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The Disaffected Lib: Where Is the Exit Door?

How long will Canada remain under the boot of market fundamentalism? This is the laissez faire face of modern neoliberalism that has taken hold throughout the developed world, Canada included.

It manifests itself most directly in free trade agreements and associated institutions such as the IMF, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank. Rarely seen is its presence in parallel or “deep government.”

Neoliberalism is an ideology and, like most ideologies, it’s anchored in both fact and plenty of belief. It’s sort of faith-based. Its disciples believe neoliberalism is itself an ethic, in fact the best and preferred (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Michal Rozworski calls for the election to include far more discussion as to who benefits from our economy as it’s designed, and who gets left behind. Michael Wilson examines how Canada’s economy has become far less equal over the past few decades. And Michelle Zilio talks to Munir Sheikh about the “made in Canada recession” under the Harper Cons, as a rare divergence between Canada and the rest of the world is seeing us headed in the wrong direction even as the U.S. and other developed countries do relatively well.

- Joanna (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Robert Reich discusses the unfairness of requiring workers to take all the risk of precarious jobs while sharing few of the rewards: On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightening speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.…Courts are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Howard Elliott writes about the need for senior levels of government to help address the housing needs facing Canadian communities. And the report from Saskatchewan’s advisory group on poverty reduction includes housing among its key priorities as well (while also favouring work on a basic income).

- Meanwhile, Armine Yalnizyan reminds us that the Cons’ destruction of the census is making it far more difficult to identify and address social problems.

- Justin Ling documents the latest example of Stephen Harper’s utter contempt for the concept of accountability, as national media outlets (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman theorizes that our recent pattern of economic instability can be traced to a glut of accumulated wealth chasing too few viable investments: On the surface, we seem to have had a remarkable run of bad luck. First there was the housing bust, and the banking crisis it triggered. Then, just as the worst seemed to be over, Europe went into debt crisis and double-dip recession. Europe eventually achieved a precarious stability and began growing again — but now we’re seeing big problems in China and other emerging markets, which were previously (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laurie Penny argues that Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable run to lead the Labour Party represents an important challenge to the theory that left-wing parties should avoid talking about principles in the name of winning power – particularly since the result hasn’t been much success on either front. – Trevor Pott discusses Canada’s popular backlash against an unaccountable and security state, particularly when it’s deployed primarily to silence dissenting political views.

- Bruce Johnstone writes that contempt for the law is par for the course from the Harper Cons. And Bruce Livesey reports on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Martha Friendly examines what a “national child care program” actually means. And Jim Stanford makes a compelling economic case as to why Canada needs one: In the case of early childhood education, however, this standard claim of government “poverty” is exactly backwards.  Because there is overwhelming and credible economic evidence that investing in universal ECE programs is actually a money-maker for governments.  In this case, the argument is truly not whether government can afford to provide universal quality care.  In reality, especially at a moment in history when economists worry (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Grifts within grifts

Shorter Saskatchewan Party Ministry of P3 Giveaways: There’s always a risk that the corporate giants we’re paying to take over government operations might be more interested in making money than the public interest. We’re pretty sure the only answer is to pay off more corporate giants.

Accidental Deliberations: On institutional improvements

Shorter Carol Goar: When it comes to Canada Post, the only options are cuts, sell-offs or more cuts. Because who could possibly want better service which also increases public revenue?

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alan Freeman discusses the need for an adult conversation about taxes to replace the Cons’ oft-repeated policy of ignorance: Focusing on low taxes is great politics. It’s also a really dumb way to run the economy of an advanced industrialized country. Getting taxes right is a complex balance. Raise them too high — particularly taxes on income — and you risk creating disincentives for productive work, which can make your economy uncompetitive. Set them too low and you threaten the social programs and public goods that are fundamental to our values as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Peter Schroeder reports on a galling lobbying effort to keep the U.S.’ government paying free money to banks. And Jeremy Smith discusses how corporate groups have pushed to treat any form of public-interest regulation or fair taxation as an imposition on financial-sector profiteering: Mr Das outflanks even Ms Reinhart in the scope of what he includes (as it appears) within the scope of “financial repression”.  It also covers – according to his article – higher taxes, co-paying for government services, cuts in benefits, raising pensionable retirement dates, currency devaluations, as well as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Greg Keenan exposes how corporations are demanding perpetually more from municipalities while refusing to contribute their fair share of taxes to fund the services needed by any community. And Sean McElwee points out how big-money donations are translating into a warped U.S. political system: Available data reveals that donors not only have disproportionate influence over politics, but that influence is wielded largely to keep issues that would benefit the working and middle classes off of the table.

Do donors really rule the world? Recent research suggests that indeed they do. Three (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Murray Dobbin writes that Canadians should indeed see the federal election as a choice between security and risk – with the Cons’ failing economic policies representing a risk we can’t afford to keep taking: (N)ot only is Harper vulnerable on his own limited anti-terror grounds, he is extremely vulnerable when it comes to the kind of security that actually affects millions of Canadians. When it comes to economic and social security, the vast majority of Canadians haven’t been this insecure since the Great Depression.

It’s not as if we don’t know the numbers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Christopher Majka reviews Henry Mintzberg’s Rebalancing Society as a noteworthy discussion of the need for balance between the public, private and “plural” sectors. And David Madland is pleased to see the U.S.’ Democrats finally fighting back against the view that the corporate sector is the only one worth favouring through government.

- But there’s far more to be done in putting the public back in public policy – particularly when, as Bill Tieleman points out, we’re being asked to accept more and more strict “trade” agreements designed to ensure (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On governing alternatives

As David Climenhaga points out, Brad Wall has positioned himself as the heir to Stephen Harper’s throne as the voice of the anti-democratic corporate elite. But let’s note that Wall and his mindset aren’t without some jarring approval within the media.

For example, I’ve already highlighted John Ibbitson’s argument that the federal NDP should be concealing the fact that it’s talking to people who can help with preparations in the event that voters choose to elect it. (As an aside, that theory is as politically inexplicable for a party focused on being “ready” for government as it is offensive (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Barbara Tasch writes about the IMF’s latest research on growing inequality in developing and developed countries alike. And Michael Krassa and Benjamin Radcliff study the impact an improved minimum wage can have on economic well-being: Simply stated, as the minimum wage increases, the economic wellbeing of the national population rises. Statistically speaking this relationship is a strong one, significant at the .001 level.… Here’s the bottom line: Regardless of the size of a country’s economy, its current economic situation, or the time frame chosen, people lead better lives as the minimum wage increases.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Friday reading.

- Matthew Melmed examines how poverty early in life is both disturbingly widespread, and likely to severely affect a child’s future prospects.

- Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis track the extreme gap in wage growth for CEOs as opposed to workers. Robert Skidelsky argues that we can’t rely on employment relationships to fully address poverty and inequality given the number of current jobs that will be mechanized out of existence before long. But on the bright side, Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on Unifor’s success in achieving significant improvements in wages and schedule predictability for retail (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- tcnorris highlights how the Cons’ gratuitous cuts are undermining their hopes of staying in power. And Eric Pineault discusses the costs of austerity for Quebec in particular and Canada as a whole: (C)utting into spending slows down growth and keeps the economy in a stagnation trap. The resulting underemployment equilibrium puts a lot pressure on household revenues just as those same households are getting into debt. We are thus faced with a second paradox: in a stagnating economy, trying to use austerity to reduce public debt also translates into an increased burden of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Adrian Morrow reports on Al Gore’s explanation as to how the fight against climate change can be economically as well as environmentally beneficial, while CTV points out a new Nanos poll showing that Canadians largely agree with the view that cleaner technology can and should replace dirty fossil fuels. And Gary Mason argues that a summer of drought and wildfires should lead us to pay particularly close attention to climate change in this fall’s election.

- But as per usual, the people making obscene amounts of money from environmental degradation aren’t going (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Aditya Chakrabortty exposes the massive amounts of money gifted from the UK’s public purse to its corporate elite. And Paul Weinberg writes that the Cons are only exacerbating Canada’s practice of encouraging revenue leakage into tax havens: The United States, European Union and several other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations are grappling with the contagion of tax avoidance by global companies, with its potential to hurt government finances. But, as Deneault discovered in researching his book, Canada is marching to a different beat.

“Officially, Canada shows solidarity with other western countries (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Lemieux and W. Craig Riddell examine Canada’s income distribution and find that one’s place in the 1% is based primarily on rent-seeking rather than merit: (I)n Canada, as in the United States, executives and others working in the financial and business services sectors have been driving the growth in top incomes. Unlike in the United States, however, the oil and gas sector has also played an important role in income growth at the top, especially in more recent years, and holders of medical degrees have lost ground. Their results for engineers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan writes that reliance on temporary and disposable labour is utterly incompatible with long-term economic development. And Joey Hartman and Adrienne Montani comment on Vancouver’s efforts to support a living wage rather than grinding down employment standards.

- Andy Skuce points out that our already-worrisome best estimates as to the effects of climate change may underestimate the damage done as land-based carbon sinks turn into carbon producers. And Charles Mandel reports that this summer’s spate of wildfires across Western Canada may become the new normal as droughts become more common.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes about the need to shape a more moral, less exploitative economy. So needless to say, the Cons are instead working on promoting corruption.

- Mark Weisbrot discusses how the Troika’s attempt to impose continued austerity on Greece in the face of public resistance can’t be seen as much more than an attempt at coercive regime change. And John Nichols reports on just a few of the voices rightly lauding the refusal of Greece’s electorate to go along with that plan.

- Scott Eric Kaufman talks to Erik Loomis about (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Dayen explains how fiscal policy intended to ensure growth for everybody is instead sending all of its benefits to the top end of the income scale – and thus failing to ensure any growth at all: (L)et’s examine how central banks try to revive economies. They mainly try to lower interest rates in a variety of ways. This entices consumers to borrow cheaply, spurring more economic activity. Plus, consumers can refinance into lower interest rates on their current loans, saving them money that they could choose to spend. Without high returns from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Marans reports on Bernie Sanders’ push for international action against austerity in Greece and elsewhere. And Binoy Kampmark documents the anti-democratic and antisocial ideology on the other side of the austerity debate.

- Noah Smith writes that while there’s no discernible connection between massive pay for CEOs and actual corporate performance, there’s a strong link between who an executive knows and how much the executive can extract.

- The CP reports on UNESCO’s push to study the impact of the tar sands on Wood Buffalo National Park. And Tavia Grant breaks (Read more…)