Poor need more than 'guesswork on stilts'
• "We are in this together" is the persistent cry used to bolster the current cascade of cuts and savings. John Rawls, one of the towering minds of 20th Century political philosophy, argued persuasively for the view that the right test for our policies is how they help the most disadvantaged in society, not the rich.
In Ireland today, the front line of austerity is the poor. This is not just morally reprehensible but politically and economically inept. Ireland's unfettered capitalism invariably reduces itself to robbing the poor to give to the rich.
The workings of politics cannot and ought not to be free from the network of obligations that binds the rest of us. Politics and economics are not moral-free zones. They have to take into account the quality of life of all our citizens; otherwise, we will perpetuate the current unequal distribution of power, wealth and influence and continue to create an underclass.