Friday, September 15, 2006

Redistribution of opportunity

I just read Alan Milburn's speech, featured on the Progress website (no, looking back, I don't know why, either). It's all about how the key challenge for government will be to empower citizens, and that the approach involves more of a flexible economy and making the state's role to help wealth creation thrive. That there might be a trade-off between empowering citizens and flexible labour markets doesn't get a mention, so hey ho.

Regardless, he uses on several occasions the phrase 'redistribution of opportunity', which apparently should be the new way out of poverty. Now I am pretty convinced that the only reason that the word 'opportunity' is in that phrase is because it is a favourite jargon word meaning 'unspecified good things', and he probably mean to say 'redistribution of power' or 'increasing opportunity' or something like that.

The thing about redistribution of opportunity, by analogy with redistribution of wealth, is not just that some people have increased opportunities, but that others have fewer opportunities. Which is actually quite a good point - the opportunities for people in poverty to get out of poverty involve a reduction in the opportunities for employers to avoid taxes or pay poverty-level wages, for example (rather than, as Alan Milburn would have it, that the way of reducing poverty is to give employers more opportunities to pay poverty wages and avoid taxes).

1 Comments:

At 7:14 pm , Anonymous A soft socialist said...

Alan Milburn, could there be a worse 'labour' I use that term lightly MP.

 

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