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Out of England: Dead Aim


Count on Bloody Old England to bring us this: this week's Economist reports a book in which Richard Layard, a member of the House of Lords, finds that high incomes should be steeply taxed because high incomes make other people less-happy with their own incomes, precipitating the fabled "rat race" of consumptive competition. Proceeding with almost impeccable logic from the premise that it is the government's job, after all, to maximize people's happiness (rather than just let them pursue it according to their own best lights), Layard nonetheless shies away from prohibiting divorce (which he identifies, along with high incomes, as another source of unhappiness), or forcing worship of a higher being (another identified source of happiness). According to the second-to-the-last sentence of the article, it seems people value their freedoms too much for that.

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