2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Analysis of the Existence of Billionaires in Today’s Economic Climate

This project is a philosophical analysis of the existence of billionaires in today’s economic climate. In today’s society, there is an ever-increasing number of billionaires. Meanwhile, there is also a large number of people living in poverty. Many of the wealthiest people today, such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are considered to be philanthropists due to their many charitable actions. Although it is undeniable that these actions are more significant than those of many other billionaires today, it still seems that this is simply not enough in today’s economic climate. This project will aim to understand if there is an alternative to the way society is structured. Firstly, we must consider whether the human desire to have an excessive amount of wealth is something that is fundamental to human nature, or whether we are conditioned by society to think this way. In order to do this, I will consider Thomas Hobbes’ account of man in the state of nature to understand how man is naturally greedy. I will also consider the Marxist critique of capitalism to understand how society conditions us to believe that we are in a state of scarcity and need to work for new symbols of exchange. After fulfilling this research, I will conclude that it is within our human nature to be greedy animals, wanting an abundance of goods, and the society we live in simply facilitates this need. It will then be important to consider how the goods within society could be distributed in order to account for this inherent greed. I will discuss the ideas of John Rawls and Robert Nozick on distributive justice. I will present the ideas of Rawls which seem to be commendable, however Nozick’s critique of Rawls will show that it would be impossible to remain in a state of equal distribution without sacrificing individual liberty – a higher order good. Overall, the project will highlight that wealth is a central element of society today, and the only way to account for the inequalities we see is to diminish liberty; a conflict which is unresolvable.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Has the covid-19 pandemic enhanced poverty in England or has it simply exposed the poverty that already existed in our society?

looking at the question, ‘Has the covid-19 pandemic enhanced poverty in England or has it simply exposed the poverty that already existed in our society?’ with reference to Mbembe’s Necro politcs, The State of Exception, and Nixon’s idea of Slow Violence.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

The Precarious Worker as Homo Sacer

• This project will place the film ‘Sorry We Missed You’ (2019) within the territory of biopolitics, in order to understand the relationship between the worker and their employer.
• ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is a film set in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, following the Turner family where parents, Abby and Ricky, work within the gig economy.
o Abby works as an outsourced, in-home care worker.
o Ricky is a delivery driver, mockingly referred to by his son as a “white van man”.
 As a contemporary film, this project shall be contextualised against the backdrop of ‘Capitalist Realism’: the pervading atmosphere that capitalism is the only possible economic system.
• Workers that are self-employed or are on zero-hour contracts are referred to as ‘precarious workers’.
o Precarity is anxiety that lacks a definite object.
• Paolo Virno empirically observes these workers to contain the qualities of opportunism, fear and cynicism.
o These qualities alienate workers from their social ties as their morals are uprooted and knowledge is fixed to capital, creating ambivalence.
• Ivor Southwood’s first-hand account of this sector echoes Virno arguing that workers suffer from inertia as they can no longer separate work from their private life.
• The relationship is biopolitical as the relation between worker and employer is constituted by the originary bond of sovereignty to bare life.
• Over the course of the film, the bare life of the worker is demonstrated by the violence and exploitation exerted towards Abby and Ricky, for the goal of maximising their bodies potentiality to gain capital for their sovereign employer.

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

The Ethical Issues Surrounding the Charity Sector

Aim: To explore the ethical issues within the charity sector as my territory. I then explored the ethical questions of whether we should all give to charity, or whether it is our duty to. I then explored the way in which charities ask for our money and whether this is always ethically correct. And finally, I looked at the effects that the money raised makes in the charity sector and whether it is always distributed fairly.

My object is the charity campaign Kony 2012, the infamous campaign by the Invisible Children organisation.

Philosophical concepts: Peter Singer ‘s Practical Ethics and The Life You Can Save: How to Play your Part in Ending World Poverty.
Theodor Adorno’s concept of the Culture Industry in which he looks at the deception and manipulation of society through the arts.

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

The Hegemony of the Housed. A Foucauldian Reading of Homelessness in Modern Britain

Foucault’s focus on discourse notes language as establishing structures within society that exercise power.

Power/Knowledge reinforces social control and normalization of people – including the exclusion of those outside desired social norms – these are constructs of language and culture

Post-structuralist ideas reminiscent of the panopticon of Jeremy Bentham – in which all people/employees are observed at all times by those in control. This leads to the hegemony of the normalized people (in this context – the housed)

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophy Behind Recession: a Study of Contemporary Economics Through Philosophy

An investigation on how the US reached a destination of an estimated 200 trillion in debt. How is it that America can possibly be named the Land of the Free? In a country with a constitution claiming ‘all men are created equal’; why is it that 15% of the population live below the poverty line? Can the ‘poster boy’ of Capitalism be considered moral? The USA is an economic powerhouse with an annual GDP of 14.6 trillion dollars. However, 42% of $14.6 Trillion is controlled by just under 1% of the population.

I intend to investigate the evolution of the global capitalist economy and its current state of disarray. Marxist rhetoric will serve, amongst several thinkers such as Engels, Machiavelli, Ayn Rand, Sun Tzu and Emmanuel Levinas in investigating the evolution of the US Capitalist system.
Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, a damning indictment of corporate America, will be used as the cornerstone for my arguments against big business and the ever widening gulf between the rich and the poor.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Poverty: How to Solve It, Capitalism or Communism?

– Personal work on an issue that interests me
– An issue that relates to possible career path
– Increase understanding of poverty
– Look into solving poverty
– Seeing whether the systems we live by are moral
– Questioning the status quo of my society

– Economist Paul Collier, author of background book
– Marx, philosopher and sociologist, author of Communist manifesto

Capitalism is the answer to solving poverty, communism is not applicable, nor desired, it cannot come into being without capitalism. In order to alleviate world poverty, capitalist society must embrace the third world into our bosom, aid, investment, trade, military intervention and laws, will elevate the third world out of poverty.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

It’s Better if You Don’t Own Land

Aim: to determine if humanity has a right to own land

When progress is interpreted in respect to potential living standards, it is undeniable that examples such as the developments made in medicine are evidence of humanity’s progress.

BUT: 10% of the world (0.88 billion) live on an income of under $1 a day
20 years leading up to 1997 child poverty doubled worldwide.
Mortality rates: North America (7) VS Africa (88).

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Are British Children in Trouble? A study of the UNICEF survey 2007 – An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries

“A true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.” (UNICEF, 2007) • So why is Britain supposedly the worst place to bring up children? • Have things changed and worsened in the past hundred years, or is it just media hype? • What can be done to improve the upbringing of children? I focussed on children’s relationships, looking at how the family structure has changed, using Hegel as a historical comparison from the Enlightenment. I also looked at children’s subjective well-being, seeing how children in Britain view their health, school life and personal self worth. I then saw how consumerism and contemporary society affects the formation of a child’s identity. I used MacIntyre, Taylor and Giddens’ concept of narrative identity.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Third World Poverty: are we responsible? … Does anyone genuinely care?

Territory: Africa has always been a focal point when discussing Third World Poverty as this vast continent contains the 24 lowest ranking nations out of the world’s 175 poorest countries. In the Western World we are frequently reminded of the poverty and suffering taking place in Africa through images in the media and events such as ‘Make Poverty History’, ‘Live 8’, and the most recent G8 summit which took place in the UK in 2005. In my project I will be exploring Africa and how it has changed over the past one hundred and fifty years; from pre-colonial times to the ‘Scramble for Africa’, through its struggle to regain independence and up to the current time. In considering how Africa has changed, or has been changed, over the last two centuries, it will also be necessary to give an account of the factors acting upon it such as Europeans as the main founders of the African colonies and the British and American governments in their political policies towards African poverty. Aims: I will look at Africa in a historical and political context and it’s relationships with Europe and America in order to determine whether or not we, in the Western World, can be held responsible for the extensive poverty in our world’s second largest continent. In addition to this, I will be assessing to what extent people actually care about those suffering in the Third World or if their way of life is so removed from our own that we view the situation as more fiction than fact. Finally, I will try to establish if the Western World has a social and moral obligation to try and ameliorate the situation and by what means. Concepts and Philosophy: In order to answer the questions set out in my aims, I will be paying particular reference to Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics and John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. This will be in conjunction with the exploration of concepts such as; responsibility (individualistic and communitarian), moral obligation, justice and equality.