gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

Osborne, Philpot, cuts, fairness and Maggie T

These are baffling times, with many issues to the fore that were central to the controversy around Maggie Thatcher. In a week when we have seen huge tax cuts for the wealthy, we have also seen massive cuts  in income for the disabled and those on housing benefits,  and we also hear increasingly vociferous language being used to condemn those on benefits. The Guardian reported an analysis showing that the government has been using increasingly judgemental, loaded and pejorative  language to attack those on welfare, with many statements about ‘dependency cultures’, ‘addictions’ and describing the issues as ‘entrenched’ (click for article), George  Osborne’s use of the Philpot’s case to support his arguments, linking shocking and perverse acts with a ‘benefits culture’, while condemned by many, might well be an effective ploy. 

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Guest — Robert Glanz
Good piece Dr.Music. I think that not much has been written about the differences between the current government and that of Mrs T... Read More
Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:02
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Fairness is natural but what fairness?

In an age of increasing inequality and social divide there is often a lot of speculation about what we mean by fairness and justice. A fascinating new study by Patricia Kanngiesser from the University of Bristol and Prof Felix Warneken from Harvard University has shown how fairness seems to be something of an innate human trait.[1]. This is one of a swathe of studies looking at fairness, altruism and cooperation in children in recent years. In their new study children of about  3 years old were asked to collect coins using a fishing rod alongside a puppet partner. The researchers cleverly varied the work-contribution of both partners by manipulating how many coins each partner collected. The coins could then be exchanged for rewards. Interestingly the children kept fewer stickers for themselves when they had contributed little effort than when they had contributed the most, showing that they took fairness into account.

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