This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Valerie Strauss discusses the disastrous effects of corporatized education in the U.S. And Alex Hemingway examines how B.C.’s government (like Saskatchewan’s) is going out of its way to make it impossible for a public education system to do its job of offering a bright future to all . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
– Joseph Stiglitz discusses how entrenched inequality and unearned income hurt the economy for everybody:
We used to think of there being a trade-off: we could achieve more equality, but only at the expense of overall economic performance. It is now clear that, given the extremes of inequality being reached in many rich countries and the manner in which they have been generated, greater equality and improved economic performance are complements.
(A) key factor underlying the current economic difficulties of rich countries is growing inequality. We need to focus not on what is happening on average— as GDP leads us to do— but on how the economy is performing for the typical citizen, reflected for instance in median disposable income. People care about health, fairness and security, and yet GDP statistics do not reflect their decline. Once these and other aspects of societal well-being are taken into account, recent performance in rich countries looks much worse.
The economic policies required to change this are not difficult to identify. We need more investment in public goods; better corporate governance, antitrust and anti-discrimination laws; a better regulated financial system; stronger workers’ rights; and more progressive tax and transfer policies. By ‘rewriting the rules’ governing the market economy in these ways, it is possible to achieve greater equality in both the pre- and post-tax and transfer distribution of income, and thereby stronger economic performance.
– David Macdonald discusses Canada’s growing consumer debt levels, and notes that matters figure to get worse before they get better. And the CP reports on Canada’s high gender wage gap as another area where we’re lagging even on an international scene where there’s far more work to be done.
– Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood examines the economic fallout we could expect from the CETA, while the Canadian Labour Congress suggests a few ways to minimize the damage. But Murray Dobbin asks why we’re wasting any time on corporate power agreements when they’ve so thoroughly failed to live up to any promises to the public.
– Juha Kaakinen writes about the success of Housing First in alleviating homelessness in Finland. And Gary Bloch and John Silver point out how encouraging people living in poverty to file tax returns (and thus receive available benefits) can produce positive outcomes all around.
– Finally, PressProgress discusses Wayne Smith’s resignation as Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada due to a lack of meaningful change from the Cons’ attempts to politicize data collection and management. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday 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
This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Owen Jones discusses the importance of the labour movement in ensuring that workers can get ahead in life, rather than drowning in debt:Nights spent staring at the ceiling as worries dance manically around the … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Well here we go, another lesson on how exploiting the poor is the goto plan for making the big bucks in our society, only lets give it a snappy title – the new sharing economy. Let’s look at how the new sharing economy looks a bunch like the old economy. “A livery driver for […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Uber in the US – Predatory (the usual) Capitalism
Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.- David Korten writes that despite the trend of the past few decades, there’s nothing inevitable about international agreements inevitably favouring capital over citizens rather than the other way around.-… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Harry Leslie Smith writes about how an increasingly polarized city such as London excludes a large number of its citizens from meaningful social participation:(A)usterity has diminished the opportunity of the yo… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
BC Hydro has been announcing profits each year and that enables it to pay a dividend to the province, although it has to borrow the money to make the transfer. I argue here that the profits are questionable. In 2006, the company had $423 million in net… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Appearance of profit, when there is none
This devastating information from Erik Andersen, an economist and widely recognized expert on government and Crown Corporation financing:You will note the unbelievable increase in BC Hydro’s debt since Christy Clark took over, due largely to payoffs to… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Erik Andersen on BC Hydro debt
Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Miles Corak argues for a “second-chance” society to make up for the damaging effects of inequality – though I’d argue that while he has the principle exactly right, it’s worth defining it as “no person left b… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Karl Nerenberg weighs in on the Libs’ choice to direct billions of dollars toward higher-income individuals, rather than working to help Canadians who need it:The Liberals are now in power, and have ju… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
Off-grid, self-reliant living is a rapidly growing phenomenon and popular movement – so popular that there is now a cable TV show devoted to it, called something like, Off-Grid House Hunters, on HGTV. It only makes sense. Cut your expenses and improve your quality of life, while lowering stress and saving the planet? Of course! . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: Going Off-Grid
PHOTOS: Former premier Ralph Klein, now elevated to sainthood by the neoliberal cargo cult, celebrating the retirement of Alberta’s debt in 2004, never mind the mess the infrastructure was in. Below: Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci, Canadian economist Jim Stanford and Wildrose Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, with, bottom, his old debt-trailer. Anyone remember Ralph Klein’s . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Give a thought to Alberta’s approaching budget day: there’s little to gain and plenty to lose from ‘debt free’ government
The audio file below is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop August 13. We talk about bcIMC, provincial debt and other matters.
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. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Farrell with Jessop, CFAX1070 August 13, 2015
Asorted content for your weekend reading.
– Ezra Klein talks to Bernie Sanders about how to build a more fair economy in the U.S. and around the globe. And Lynn Parramore interviews Tony Atkinson about the options available to rein in economic inequality – and why we should be working on putting them in place: . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
In a rather surprising turn of events today, the IMF has released a statement demanding debt relief for Greece. This vindicates Varoufakis’ position that Greek debt was unsustainable, positions the IMF against Germany and its allies, and finally brings the IMF into line with its own research – research that has been leaking out over . . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: IMF Demands Debt Relief for Greece
Filed under: Eurozone crisis Tagged: Austerity, debt, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Syriza
. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: A Soft Coup in Greece
How Europe Played Greece.
Filed under: Greece Tagged: Austerity, debt, Eurozone Crisis, Greece
. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: How Europe Played Greece
Illegal, Illegitimate, Odious and Unsustainable Debt – Transform Network.
Given the resounding victory for the ‘No’ campaign in the Greek referendum, it is of interest to take a look at the Syriza led debt audit published a few weeks ago.
Filed under: Debt, Greece Tagged: debt, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Syriza
. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Illegal, Illegitimate, Odious and Unsustainable Debt – Transform Network
Hansard, May 28, 2015 The notion of a Debt-free British Columbia — hard to imagine when you’ve seen $135-billion increase in debt and contractual obligations under the B.C. Liberal watch. But somehow, in the fantasy world of the B.C. Liberals, you can make the assertion that we will be debt-free; you just don’t have to . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Horgan speaks to the Premier
The audio file below is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop May 26. We talk about credit rating agencies, provincial debt, contractual obligations, resource taxation and transit funding but we don’t deliver BC Liberal talking points like many others in media.
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. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Farrell and Jessop on CFAX1070
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 . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
Canadian Press, April 7, 2013: [Premier Christy] Clark told a Vancouver Island economic summit her government’s highly touted September 2011 jobs plan — with its focus on increased trade with China and Asia and promoting liquefied natural gas exports, new mines and exploring innovations in technology and agri-foods — was working.
Vancouver Sun, April . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: "You cain’t pray a lie" – H. Finn
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– Lonnie Golden studies the harm done to workers by irregular schedules. And Matt Bruening comments on how Missouri, Kansas and other states are passing draconian restrictions on benefits by trying to get the middle class to envy the poor.
– Meanwhile, Scott Santens expands on the connection . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links