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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Henning Meyer interviews Tony Atkinson about the readily-available options to combat inequality – with the first step being to make sure people actually have a voice in the decisions which define how wealth and power are allocated:

So, if you dive into the potential solutions you seem to suggest institutional changes. You mentioned that public policy should aim at a proper balance of power amongst stakeholders; what exactly do you mean by this?

Well I think I should say first of all that my aim in writing the book was to try and dispel the sort of sense of inevitability about high inequality and therefore I was putting forward various ways of seeking to understand why it comes about and therefore how we can moderate it. And I think one of the things that has certainly happened is that institutions, like for example corporate institutions, companies, which used to have a broader view of their responsibilities, that they recognised that they had a responsibility in addition to that to their shareholders – also to their workers and to their consumers and their customers.

And I think it’s this broader notion of the social obligations of institutions and of course of individuals as well that we have responsibilities beyond both our own personal economic gains and losses. So I think that it’s part of a reaction that I have had to what seems to be a narrowing to a very much individual based self-interest which has come to emerge in the last two or three decades.

Okay, and then new ideas like Michael Porter’s shared value capitalism, they try to sort of, not revive the old dichotomy between shareholder and stakeholder models but try to align public and private interest in addressing some of the most pressing social and economic needs. Could that be one way of addressing these considerations?

Yes, I think in a sense part of the issues arise because we had in the post-war period some kind of balance of power between on the one side employers and the other side often trade unions or workers’ representatives. And that of course has shifted in quite a number of countries as a result of a number of things including, for example, the effect of privatisation resulting in reducing the power of trade unions to influence the behaviour of those institutions. So, I think we’ve seen a shift of power definitely away from workers towards capital, those who run firms.

So I think a number of proposals were designed to try and at least make sure that those interests of workers and indeed consumers should be represented. And a good example is provided by the negotiations with regard to trade agreements which seem to involve only one side as it were of that equation.

– And Van Jones writes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals are set up to block action against climate change.

– CUPE points out the leakage of massive amounts of revenue to tax havens and avoidance as a crucial factor in austerity politics. And Craig Wong reports on the latest increase in Canadian consumer debt as people borrow to try to make up for the lack of advancement in wages.

– Susan Ochs discusses Wells Fargo’s widespread fraud as yet another example of workers and consumers being punished for the misdeeds of high-ranking executives.

– Alia Dharssi continues her reporting on migrant workers in Canada by highlighting how recruitment agencies exploit workers who can’t stand up for themselves. And Chris Buckley argues that labour and employment laws in general need to be updated, particularly to protect people stuck with precarious work.

– Finally, APTN reports on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s latest order requiring the federal government to stop discriminating against First Nations children – though the fact that two previous orders haven’t led to the government complying signals that the Libs’ in following through may be rather less than advertised. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Christopher Ingraham points out that while many luxuries are getting cheaper with time, the necessities of life are becoming much more difficult to afford:

Many manufactured goods — like TVs and appliances — come from overseas, where labor costs are cheaper. “International, global competition lowers prices directly from lower-cost imported goods, and indirectly by forcing U.S. manufacturers to behave more competitively, with lower prices, higher quality, better service, et cetera,” Perry said.

On the flip side, things like education and medical care can’t be produced in a factory, so those pressures do not apply. Compounding it, many Americans are insulated from the full costs of these services. Private and public insurance companies pay most medical costs, so there tends to be little incentive for individuals to shop around for cheaper medical care.

In the case of higher education, the nation’s massive student loan industry bears much of the upfront burden of rising prices. To the typical 18-year-old, a $120,000 tuition bill may seem like an abstraction when you don’t have to start paying it off until your mid-20s or later. As a result, the nation’s college students and graduates now collectively owe upward of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.
“Prices rise when [health care and college] markets are not competitive and not exposed to global competition,” Perry said, “and prices rise when easy credit is available.”

Hence, our current predicament. We can afford the things we don’t need, but we need the things we can’t afford.

– Alex Usher notes how one of the same cost pressures applies in Canada, as universities losing public funding are squeezing students for massive tuition increases. And Lindsay Kines reports that the Clark government’s decision to make life less affordable for people with disabilities in British Columbia has led to 3,500 people giving up their transit passes.

– Natalia Khosla and Sean McElwee discuss the difficulty in addressing racism when many people live in denial of their continued privilege.

– Paul Wells comments on SNC Lavalin’s long track record of illegal corporate donations to the Libs and the Cons.

– Finally, Gerry Caplan points out how Justin Trudeau is dodging key human rights questions. And Mike Blanchfield reports that the Libs’ willingness to undermine a treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs represents just another area where they’re leaving the Cons’ most harmful policies untouched. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Scripturient: Opportunities Collingwood has lost

I spent two days in the trade show at the AMO conference this week, looking at the booth across the aisle from me. It constantly reminded me of the opportunities for Collingwood this council has thrown away, of what great opportunities we have lost t… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Opportunities Collingwood has lost

Politics, Re-Spun: The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week

In case you missed it, Clinton and the DNC are corrupt, and have been for a long time. They and their media partners have worked hard to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic nominee for president. And still, he almost won in the primaries and caucuses. What could he have accomplished if the DNC … Continue reading The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: TVO’s The Agenda: A Culture of Corruption?

Is corruption endemic in the political and economic classes? I joined TVOntario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, to discuss the extent and potential remedies to corruption in Canada’s public institutions. . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: TVO’s The Agenda: A Culture of Corruption?

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Murray Dobbin is hopeful that we may be seeing corporate globalization based on unquestioned neoliberal ideology come to an end: There is no definitive way to identify when an ideology begins to lose its grip on the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Huffington Post: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron

The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than half … . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Huffington Post: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron

The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than ha… . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Neil MacDonald discusses the unfairness in allowing a wealthy class of individuals to set up its own rules, while Jeffrey Sachs notes that the U.S. and U.K. are among the worst offenders in allowing for systema… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Tom Parkin writes about the growing divide between the lucky few who are siphoning wealth out of Canada, and the mass of people facing a precarious economic future. – PressProgress highlights much the same disti… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

Human rights activist and author Craig Murray wonders why, for the western corporate media, the Panama leak is all about Russian president Vladimir Putin. “Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism,” he says. The post Corporate Media Gateke… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Nick Bunker points out that there’s much more to an economic recovery than nominal GDP – with labour’s share of growth serving as a particularly important indicator as to whether anybody is benefitting beyond t… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- The Star-Phoenix calls for Saskatchewan’s election campaign to focus on the future rather than the past. And Paul Orlowski reminds us of the continued callous corporatism that’s in store if Brad Wall holds on… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

In-Sights: Reader comment on BC Clean Energy Act

A regular reader provided this comment to the preceding article. Hugh explains that the capture of BC’s public utility by selfish profiteers was a carefully considered manoeuvre. In the end, it will have given billions of dollars to Liberal friends and… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Reader comment on BC Clean Energy Act

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, pointing out that the Global Transportation Hub land flipping scandal highlights Brad Wall’s consistent willingness to hand out free money to business cronies – contrasted against his fight to avoid funding basic services like health and educatio… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

A Grumpy Hobbit: RWNJ Revisionist History 101 = The Nazi Were Socialist

The Nazi were SOCIALISTS!!!! After all the name of their political Party was the National Socialist Party (or there abouts) blah blah blah,… This is the one of the favorite mindless talking point I hear from RWNJs who have never crack a history… . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: RWNJ Revisionist History 101 = The Nazi Were Socialist

A Grumpy Hobbit: RWNJ Revisionist History 101 = The Nazi Were Socialist

The Nazi were SOCIALISTS!!!! After all the name of their political Party was the National Socialist Party (or there abouts) blah blah blah,… This is the one of the favorite mindless talking point I hear from RWNJs who have never crack a history… . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: RWNJ Revisionist History 101 = The Nazi Were Socialist

A Grumpy Hobbit: URMURGURD – He’s Back Blogging TOO!!! Mark Francis (aka Section 15)

My oldest and bestest of friends (deal with it Mark) is back Blogging, you need to check out his blog, he just started it and needs readers. So head on over to Korptopia . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: URMURGURD – He’s Back Blogging TOO!!! Mark Francis (aka Section 15)

A Grumpy Hobbit: URMURGURD – He’s Back Blogging TOO!!! Mark Francis (aka Section 15)

My oldest and bestest of friends (deal with it Mark) is back Blogging, you need to check out his blog, he just started it and needs readers. So head on over to Korptopia . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: URMURGURD – He’s Back Blogging TOO!!! Mark Francis (aka Section 15)

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Pope Francis pontificates on ‘new colonialism,’ Africa still reeling from the old one

Thirty years ago Pope John Paul II chose Cameroon as the location to apologize to black Africa for the involvement of white Christians in the slave trade. This time, it is Pope Francis who uses Sub-Saharan Africa as a backdrop to speak out against colo… . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Pope Francis pontificates on ‘new colonialism,’ Africa still reeling from the old one

A Grumpy Hobbit: E-FLAP #000006 – The Ezra Levant Spinoff Fanboy Club

They call themselves "Life was Better Under Stephen Harper" and really are nothing more than Ezra Levant – The Rebel Media – regurgitation crew. Yup, you will normally first see Ezra make something up, and then these little peons will puke it up on their own page,… I said normally, but occasionally these pea brains try to do it on their own and fall flat on their faces. Lets watch them as . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: E-FLAP #000006 – The Ezra Levant Spinoff Fanboy Club

A Grumpy Hobbit: E-FLAP #000006 – The Ezra Levant Spinoff Fanboy Club

They call themselves “Life was Better Under Stephen Harper” and really are nothing more than Ezra Levant – The Rebel Media – regurgitation crew. Yup, you will normally first see Ezra make something up, and then these little peons will puke it up on their own page,… I said normally, but occasionally these pea brains . . . → Read More: A Grumpy Hobbit: E-FLAP #000006 – The Ezra Levant Spinoff Fanboy Club

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Being at the table during deliberations on war, peace, and the fate of nations was an extraordinary experience. I remember seeing the Berlin Wall fall, and hoping that the age of global warfare might be over. That moment now feels far away. We are clearly facing terrible risks, and it will take great statesmanship . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj – Huffington Post: Addressing the United Nations

Political corruption kills more people than war and famine combined. I addressed the United Nations on how the international community can and must act to bring kleptocrats to justice.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Alex Himelfarb writes about the urgent need to reverse the vicious cycle of austerity. And Toby Sanger takes a look at the economic records of Canada’s political parties, and finds that the NDP ranks at the top of the class not only for balancing budgets, but also for . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links