of Aristotle’s Teeth – argued that we should treat equals equally but unequals unequally, to treat unequals equally would be unjust. That is an argument for ensuring that pain is distributed unequally, for ensuring that the most vulnerable and deprived people in Britain do not suffer as much as the rich and better-off.

There are difficulties for the government. The poor depend upon public services more than the better-off who can buy services outside the public sector and the poor suffer more from increases in VAT (see section 3 of the linked VAT article) because it forms a larger proportional take of their income. Most of the money from Tory Libdem proposed income tax threshold changes goes to the better-off as this post explains in the section on upping the tax threshold.

The decisions of the government, including the budget and later spending review, should be judged against Aristotle’s argument. The question to ask is, What would Aristotle say?

Notes

Aristotle Nicomachean ethics Book 5

8 June 2010 Linked to article on VAT after putting up this post
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