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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Martha Friendly highlights how families at all income levels can benefit from a strong child care system: Isn’t it the Canadian way to include people from diverse groups and social classes in community institutions like public schools, community recreation facilities, public colleges and universities so all can learn to live, play and work together? Indeed, research shows that early childhood is the ideal time for beginning to learn to respect differences and diversity by engaging with and getting to know children and adults of all varieties.

Childcare as an inclusive community institution (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Duncan Cameron discusses how Canada can respond to being stalled economically: In 2011 median earnings in Canada were $30,000. That means one-half of Canadian workers earned less than $30,000. What is more to the point is that earnings in 2011 were $1,800 below the level attained in 1977 (inflation adjusted 2011 dollars)! The pay packet for workers shrunk over that 24 year period.

It’s a big stall — an awful lot of Canadians are not getting ahead.…What has escaped economic stagnation, and gone up in value is what Thomas Piketty called patrimonial (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- James Meek observes that decades of privatization in the UK have eliminated public control over housing and other essential services – and that privatization takes far more forms than we’re accustomed to taking into consideration. And Rick Salutin offers his take on the latter point: Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s new book, The Entrepreneurial State, takes a bold step in “debunking” this fake construct. (Steve Paikin interviewed her on TVO this week.) She doesn’t just argue that public spending (on defence) was crucial in basic advances like computers and the Internet. That’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On healthy proposals

Paul Wells seems quite disappointed not to have received more attention for his recent piece on Thomas Mulcair’s speech to the Canadian Medical Association. So let’s take a closer look at why the angle Wells took didn’t seem like much of a revelation – and what might be more significant in Mulcair’s plans.

At the outset, I don’t see much basis for surprise that after consistently and rightly criticizing the Cons for their health-care funding choices, Mulcair would follow up by saying he’d act differently if he had the power to do so. Which means that the headline promise highlighted (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Olga Khazan writes about the connection between lower incomes and obesity in the U.S. And Truthout discusses how poverty and other stressors can directly affect individual and communal genetics for generations: (A) study by researchers at University College London’s Institute of Child Health found that, thanks to epigenetics, children whose parents and grandparents were born into poverty can, themselves, carry the scars of that past poverty with them for the rest of their lives. That’s because children born to families who’ve lived generations in poverty inherit genes configured to help them (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Steven Hoffman and Julia Belluz write that the current ebola outbreak – like many health catastrophes in the developing world – is traceable largely to the warped incentives facing medical researchers: (W)e’ve learned a lot about Ebola: that it’s spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, that we can stop it by using simple precautionary measures and basic hygiene practices. But every once in a while, these nightmarish outbreaks pop up and capture the international imagination. Worries about global spread are worsened by the fact that Ebola has (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Danyaal Raza and Edward Xie write that a well-designed city environment can make all the difference in enabling individuals to live healthy lives: What if city council took our health into account when designing neighbourhoods? An idea gaining favour in major cities around the world is “complete streets,” a city-planning concept that promotes development of streets usable by all citizens, whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, drivers or transit users. As things stand now, getting to schools, parks and stores without a car is only a dream for residents without the lush tree cover, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ralph Surette highlights the dangers of a pollution-based economy which fails to account for the damage we’re doing to our planet and its ability to provide food for people: This is something to behold. A more-or-less hurricane in early July. Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

This is climate change, and it’s getting worse. And whereas the news of the day is about people with the power out, the long-term story is about the hit to agriculture, now and in future, here and worldwide — keeping in mind that farming is more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Stephen Hwang and Kwame McKenzie discuss the connection between affordable housing and public health and wellness: In 2009, researchers followed 1,200 people in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. It was found that they experience a high burden of serious health problems like asthma, high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They are also at high risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, and of going hungry.

There’s more. We know that housing in disrepair can lead to accidents, fires and infestations. That overcrowding can lead (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Atkins highlights Gallup’s latest polling showing that U.S. trust in public institutions continues to erode. And Paul Krugman notes that there’s reason for skepticism about the snake oil being peddled as economic policy in order to further enrich the already-wealthy: Why, after all, should anyone believe at this late date in supply-side economics, which claims that tax cuts boost the economy so much that they largely if not entirely pay for themselves? The doctrine crashed and burned two decades ago, when just about everyone on the right — after claiming, speciously, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work – along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition: In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Armitage discusses how the privatization of public services in the UK is being mashed up with the principles behind subprime lending and debt bundling – leading to a bubble which promises to take down investors and the public alike.

- Dylan Matthews offers what would seem to be a natural conclusion about the simplest, most effective answer to poverty: As solutions to global poverty go, “just give poor people money” is pretty rock solid. A recent randomized trial found that Kenyans who received no-strings attached cash from the charity GiveDirectly built more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Joshua Holland writes that for all the social and cultural factors contribution to U.S. sickness and death, inequality ranks at the top of the list: Here in the United States, our high level of income inequality corresponds with 883, 914 unnecessary deaths each year. More specifically, the report concluded that if we had an income distribution more like that of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland — or eleven other wealthy countries — every year, about one in three deaths in the US could be avoided.

Put that into perspective. According to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Livio Di Matteo discusses the wasted opportunity to improve Canada’s health care system through concerted national investments. And Ryan Meili asks who will provide future direction now that the Cons have scrapped the Health Council of Canada: Now we see the federal government making a bad situation worse by walking away from the process of rebuilding a national health system entirely instead of negotiating a more robust agreement with targets and timelines for innovation and cost-savings.

The elimination of the Health Council only further underlines this movement away from national planning for (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eduardo Porter writes about the rise of inequality in the U.S., while Tracy McVeigh reports on the eleven-figure annual cost of inequality in the UK. And Shamus Khan discusses the connection between inequality and poverty – as well as the policy which can do the most to address both: While a tiny fraction of Americans enjoy almost all the spoils of our national growth, the majority of Americans have a radically different experience. About 40 percent of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and many (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ian Welsh discusses the connection between one’s view of human nature and one’s preferred social and economic policies – while noting that policies themselves serve to shape behaviour: The fact is this: incentives work.

The second fact is this: using strong incentives is usually idiocy, because they do work.

What happens with incentives is that people’s behaviour is warped by them.  A normal doctor who does not get paid more per test he orders, orders less tests.  A doctor who owns the facility which does the testing, does more tests.  (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Nick Kristof writes that the growing gap in income reflects a similarly growing gap in social perception – and that there’s plenty of need to reduce both: There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach. … There may be neurological biases at work. A professor at Princeton found that our brains sometimes process images of people who are poor or homeless as if they were (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bill Kerry writes that extreme inequality serves to reinforce itself – and points out what needs to be done to counter the temptation to kick others down: One of the major difficulties in tackling inequality is the way it coerces many people into accepting and even promoting it. In a steep social hierarchy people will often choose to shore up their own precarious social position by kicking down on poorer, weaker folk rather than challenging the richer more powerful folk above them.…So what do we do about it?  Well, it’s quite straightforward if not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- John Cassidy makes the case to call the U.S.’ war on poverty a success – pointing out that there has been a meaningful reduction in poverty over the past 50 years connected almost entirely to government programs. But lest that be taken as an indication that there’s no need to do more, Jared Bernstein points out that if economic growth had been distributed as it was in the postwar boom, poverty would have been eradicated by the mid-1980s – rather than persisting among tens of millions of Americans today as inequality (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ryan Meili highlights the need for a plan to address poverty – rather than the customary bromides about a rising tide lifting all boats: Elimination of poverty requires more than a growing economy; it requires a dedicated plan. When more jobs are available, some people’s living conditions improve quickly. However, the accompanied increase in cost of living can send some families into deeper poverty than before, a rising tide that swamps the smaller craft. And that continued and deepening poverty costs us all dearly.

As most provinces have realized (all but BC and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Polly Toynbee discusses how the public shares in the responsibility for a political class oriented toward easily-discarded talking points rather than honest discussion: Intense mistrust of parties is growing dangerously with each generation: with fewer than 1% of the population members of a political party, people understand less about the necessary compromises. Our poll’s “angry” voters say they want politicians to say what they believe, not mouth the party line-to-take. Too many MPs are pitifully thin on vocabulary and imagery, short on wit, warmth, passion or imagination. Some exceptions – the TUC’s Frances (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Scott Doherty recognizes that Saskatchewan’s failure to collect a reasonable royalty rate for potash and other natural resources is directly responsible for the province crying poor when workers are laid off. And Alex Himelfarb points out that the magical theory behind perpetual tax cuts is purely a matter of illusion rather than reality. We are more than just consumers and taxpayers. We are citizens with responsibilities for one another; we undertake to do some things together, things that we could never do alone or that we can do much better collectively. Taxes are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Economist takes a look at the effect of international trade agreements – and confirms the long-held concern that the erosion and non-enforcement of labour standards consistently follows the signing of government suicide pacts: Some results are rather unsurprising. Countries with better civil liberties tend to have higher labour standards. Countries in the OECD, which are richer, do better than those outside (only one OECD member, Turkey, has a score less than 15). But other results in the paper are alarming. During the 1980s and 1990s, the labour-rights index fell precipitously (see (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Brendan Haley discusses how the role of government should include both a concerted effort to innovate, and a proper share of the benefits when that innovation proves successful: To reinforce her argument, Mazzucato provides detailed histories of some of our most important innovations. She finds that throughout modern history, government has been integrally involved in directing the economy, undertaking basic research, and nurturing new technologies into the market when the private sector found it too risky to touch them. Only after governments have subsumed much of the risk do private entrepreneurs do their (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom notes that the CETA isn’t particularly about trade, but instead serves to enshrine yet again the principle that investors come before citizens.

- Lana Payne highlights the contradiction between the promise that giveaways to the corporate sector will lead to good jobs, and the reality that employers are looking more and more toward exploitative structures such as unpaid internships and temporary foreign workers.

- Meanwhile, Konrad Yakabuski sees the Cons’ set of minor consumer baubles as a poor substitute for economic development which would actually help working Canadians.

- Finally, (Read more…)