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Progressive Proselytizing: Dealing with Climate Change and Inequality

Two of the defining problems of our times are wealth inequality (both globally and within the first world) and climate change. With any socioeconomic order – our mixture of capitalism and government being just one – there are going to be consequences both good and bad. There are going to be challenges that the socioeconomic order is particularly good or bad at addressing. The point of this post is to expand on how these two defining problems – global warming and inequality – are products of our particular socioeconomic order, that they are two problems that our system is particularly (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Robots, migration and the future of work (Briarpatch Magazine)

I have a longer read in the newest issue of Briarpatch Magazine, which is dedicated to the world of work. If you don’t know Briarpatch, be sure to check out the other articles in this issue and consider subscribing; this is one of Canada’s oldest independent left publications and definitely worth supporting. My piece has the rather grand title “Robots, Migration and the Future of Work” but it’s really about trying to see how we are often pitted against one another and encouraged to see external threats, like machines and migrants, to our well-being rather than working together in (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Capitalism Off the Rails

Those at the very top of today’s neoliberal, free-market capitalist, global economy see the writing on the wall – capitalism has just about run its course.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea, isn’t it?  It sure is for me.  Imagine, the economic model around which our society has been structured is bogus.  It is the product of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geo-politics.  It worked for a couple of hundred years, perhaps right up until the early 70s, but it’s now dawning on us that it doesn’t work any more.  It’s lost its (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Cuban medics on the front lines of the Ebola fight: lack of decent public healthcare at root of the Ebola crisis

Top: Cuban medical team leaving for West AfricaBeneath: Arrival in Sierra Leone

The magnificent Cuban response to the Ebola crisis is in a class of its own. While Western nations pledge funds to fight the disease there is a reluctance to step up and send needed medical personnel. Cuba by contrast has gone into action on the front lines. It will send some 461 doctors and nurses to West Africa – the largest number of medical personnel from any nation. One hundred and sixty five Cuban medics are already in West Africa setting up operations.

The World Health Organization (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Deadly Politics of Ebola

The scene couldn't have been more ironic or more appalling. For even as the Ebola epidemic raged out of control, and Oxfam sent out a desperate call for more boots on the ground, in Africa. On Saturday Oxfam took the unusual step of calling for troops to be sent to west Africa, along with funding and medical staff, to prevent the Ebola outbreak becoming the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation”. It accused countries that did not commit military personnel of “costing lives".And leaders like Obama urged Americans not to surrender to fear and hysteria.There was Stephen (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: DWR Quote of the Day – On Parasites and Capitalism

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as ‘parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.

—Jason Read

Filed under: Politics Tagged: Capitalism, DWR Quote of the Day

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Academic Dumas-ery

Kane X. Faucher’s latest novel is a brilliant adaptation the classic Alexander Dumas tale of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve always loved the original, and Faucher’s book is a wonderful satire that cleaves to the original plot so … Continue reading →

Parchment in the Fire: Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone | Business | The Guardian

Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone | Business | The Guardian.

 

Austerity has been an utter and unmitigated disaster, which has become increasingly apparent as European Union economies once again face stagnation, if not a triple-dip recession. Photograph: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Will capitalists save us from global warming?

In her latest book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein argues that if we are to defeat climate change we must defeat capitalism. At this week’s UN climate summit in New York, a number of corporate leaders seemed determined to prove her wrong.

For example, a group of investment institutions that included pension funds and corporate asset managers promised to “

Cowichan Conversations: SUZUKI-It Makes No Sense To Elevate Economics Above The Biosphere

The Disaffected Lib: Naomi Klein’s Confession – Is It Yours, Too?

In the run-up to the release of her new book, “This Changes Everything,” Naomi Klein has come clean.  For far too long she was in what she describes as a “soft denial” about climate change.  Does this sound familiar?

“A great many of us engage in this kind of denial.  We look for a split second and then we look away.  Or maybe we really do look, but then we forget.  We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons.  We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Scottish Independence: The Empire Strikes Back

With one week to go in the Scottish referendum the YES side's surge to independence appears to have been at least temporarily halted, with a new poll suggesting the NO side is leading again. The YouGov survey for The Times and Sun newspapers put supporters of the union on 52 per cent, narrowly ahead of supporters of independence on 48 per cent, excluding those who said they did not know how they would vote.But with 97% of those eligible registered to vote, either side could still win.And the good news for the YES side is that most of (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: The Militarization of Police: But Why?

Since the beginning of the year, several stories in high-profile mainstream media publications have examined what some find to be the increasing militarization of police forces in North America. In March, The Economist wrote a feature on the phenomenon noting that the use of tactical units, which are often armed with military-style weaponry such as so-called […]

The Disaffected Lib: The Anchor Around Our Necks – Neoliberalism

Modern neoliberalism, of the Hayek and Friedman schools, has been defined as “capitalism with the gloves off.”  Today it’s a term associated with laissez-faire capitalism, deregulation and free trade.

Neoliberalism has made deep inroads into our federal body politic.  Stephen Harper is a disciple.  Our opposition leaders appear less neoliberal than their prime minister but it could be argued that is a matter of degree.

Few dare mention it but the spread of neoliberalism has ushered in the rise of corporatism at the direct expense of social democracy.  Nowhere is this more obvious than at our Head Office, (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Why I Stopped Calling Myself A Progressive

Progress can mean a lot of things. The achievement by marginalized people of social citizenship. Collective movement toward big goals that make life better on a societal scale. State intervention with the aim of lessening the burden caused by the market. Smoke from an oil field and tailing ponds as the economy chugs along. Progressivism is typically identified […]

Parchment in the Fire: Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it

Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it.

(ANSA) – Rome, July 31 – Unemployment among young Italians climbed last month to 43.7%, a level not seen in 37 years, according to statistics Thursday that presented further evidence of the continuing weakness in the country’s lackluster economy.

The jobless rate among Italians aged 15 to 24 rose from a revised 43.1% in May, said national statistical agency Istat, adding that June’s level of 43.7% was the highest since it began keeping quarterly jobs statistics in 1977.

“The economic situation is less than favourable,” said Economy (Read more…)

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

 

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-increasing-desperation-of-stephen.html

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: IV. Zone of Indeterminacy: Interdiction concerning the enclosure of the Social Commons

Here, I have taken up the enclosure of the Social Commons. And here, I have attempted to locate those shunted aside by the austerity agenda. In this post, I attempt to describe the zone of indeterminacy into which those cast aside by austerity have been and are to be consigned. The point, I submit, is that the […]

Joe Fantauzzi: IV. Zone of Indeterminacy: Interdiction concerning the enclosure of the Social Commons

Here, I have taken up the enclosure of the Social Commons. And here, I have attempted to locate those shunted aside by the austerity agenda. In this post, I attempt to describe the zone of indeterminacy into which those cast aside by austerity have been and are to be consigned. The point, I submit, is that the […]

Parchment in the Fire: It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part II

It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part II.

Thomas Fazi

In the first part of this article I looked at the mounting evidence against austerity by organisations as varied as Caritas, the ILO, the Council of Europe and the IMF. So why is the European establishment pushing for more of the same?

Social and economic misery and despair, growing inequality, dwindling public services, loss of hope and ballooning debts: this is austerity’s scorched-earth legacy. And yet, in a telling demonstration of the extent of their dangerous ideological fanaticism, Europe’s austerity zealots insist that Europe needs ‘more austerity’.

Take (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Can capitalists save capitalism?

Prominent Harvard economist Lawrence Katz illustrates the American economy with an amusing analogy. He depicts it as an apartment block in which the penthouses have increased in size, the middle apartments are increasingly squeezed and the basement is flooded. But what gets people down the most, he says, is that the elevator is broken.

Katz’s analogy applies particularly to the U.S., the most

Parchment in the Fire: Capital, Labour, and the Eurozone Crisis

Most of the coverage regarding the Eurozone crisis has understandably focused on the politics of austerity. Less attention, however, has been paid to the longer term trends in the industrial relations of those countries hardest hit by the crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain; the so-called PIIGS countries.

Recent data from the European Industrial Relations Observatory reveals some interesting trends in the relationship between capital and labour in the context of the Eurozone crisis. More specifically, it reveals a trend towards declining labour costs and rising labour productivity, meaning that the so-called ‘recovery’ is being constructed by squeezing workers, (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Open Letter To Council Requesting Affirmation Of Toronto As A Sanctuary City

Dear Deputy Mayor, Councillors and city staff. My name is Joe Fantauzzi. I’m a resident of Toronto and first generation Canadian. My family immigrated to this country from Italy in 1957, fleeing a region of that nation torn by the Second World War. My family was lucky. Low-skilled urban labour was in demand at the time […]

Joe Fantauzzi: Open Letter To Council Requesting Affirmation Of Toronto As A Sanctuary City

Dear Deputy Mayor, Councillors and city staff. My name is Joe Fantauzzi. I’m a resident of Toronto and first generation Canadian. My family immigrated to this country from Italy in 1957, fleeing a region of that nation torn by the Second World War. My family was lucky. Low-skilled urban labour was in demand at the time […]

Bill Longstaff: Mark Carney on capitalism eating its children

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, formerly Governor of the Bank of Canada, isn’t exactly your average leftie. Indeed, bank governors tend to turn up on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Nonetheless, Mr. Carney, at a speech last week to the Conference for Inclusive Capitalism, sounded a bit like the Occupy Movement.

Linking the 2008 financial crisis and the resulting