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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Schwartz and Kevin Young make the case for a greater focus on influencing corporations and other institutions first and foremost – with the expectation that more fair public policy will be possible if a dominant business sector doesn’t stand in the way. David Wessel points out that many states’ tax systems are set up to exacerbate inequality. And Matthew Yglesias notes that a typical set of slap-on-the-wrist fines against banks for massive market manipulations call into question whether the U.S.’ current regulatory structure is anywhere close to sufficient to protect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Heather Stewart writes about the OECD’s study showing the connection between increasingly precarious work and worsening inequality. 

- Tara Deschamps reports on a few of the challenges facing poor Torontonians, while Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Laurie Monsebraaten cover the United Way’s report card showing that most workers are now stuck in precarious work. And Star offers a few policy suggestions to improve that situation, while Ella Bedard points out how Andrew Cash is pushing for solutions at the federal level.

- Edward Keenan writes that it’s long past time to stop relying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Toby Sanger takes a look at Canada’s balance sheets and finds that both households and governments are piling up debt while the corporate sector hoards cash: (A)ll the recent handwringing over rising household and debt levels ignores one critical point: any one person’s financial liability is someone else’s financial asset. Across all the sectors in the economy (households, corporations, governments and non-residents) in the national balance sheet, net borrowing and lending all balance out to zero.

The rising income share of the top one percent has been startling (and also echoed in increasing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Frances Woolley reminds us of some of the hidden advantages of the rich, and suggests that they point toward the fairness of taxing wealth in addition to consumption: The greatest freedom money offers is the freedom to walk away. Your bank doesn’t offer you unlimited everything with no monthly fees? Walk away. There’s always someone else who wants your money. Your phone plan is too expensive? Walk away (o.k., that may not be the best example).

People with money have alternatives, which makes their demand for goods and services elastic. Food (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz laments the corporate takeover of policy-making processes, including by imposing trade rules which impede democratic decision-making: The real intent of [investor protection] provisions is to impede health, environmental, safety, and, yes, even financial regulations meant to protect America’s own economy and citizens. Companies can sue governments for full compensation for any reduction in their future expected profits resulting from regulatory changes.  This is not just a theoretical possibility. Philip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia for requiring warning labels on cigarettes. Admittedly, both countries went a little further than (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall looks to face plenty of new political challenges now that he can’t rely on an Alberta PC dynasty to do much of his dirty work for him.

For further reading…- I briefly addressed the same issue with a particular focus on privatized MRIs in this post. – Wall’s history of relying on Alberta donors (with PC help) is discussed here, here and here among other places. – Finally, Dave Cournoyer wonders what will become of the Alberta PCs’ remaining patronage appointments. And David Climenhaga discusses the limited future of the PCAA – (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Will McMartin highlights the fact that constant corporate tax slashing has done nothing other than hand ever-larger piles of money to businesses who have no idea what to do with it. But Josh Wingrove reports that Justin Trudeau is looking for excuses to keep up the handouts to the corporate sector.

- Joseph Stiglitz offers (PDF) a thorough review of our options in lessening corporate hegemony, while Elizabeth Warren and Rosa Delauro ask why citizens should accept trade agreements being written in secret by and for the corporate sector. And David Dayen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: The oppressive market

Shorter Cons: Talking about not buying goods is officially a punishable offence.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Vancouver Sun interviews Andrew MacLeod about his new book on inequality in British Columbia. And Tanara Yelland talks to Guy Standing about the need for governments responsive to the needs of the precariat: One central demand Standing makes is for the establishment of a universal basic income. Having the Canadian government provide all citizens (or all residents regardless of citizenship status, if you want to get really radical) would allow people to live without fear of things like starvation and homelessness, and would actually, according to research done on the subject, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness crunches the numbers and finds that Canada is losing out on nearly $200 billion in assets being sheltered in tax havens. And David Kotz writes about the need for large-scale restructuring to address the glaring flaws in neoliberal dogma: Despite the resurgence of neoliberal ideas and policies, there is reason to be optimistic about the potential for progressive change in the years ahead. The efforts to revive and extend the neoliberal model cannot succeed in overcoming the current economic stagnation and restoring normal capitalist economic growth without which (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Hegemony or bust

Earlier this week, I mused thusly: And I’m particularly curious as to whether the PCAA will bet heavily on a high-variance strategy, preferring to exhaust every hope of maintaining hegemony over Alberta politics rather than making any substantial effort to rebuild from the opposition benches.

Suffice it to say that we have our answer, in the form of the declaration “keep us in power or the children’s hospital gets it!” – which might marginally increase the possibility of scaring voters into the PC camp compared to a less hostage-based message, while carrying a far stronger chance of highlighting (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Robert Reich offers a long-form look at the relationship between inequality and policies designed to extract riches for the wealthy at everybody else’s expense: The underlying problem, then, is not that most Americans are “worth” less in the market than they had been, or that they have been living beyond their means. Nor is it that they lack enough education to be sufficiently productive. The more basic problem is that the market itself has become tilted ever more in the direction of moneyed interests that have exerted disproportionate influence over it, while (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Ladner discusses why our tax and fiscal policies should be designed to reduce inequality – rather than exacerbating it as the Cons are determined to do: Right now, the richest 20% of Canadian families hold almost 70% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 20% are in a debt position. A CCPA study found that Canada’s wealthiest 86 people have the same net worth as the poorest 34%. Those of us with capital are adding these new breaks to existing tax breaks for capital gains, taxed at about half the rate of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan discusses the utter failure of past trade agreements to live up to their promises, making it all the more unclear why we should be prepared to accept a new wave of even more inflexible restrictions against democratic decision-making. The trade and investment liberalization regime led to rapid and relentless restructuring of North American corporate ownership by opening the door to the two largest merger waves in Canadian history. On the world stage, these merger waves led to higher levels of Canadian corporate ownership abroad. Domestically, heightened amalgamation activity created larger Canadian-based (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jay Baron Nicorvo discusses how the myth of U.S. meritocracy serves largely as a means of funneling profits toward the 1%. And Mary Hansen points out one way of fighting back against evolving forms of corporate power – being the development of new, cooperative alternatives to businesses designed to exploit workers.

- David Korten highlights a few of the most obvious dangers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as just the latest and most draconian agreement intended to lock anti-democratic principles in as a restriction on government decision-making. And ICIJ and the Huffington Post (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Henry Mintzberg rightly challenges the myth of a “level playing field” when it comes to our economic opportunities: Let’s level with each other. What we call a “level playing field” for economic development is played with Western rules on Southern turf, so that the New York Giants can take on some high school team from Timbuktu. The International Monetary Fund prepares the terrain and the World Trade Organization referees the game. Guess who wins.

The rules of this game have been written by people educated in the economic canon of the already (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On foundational assumptions

Shorter John Geddes: Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. And so the miserable results of Stephen Harper’s consistent privatization, free trade obsession and corporate tax slashing don’t count as a conservative record.

Accidental Deliberations: The definition of privilege

Connor Kilpatrick is right to observe that while we should be willing to take note of privilege in many forms, we should be especially concerned with organizing to counter the grossly outsized influence of the very few at the top whose whims are typically allowed to override the common good.

But there’s a handy dividing line available to assess the difference. After all, there’s already been plenty of work done in sorting out who has the most influence on the U.S. political system.

On the best evidence available, any privilege associated with middle-class status or involvement in mass movement (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, discussing James Coleman’s research paper on the different messages corporations send to regulators as opposed to shareholders when it comes to proposed regulatory policies – and how it signals the need to be extremely skeptical when the business lobby complains that a policy will affect jobs or economic development.

For further reading…- Isolda Agazzi discusses how the CETA is designed to force governments to take corporate spin at face value. – Matthew Yglesias points out how Jeb Bush figures to continue his brother’s habit of handing Wall Street everything it could possibly ask for.- And Robert (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Noah Smith writes that the renewable energy revolution is further along than was projected just a few years ago: Each of these trends — cheaper batteries and cheaper solar electricity — is good on its own, and on the margin will help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, with all the geopolitical drawbacks and climate harm they entail. But together, the two cost trends will add up to nothing less than a revolution in the way humankind interacts with the planet and powers civilization.

You see, the two trends reinforce each other. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Dean Baker reminds us that we shouldn’t let ourselves get distracted from the serious problems with inequality when defenders of the status quo try to change the subject to mobility: (M)any of the policies that would most obviously promote equality also promote growth. For example, a Fed policy committed to high employment, even at the risk of somewhat higher rates of inflation, would lead to stronger wage growth at the middle and bottom of the wage ladder, while also likely leading to more investment and growth.…It is also important to remember that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Lana Payne writes that we’re seeing exactly the results we should expect from Stephen Harper’s foolish choice to push money upward: A recent Globe and Mail story, using data from Statistics Canada, pointed out just how poorly the job market is doing under Stephen Harper’s leadership.

“Employment growth has been below 1 per cent for 15 months in a row.  The longest stretch … outside of recessions in almost 40 years of record-keeping,” according to the article by economics reporter Tavia Grant.

At the same time, corporate Canada is flush with cash, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Margot Sanger-Katz writes about the connection between inequality and poor health. Nicolas Fitz reminds us that even people concerned about inequality may underestimate how serious it is. And BJ Siekierski asks what will happen to Canada’s economy in terms of both growth and equity as unsustainable resource and real estate booms come to an end.

- Of course, we could help matters by not burning billions of public dollars where they’re needed least. On that front, David MacDonald compares the Cons’ actual budget plans to the far more productive uses of public (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kevin Carson discusses David Graeber’s insight into how privatization and deregulation in their present form represent the ultimate use of state power to serve special interests at the expense of the public: What mainstream American political discourse calls “deregulation” is nothing of the sort. There is no major constituency for deregulation in the American political system — just competing (and in fact considerably overlapping) agendas on what regulatory mix to put in place. There is not, and could not, be such a thing as an “unregulated” bank, Graeber argues, because banks “are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Simon Wren-Lewis connects the UK’s counterproductive austerity program to the lack of any wage growth. And Gary Lamphier observes that Alberta is serving as a case in point that jobs generated through public policy rigged in favour of the wealthy are no less precarious than any other type, while Erin Anderssen comments on the connection between public-sector work and greater wage equality.

- Adam Liptak writes that the First Amendment’s protection for speech – like so many other rights which have been redefined to suit the powerful – is now serving primarily (Read more…)