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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: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Santens argues that a basic income represents the best way to ensure that the gains from technological advancement are shared by everybody. And Thom Hartmann makes the case for a guaranteed income based on its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, while Mark Sarner sees it mostly as a mechanism to reduce poverty.

- Meanwhile, Lane Windham highlights the need for social benefits to be pursued through public policy rather than through employment relationships alone. And Sean McElwee writes that increased voter turnout in the U.S. figures to bring out far more progressive (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Myth of STEM Degrees: STEM as the Canary in the Coal Mine

What follow is a guest blog post from Glenn Burley:

If Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and professional fields like medicine, law, and dentistry are the so-called golden ticket to a good job in today’s labour market, what does that say about the current and future health of our economy?

The myth of the ‘skills gap’ in Canada is persistent. Along with increasing levels of student debt and a labour market in which good jobs are increasingly hard to find—especially for young people—this myth leads public discussion on employment to blaming individuals for their education choices. According to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Emmanuel Saez examines the U.S.’ latest income inequality numbers and finds that the gap between the wealthy few and everybody else is still growing. The Equality Trust finds that the UK’s tax system is already conspicuously regressive even as the Cameron Cons plan to make it more so. And Tom Clark reviews Anthony Atkinson’s Inequality, featuring the observation that even returning to the distribution of the 1970s will require major (if needed) changes to the economic assumptions we’ve meekly accepted since then.

- Andrew Mitrovica comments on the Cons’ pandering (Read more…)

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: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Edsall discusses how increased atomization is making it more difficult for people to join together in seeking change, no matter how obvious it is that there’s a need to counter the concentrated power and wealth of the privileged few: The cultural pressures driving inequality are…reinforced by heightened competition that has accelerated the decline of unions, served to justify the Republican refusal to raise minimum wages and undermined the workplace stature of employees. The result has been not only surging incomes at the top and little or no growth for the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Regina and its citizens did fairly well responding to a water shortage – but has plenty to learn in applying the lesson to the wider collective challenge of climate change.

For further reading…- The water shortage began a month ago, with CBC’s coverage here and here largely describing the problem and the City’s initial response. And CTV reported on the end to the immediate restrictions here. – In contrast, Rob Kuznia reports on Rancho Santa Fe’s appalling response to California’s drought, which has given rise to mandatory water use reductions.- The National Resources Defence (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mark Anderson reports on the Change Readiness Index’ findings that the growing concentration and inequality of wealth is making it more and more difficult for countries to deal with foreseeable disasters. But Jon Queally points out that a concerted effort to quit abusing fossil fuels could do a world in making our world both more fair and more sustainable.

- James Galbraith suggests that the EU is guilty of gross malpractice in how it continues to treat Greece in the face of overwhelming public opposition to austerity. But as David Dayen points (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Sean Illing writes about the utterly misplaced view of the privileged few that they can or should be treated as immune from the environmental realities facing everybody: I see the decadence of the people in Rancho Santa Fe as a microcosm of America today, particularly corporate America. What these people exhibit, apart from their smugness, is a complete absence of any sense of collective responsibility. They can’t see and aren’t interested in the consequences of their actions. And they can’t muster a modicum of moderation in the face of enormous scarcity. Every resource, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jeff Spross argues that in addition to ensuring that employees are fairly paid for the overtime hours they work, we should also be pushing to ensure people aren’t required to work as much to begin with. And Angella MacEwen points out that any spin about increasing wages is based almost entirely on a proportional increase in hours worked, rather than workers receiving any benefit from improved productivity.

- Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow highlights new research showing that the CEOs who manage to squeeze the most money out of businesses actually perform worse than (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Roderick Benns reports on Ryan Meili’s argument for a basic income: Dr. Ryan Meili was in Kingston, Ontario, recently to talk to more than 100 people about the importance of the social determinants of health in an event that was hosted by Basic Income Kingston. The social determinants of health influence health outcomes for people and include many components that work together, including income and income distribution, education, unemployment and job security, among others.

Meili described a basic income guarantee as “an exciting opportunity” and a kind of “social investment to counter inequality,” (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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Wages: Up, Down, or Sideways?

We’re coming up to a Federal Election, and one where “The Economy” will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we’re going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever.

One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the units of measurement and analysis – hourly, weekly, or annual earnings, total vs. market income, median vs. average. So this post is a bit of a stream of conciousness graphing of the ways that we measure income, and what that means.

First, real annual median (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

Sure, it might be tempting to say there’s no difference at all between this… The federal government touted a number of initiatives Wednesday for improving First Nations’ well-being but could not explain why a new report showed the prosperity gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people was widening in some cases.

The report, released by the federally appointed National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, found that First Nations living on reserves had shown the least improvement.

Relying on 2006 and 2011 census data, the report found the non-aboriginal employment rate went from 62.7 per cent to 61.2 per cent. For (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: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Elias Isquith talks to David Madland about the connection between increasing inequality and the breakdown of trust in the U.S. political system. CBC and Larry Elliott follow up on the IMF’s findings about the economic damage done by income and wealth disparities. And Philip Longman thoroughly examines the cross-generational inequality which is putting every generation after the Baby Boomers at a severe disadvantage: Start, for example, with the twentysomethings of 1979. They had a lower real income in 1979 than twentysomethings did in 1969. And as fiftysomethings now, they not only make (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Will Republicans keep invoking God if the Pope keeps pissing on their philosophy?

American politicians are particularly prone to invoking their Christian faith as a guide to their political beliefs. Although members of both major parties freely trot out scripture at the drop of a writ, conservative Republicans are especially inclined to pepper their appeals with references to their faith, God and Jesus.

But now they have encountered a rather embarrassing development. Christ

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Cay Johnston looks into new research showing just how much distance the U.S.’ highest-income .001% has put between itself and the rest of the country’s citizens: (F)or the first time ever, the IRS offers a close look at the top .001 percent of taxpayers. It shows that incomes in this rarefied air — the top 1,361 households — are soaring while their tax burdens are falling.

The differences in income-growth rates from 2003 to 2012 between the top .001 percent and the rest of the top 1 percent are akin (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Guy Standing discusses the political and social importance of Canada’s growing precariat, as well as the broader definition of inequality needed to address its needs: The assets most unequally distributed are fourfold. First, socio-economic security is more unequally distributed than income. If in the precariat, you have none. How will politicians ensure that everybody has enough security to give them reasonable control over their lives? Second, there is inequality of control of time. If in the precariat, you have no control, and must do this and that all the time, under stress, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Scott Santens rightly notes that even if every single person without a job was willing to accept absolutely anything, we have no reason to expect job markets to make enough work available to support a livelihood for everybody: (T)here are more unemployed people than jobs available across each sector of the job market, even including health care, and that one’s considered practically a slam dunk at this point in terms of finding employment.

There are simply not enough jobs for everyone to have a job all at the same time.

Doesn’t this sound (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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter

Thomas Palley There exists several mainstream explanations of the financial crisis and stagnation, each explaianing the role they respectively attribute to income inequality. Those explanations contrast deeply with a structural Keynesian explanation of the crisis. The role of income inequality also differs substantially, giving rise to very different policy recommendations. That highlights the critical importance of economic theory, which shapes the way we understand the world, thereby shaping how we respond to it. The theoretical narrative we adopt therefore implicitly shapes policy. That observation applies forcefully to the (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…)