Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Oh do shut up dear! The public voice of women and other news and views for Tuesday 25 March

  • The Public Voice of Women – A London Review of Books lecture at the British Museum by Mary Beard – ” I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public.”
  • For our most powerful and hypocritical leaders, crimes are those that others commit – “Is there a better case study in brazen hypocrisy than the ongoing crisis in Crimea? Not just on the part of the loathsome Vladimir Putin, who defends Syria’s sovereignty while happily violating Ukraine’s, but on the part of western governments, too.”
  • Ukraine and the Crisis of International Law – “As frightening as the Ukraine crisis is, the more general disregard of international law in recent years must not be overlooked. Without diminishing the seriousness of Russia’s recent actions, we should note that they come in the context of repeated violations of international law by the US, the EU, and NATO. Every such violation undermines the fragile edifice of international law, and risks throwing the world into a lawless war of all against all.”
  • How to use a bank tax to make the financial system safer - “The current approach to taxing banks is perverse. It encourages precisely the kind of behaviour that supervisory authorities are trying to curb. Bank regulation requires banks to keep their equity above a specified level. Yet corporate taxation encourages the banks to use more debt and less equity. This perversity comes from the fact that corporate tax is levied on the banks’ profits. When a bank borrows money to finance its balance sheet, it incurs interest expenses that can be deducted against profits for tax purposes. The greater a bank’s borrowings, the larger the interest payments and the lower its tax bill. Tax bank liabilities instead of profits, and you will disadvantage liabilities more and bank capital less. Making that change would encourage banks to be better capitalised and stronger.
  • The Doctor and the Saint – Arundhati Roy on Ambedkar, Gandhi and the battle against caste.
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