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Chris Bertram

Sunday photoblogging: cinema in Pirenópolis, Brazil

by Chris Bertram on December 20, 2015

Cinema: Pirenopolis, Brazil

Sunday photoblogging: Braunton Road, morning sun

by Chris Bertram on December 13, 2015

Braunton Road, morning sun

Piketty, Rousseau and the desire for inequality

by Chris Bertram on December 9, 2015

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century tells us a great deal about the evolution of inequality in wealth and income over a long period and how that distribution is likely to evolve unless we intervene. What Piketty does not do is to tell us why inequality is bad or why people care about inequality, although we can glean some knowledge of his personal beliefs here and there. In what follows I draw on some aspects of Rousseauvian moral psychology to suggest that the reasons people care about inequality matter enormously and that because some people value inequality for its own sake, it will be harder (even harder than Piketty thinks) to steer our societies away from the whirlpool of inequality. [click to continue…]

Sunday photoblogging: Windmill Hill, Bristol

by Chris Bertram on December 6, 2015

Houses in Windmill Hill, Bristol

Istanbul - Medusa Head in the Basilica Cistern

Sunday photoblogging: Steps in Ortygia, Sicily

by Chris Bertram on November 22, 2015

Steps in Ortygia

(co-written with Sarah Fine, Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London)

Only two months ago Europeans were shocked by the picture of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee lying dead on a Turkish beach. Then, there was a profound sense that more should be done to help people fleeing Syria’s civil war. Now, in the immediate aftermath of the ISIS murders in Paris and with unconfirmed reports that at least one perpetrator may have travelled through Europe disguised as a Syrian refugee, there are loud calls to close our doors. For some of Europe’s politicians, such as UKIP’s Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National, and the new right-wing Polish government, enough is enough: refugees trying to get to Europe should be stopped and nobody should be resettled here. There are demands for Schengen to be abandoned, together with current rules about freedom of movement within the European Union. In the United States, a similar debate is playing out, as a number of Republican governors, Presidential candidates and members of Congress push back against President Obama’s plans to welcome thousands of Syrian refugees. With so many in Europe and across the world outraged at the atrocities in Paris, these voices will be seductive, but if heeded they will lead us towards policies that would be profoundly mistaken and counterproductive.

Clamping down on refugees fleeing the region will not prevent acts of terror. In the European case, if ISIS and similar organisations wish to engage in further attacks, they do not need to bring anyone in from Syria to do so. The perpetrators who have been positively identified turn out to have been lawful residents of France and Belgium.
[click to continue…]

Sunday photoblogging: Paris

by Chris Bertram on November 15, 2015

Paris café at night

I’ve no words to add to what others have written. Solidarity and care for the dead and those who mourn them and for the wounded and those who care for them are the most important thing right now. Here’s a picture of ordinary life, people in a café.

Sunday photoblogging: Bristol – The Floating Harbour

by Chris Bertram on November 8, 2015

Here’s one I took on Friday night. One of the swing bridges that connect the north and south of the city is closed for repair, so there’s a temporary replacement for cyclists and pedestrians that takes you much higher than usual and affords a different vista of the water.

Bristol's Floating Harbour- the Balmoral

Sunday photoblogging: fountain at Colmar

by Chris Bertram on November 1, 2015

Colmar

Sunday photoblogging: another boat at Gruissan

by Chris Bertram on October 25, 2015

Boat at Gruissan

Cultural anxieties about migration

by Chris Bertram on October 19, 2015

This is more of a bleg than a post, I’m looking for contradiction. One of the often-claimed worries about immigration is of cultural loss, that the incomers will overwhelm the natives who will then lose the distinctive identity that they value. Supposedly, open borders would lead to the erosion of difference, people would lose their countries, and be bereft. But thinking about it, I’m struggling to think of any cases of cultural extinction due to the kind of immigration that results from individuals and families simply choosing to move to another country for a better or different life. Open borders within Europe haven’t caused the Germans and French to disappear. Open borders within the UK (and with Ireland) haven’t led to the demise of the Scots, the English, the Welsh or the Irish. And such immigrants as have come, have just turned into regular folks with slightly unusual names or atypical appearance within a generation. Not that there haven’t been historical cases of some peoples chasing out or killing other peoples, of course there have. But all the instances — at least all the modern ones — I can think of are state-sponsored projects of colonialism, genocide, forced relocation and the like. In the absence of deliberate state action and political mobilization, peoples of ethnic, cultural, religious, or linguistic distinctiveness seem to be pretty robust entities. Though Henry Sidgwick and Michael Walzer seemed to think they needed borders and border control to preserve themselves, mostly they don’t.

Sunday photoblogging: beach huts, Quiberville-Plage

by Chris Bertram on October 18, 2015

Beach huts - Quiberville-Plage, Quiberville, France

(for a much better photograph of a similar subject in a nearby location look at this picture by Harry Gruyaert via the Online Photographer, and then buy his book!)

Sunday photoblogging: Clifton house reflections

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2015

Clifton, house reflections

Sunday photoblogging: boat at Gruissan

by Chris Bertram on October 4, 2015

Boat at Gruissan