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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada’s middle class in the lead up to Canada’s federal election campaign – and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they’re happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what’s best for people rather than short-term profits: Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence – business (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim Stanford discusses the need to inoculate citizens against shock doctrine politics, as well as the contribution he’s hoping to make as the second edition of Economics for Everyone is released: I suppose it is fitting (if tragic) that this new edition is being released into an economic environment that is still marked by fear, fragility and hardship. And this highlights a key theme of Economics for Everyone – and one of my key personal motivations as an economist whose career has been rooted in trade union and social justice settings (rather than (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sam Becker discusses the economic harm done by growing inequality, while Alexandra Zeevalkink previews Katharine Round’s upcoming documentary on the issue. And Carol Goar argues that Canadians are eager for leadership to ensure that everybody shares in our country’s wealth.

- Meanwhile, Laura Cattari points out the importance of giving people living in poverty a voice in policy decisions. And Erik Loomis highlights the consequences of failing to do so, as an imbalance in political influence has resulted in U.S. corporations being able to use poor areas both domestic and foreign as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Tencer discusses the latest evidence that trickle-down economics are a fraud, while David Roberts and Javier Zarracina write about how the elite seems to get its own way even when the results are worse for everybody. And Heather Stewart reports on the IMF’s findings as to the connection between financialization, inequality and stagnation as the extraction of wealth comes to be valued more than the production of anything useful.

- Meanwhile, Simon Enoch and Cheryl Stadnichuk observe that Saskatchewan is headed down a well-worn path to ruin based on the Wall (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- PressProgress points out that neither the public nor a group of the world’s leading economists sees the slightest value in balanced-budget gimmicks which override sound public decision-making. And Paul Krugman observes that the entire conservative economic strategy is based on overinflating bubbles, then letting somebody else clean up the resulting mess.

- Matthew Weaver highlights the use of “poshness tests” to screen out working-class applicants seeking work with key UK employers as a particularly stark example of how prestige and wealth have less and less to do with individual achievement. And Anna (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzig examines the evidence showing that austerity serves as a major obstacle to economic growth. And Ian Hussey argues that Alberta (like other jurisdictions) is out of budgetary balance due to a lack of income rather than any need to cut social supports.

- Branko Milanovic studies (PDF) the historical relationship between inequality and long-term economic growth and finds no reason to think the former does anything but impede the latter: More political power and patronage implies more inequality. The frequent claim that inequality promotes accumulation and growth does not get (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Daria Ukhova summarizes the OECD’s findings on the links between inequality, poverty and the economy: Inequality, economic growth, and poverty. In the new report, the OECD has tried to establish the links between these three phenomena, which so far have been mostly explored in pairs, as the relationship between inequality and growth and the relationship between inequality and poverty. While confirming previous arguments about the negative impact of inequality on growth and on poverty, the OECD has gone a step further, arguing that the mechanism through which inequality actually undermines growth is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The World Bank’s latest World Development Report discusses how readily-avoidable scarcity in severely limit individual development. Melissa Kearney and Philip Levine write that poverty and a lack of social mobility tend to create a vicious cycle of despair. And James Ridgeway examines the deliberate interference aimed at preventing many of the U.S.’ poor from ever building secure lives.

- Meanwhile, Mark Thoma reminds us of the role the labour movement needs to play in ensuring greater equality across the income spectrum. And Deirdre Fulton writes that the first tentative steps (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Maude Barlow and Sujata Dey point out that the job promises linked to CETA and other new trade agreements are no more plausible than the false ones made in previous rounds of corporate rights giveaways. And the Canadian Labour Congress discusses the secrecy surrounding the new set of deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Meanwhile, the International Labour Organization documents the connection between collective bargaining rights and greater equality. And lest anybody think there’s a tradeoff to be made between equality based on labour rights and growth based on corporate control, the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jim Stanford points out how the corporate tax pendulum is swinging back toward asking business to make an equitable contribution to Canadian society: The federal rate was cut virtually in half after 2000 (to just 15 per cent today). Several provincial governments followed suit. Alberta was the most aggressive, slashing its rate by more than one-third (to just 10 per cent) by 2006. This sparked a destructive race to the bottom among provinces – aided by explicit threats from companies to move head offices to Alberta if other provinces didn’t follow suit. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dylan Matthews reports on Joseph Stiglitz’ work in studying what kinds of systemic changes (in addition to more redistribution of wealth) are needed to ensure a fair and prosperous economy. And Martin O’Neill discusses James Meade’s prescient take on the importance of social assets: Meade therefore came to endorse the extension of the traditional welfare state through the parallel pursuit of both the spread of private property-ownership across all members of society – his ‘property-owning democracy’, which would involve steep taxation of inheritance and capital transfers – and at the same time building (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Citizens for Public Justice provides a useful set of fact sheets on the importance of tax revenues in funding a civilized society. And Daphne Bramham follows up with a look at what we’ve lost from tax cuts – and the public demand for more tax fairness: Tax cuts during the past decade have meant that $45 billion has been trimmed from government spending and programs each year since 2006 and almost 30,000 jobs have been lost.

One reason Canadians willingly pay taxes is they believe it’s a fair system. But as the fact (Read more…)

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…)