Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Reviewing Darrell West’s Billionaires, Michael Lewis discusses how extreme wealth doesn’t make anybody better off – including the people fighting for position at the top of the wealth spectrum:

A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below twenty-five grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses the close connection between the energy sector and inequality in Canada – with the obvious implication that policies dedicated to unduly favouring the former will inevitably produce the latter: 

(T)he real story from last week’s Stats Can report isn’t that Canada is turning the tide on inequality, but that the energy sector is a key driver of income inequality in Canada. Massive investment in the oil sands has benefited the wealthiest earners to the exclusion of most other Canadians, and those immense gains have simply been slightly reduced from their (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: 130 civil society organizations reject Canada-EU CETA trade deal

More than 130 civil society organizations on both sides of the Atlantic have reiterated their continuing rejection of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA.

The post 130 civil society organizations reject Canada-EU CETA trade deal appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Making Sense of the CETA

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Canada-EU trade deal favours large multinational corporations and burdens consumers, the environment, and the greater public interest.

The post Making Sense of the CETA appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Linda McQuaig discusses how a politically-oriented audit of the CCPA fits with the shock-and-awe part of the right’s war against independent (and public-minded) though:

In the conservative quest to shape public debate in recent years, no tool has proved more useful than the think tank. Nobody understood this better than the director of the ultra-right wing U.S.-based ATLAS Foundation, who once stated that his mission was “to litter the world with free-market think tanks.”

Mission accomplished. Certainly the Canadian landscape is cluttered with right-wing think tanks — the Fraser Institute, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Bill Maher offers some simple math and important observations about inequality:

- And Gary Engler proposes ten ways to build a better economic system.

- Vanessa Brcic points out that corporatized medicine is as unethical as it is inefficient. And Garry Patterson laments the premiers’ weak response to the Harper Cons’ attacks on health care.

- Dean Beeby reports that the CRA’s investigation of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is focused squarely on the question of whether the CCPA is adequately complying with the Cons’ definition of rightthink, while Dr. Dawg (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Piketty Forum in Vancouver

On June 25th, a standing-room only crowd of 150 people attended a public forum and discussion titled “Pikettymania, Inequality and You” on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Today, I’m happy to post in full the four talks that made up the first half of the event (the second half was all discussion). The total is about an hour in length with each speaker taking 15 minutes. Enjoy!


The speakers, in order of appearance:

  1. Iglika Ivanova is an economist and public interest researcher at the CCPA-BC. Her slides are available here and may (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CCPA Looks at BC Liberals Claims That Teachers Would Benefit With Better Economy

Save schoolsHere is Iglika Ivanova’s look at the BC Liberals economic rationale.

The disconnect between economic growth and teachers’ wages

We are being governed by an anti public education Premier  Christy Clark, who it seems has embraced her pique at being caught cheating in SFU Student elections.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Robert Kuttner discusses Karl Polanyi’s increasingly important critique of unregulated markets and corporatist states. Sarah Kendzior writes about the latest cycle of workers stuck in poverty who are striking back against a system designed to suppress their standard of living. And Michael Rozworski examines the effect of the Cons’ temporary foreign worker focus on Canadian workers:

(W)hile food attendants made up 9% of all TFW Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) issued in Canada in 2012, they comprised 17%, or almost double, of TFW LMOs in Alberta, the province that has the tightest labour market. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Angella MacEwen takes a look at the large numbers of unemployed and underemployed Canadians chasing a tiny number of available jobs. And Carol Goar calls out the Cons and the CFIB alike for preferring disposable foreign workers to Canadians who aren’t being offered a living wage:

If employers want to talk about the government’s abrupt about-face, that is legitimate. If they want an “adult conversation” about work and remuneration, they should be ready to answer some key questions:
  • Why should they be exempt from market discipline? The law of supply and demand provides (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Questioning legacies: Flaherty and the PQ

This week’s podcast takes on government economic policy.

First, Armine Yalnizyan looks back at the tenure of Jim Flaherty as federal Finance Minister; the interview is based on an article she recently published in the Globe and Mail. Armine is a senoir economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is also a founding member of the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab feature and the Progressive Economics Forum. You can find her on Twitter @ArmineYalnizyan.

I then talk to Eve-Lyne Couturier about the legacy of the last PQ government in Quebec and the economic debates going into the upcoming provincial election. Eve-Lyne is a (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Postal banking

Introducing the Political Eh-conomy Radio podcast, a new podcast on economic issues in Canada and beyond. The inaugural episode tackles postal banking: why cut valuable services and jobs at Canada Post when it is instead possible to create financial services run by the post office, at the same ensuring the Post’s future sustainability? Canada Post put it best in its secret report: postal banking is a “win-win” – unless of course your aim is to dismantle public services and set the stage for privatization.

Download: podcast-140228-postal-banking.mp3

Interviews include John Anderson, author of the CCPA report, Why Canada Needs (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Donovan Vincent reports on the Institute for Social Research’s study showing Canadians are highly concerned about income inequality:

“People think the income gap has gotten worse. What was surprising to me was the universality of this belief. Younger people, older, higher levels of education, lower, men and women. The fact is, a wide cross-section of Canadian society believes that the income gap has gotten bigger, or much bigger in the last five years,” survey author David Northrup said in an interview.

“Usually we see a lot more variation in opinion in social (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David MacDonald studies the effect of the Cons’ income-splitting scheme, and finds that it’s oriented purely toward funnelling money toward the top of the income scale:

“Income splitting creates a tax loophole big enough to drive a Rolls Royce through. It’s pitched as a program for the middle class but in reality it’s an expensive tax gift for the rich,” says Macdonald. “The upper third of Canada’s richest families would receive $3 of every $4 spent on income splitting.”

The study finds seven out of ten senior families get no benefit (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Costas Lapavitsas discusses the disproportionate hold finance has over the global economy:

Financialisation represents a historic and deep-seated transformation of mature capitalism. Big businesses have become “financialised” as they have ample profits to finance investment, rely less on banks for loans and play financial games with available funds. Big banks, in turn, have become more distant from big businesses, turning to profits from trading in open financial markets and from lending to households. Households have become “financialised” too, as public provision in housing, education, health, pensions and other vital areas has been (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: Ontario’s austerity policies self-defeating — Hennessy

There are many ways to tell a story. For Trish Hennessy, Ontario director at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one way is to look at the most searched word annually for the on-line Mirriam-Webster dictionary. Speaking last night at the … Continue reading

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Polly Toynbee discusses how the UK’s attacks on social programs are based on gross ignorance about what social spending does (and who it helps):

The Citizens Advice Bureau reports a rise of 78% in the last six months in people needing food banks to keep going. Many have jobs, but their pay doesn’t see them to the end of the week. The CAB chief executive says millions of families face a “perfect storm” with benefit cuts, low wages, short hours and the high cost of living. Even in apparently well-to-do areas, community halls (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the CCPA’s recent report (PDF) on child poverty in Canada – and the affordable options which could eradicate that poverty based on a few simple choices.

For further reading…
- Campaign 2000′s report card showed where Canada stood in 2009 when it came to its commitment to ending child poverty.
- Sources as to the revenue implications of policy choices include Mike de Souza’s report on existing oil and gas subsidies, the PBO’s estimate on the GST (PDF), and Kevin Milligan’s calculation as to the long-term costs of TFSAs.
- And for reporting on the CCPA’s study, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Helene Leblanc argues that we should make sure the Internet is treated as a commons accessible to all, rather than a privilege denied to many (particularly in rural areas):

Many Canadians living outside urban centres do not have access to high speed broadband Internet and a significant number connect at speeds of 1.5 megabits per second — only marginally faster than dial-up.

In the year 2000 Estonia declared Internet access a fundamental human right, something essential for life in the 21st century, and launched a program to expand rural access. Finland (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- George Monbiot discusses the fallout from decades of corporate-controlled governments abdicating their responsibility to consider the public interest:

In other ages, states sought to seize as much power as they could. Today, the self-hating state renounces its powers. Governments anathematise governance. They declare their role redundant and illegitimate. They launch furious assaults on their own branches, seeking wherever possible to lop them off.

This self-mutilation is a response to the fact that power has shifted. States now operate at the behest of others. Deregulation, privatisation, the shrinking of the scope, scale and spending (Read more…) the state: these are now seen as the only legitimate policies. The corporations and billionaires to whom governments defer will have it no other way.

Just as taxation tends to redistribute wealth, regulation tends to redistribute power. A democratic state controls and contains powerful interests on behalf of the powerless.

This is an example of what happens in a market-based system: any clash between generating profit and protecting the natural world is resolved in favour of business, often with the help of junk science. Only those components of the ecosystem that can be commodified and sold are defended. Nature is worthy of protection when it is profitable to business. The moment it ceases to be so, it loses its social value and can be trashed. As prices fluctuate or crash, so do the fortunes of the ecosystems they are supposed to protect. As financial markets move in, with the help of the environmental bonds and securitisations the taskforce champions, the defence of nature becomes ever more volatile and uncertain. The living planet is reduced to a subsidiary of the human economy.

When governments pretend they no longer need to govern, when they pretend that a world regulated by bankers, corporations and the profit motive is a better world than one regulated by voters and their representatives, nothing is safe. All systems of government are flawed. But few are as flawed as those controlled by private money.

- And Jonathan Bernstein rightly describes Republicans in particular as having left the very idea of public policy in the rear-view mirror.

- Mike de Souza reports on the attempts of the Harper Cons and the Redford PCs to claim that air and water pollution from the tar sands doesn’t count because they’d rather people not think about it. And Frances Russell writes that Canadians are once again being left out of any say and any consideration in decisions about our publicly-owned resources.

- Pat Atkinson reviews the dangers of unduly relying on temporary foreign workers:

The temporary foreign worker program is supposed to allow employers to hire foreign workers only when Canadians or permanent residents aren’t available to fill the job. In most cases employers can access the program only after they have obtained a Labour Market Opinion confirming the unavailability of Canadians to fill the vacant positions.

Currently the use of temporary foreign workers in some parts of Canada has nothing to do with a shortage of skilled workers, and everything to do with maximizing profits. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government changed the rules a year ago, allowing employers to bring in overseas workers at wages that can be as much as 15 per cent below the average regional rate for a particular occupation.

(W)hat about those who are looking for work, such as unemployed Canadian miners who are being replaced by temporary workers from China? What about those information technology employees at RBC who are being replaced by temporary foreign workers?
Why did Finley’s ministry give approval in the first place to HD Mining bringing in 200 workers from China, and to the outsourcer retained by RBC to bring in workers to replace 45 bank employees?

Outsourcing is about replacing middle-income domestic employees with lower wage workers abroad. Importing temporary workers to many sectors of the economy with a 15 per cent wage differential is about lowering wages and not having to pay benefits to Canadians.

We as Canadians need to think about how this will affect our young people and their future. If we are all a bunch of low wage earners, who will pay for important public services such as health care or education? As for the banks, who will be able to qualify for one of their mortgages?

- Finally, Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the CCPA’s appalling finding that we’re 228 years away from achieving gender equality in Canada.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Fossil fuel divestment necessary to avoid “carbon bubble”, says study

By: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Press Release: OTTAWA – Canada’s economy is experiencing a “carbon bubble” that could have significant consequences for Canada’s financial markets and pension funds, according to a new study released March 26 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Between two-thirds and four-fifths of known [...]

The post href="">Fossil fuel divestment necessary to avoid “carbon bubble”, says study appeared first on href="">The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

OPSEU Diablogue: $12.4 billion in tax revenue lost due to recession, not overspending — CCPA

Officially Ontario ended its recession in 2009, but the effects still linger in 2013. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates the “great recession” of 2008-09 and the slow recovery has taken the Ontario economy $70 billion off course. That … Continue reading

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has unveiled its alternative federal budget – which highlights the choice between the Cons’ needless austerity, and the 200,000-300,000 extra jobs which could be created alongside important social improvements which could be brought about through well-placed public action.

- Meanwhile, Murray Dobbin worries that the use of interest rates alone as an economic growth strategy is feeding an unsustainable housing bubble – offering anpther indication as to why we should work on expanding socially productive activities rather than hoping that unfettered (and indeed exacerbated) market forces Continue reading

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Michael Moss writes about the amount of time and money spent by corporate conglomerates to push consumers toward eating unhealthy food:

The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on Continue reading

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Zoe Williams questions when being poor became grounds for deliberate discrimination and ritual public humiliation (h/t to Mound of Sound):

What I cannot help noticing is a failure of normal human respect for the people at the bottom of the heap – Tuesday’s ruling in favour of Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson has had its bones picked over for what it does or doesn’t say about slavery, and yet the judges were clear: these people were treated dishonestly. They were treated as though, being unemployed, they could be parcelled about at the Continue reading