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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Will Hutton writes about the connection between inequality and the loss of any moral or social purpose in public life: Britain is beset by a crisis of purpose. We don’t know who we are any longer, where we are going or even if there is a “we”. The country is so passionately attached to past glories because there are so few to celebrate in the present. The crisis is compounded since we have been told for 30 years that the route to universal wellbeing is to abandon the expense of justice (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Larry Elliott writes that at least some business leaders are paying lip service to the idea that inequality needs to be reined in. But Alec Hogg points out that at least some of the privileged few are using their obscene wealth to remove themselves from the rest of humanity, rather than lifting a finger to help anybody else.

- Meanwhile, Joseph Stiglitz observes that sheer stubborn stupidity on the part of austerians is doing untold damage to the global economy. But Jon Henley notes that in advance of Syriza’s election victory, a new (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Nicholas Kristof writes about the empathy gap which causes far too many wealthier citizens to devalue those who don’t have as much. Jesse Singal observes that the primary effect of wealth on well-being is to reduce downside rather than improve happiness – signalling that we might be best served pursuing policies aimed at improving financial security across the income scale. And Lucy Mangan discusses what’s missing from the people who refuse to understand the effect of poverty – particularly when they’re best positioned to do something to alleviate it: Politicians, for example, are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that by finally recognizing the unfairness and ineffectiveness of Alberta’s regressive tax system, Jim Prentice may be starting a needed national debate: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice talks up taxes for individuals including a sales tax (Alberta is the only province not to have one) and adjusting income taxes. But what about those oil companies? This might also be an ideal time to consider how the province can receive a bigger piece of the oil revenue when prices do bounce back. The prep work should start now.

When oil prices boom, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Crawford Kilian writes that growing inequality has been largely the product of deliberate engineering rather than any natural process, while Paul Krugman focuses on the preferential treatment of capital income in particular. And Simon Barrow discusses the sources and beneficiaries of the increasing wealth gap: (T)he anti-change interests arrayed against any attempt to substantially reform global finance, block the privileging of huge corporate interests (TTIP being a prime example), ensure labour rights, address income and wealth gaps, stop tax evasion and tax dodging by the wealthiest on an industrial scale, legally enshrine transparency (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the now-infamous story of Eric and Ilsa bears a disturbing resemblance to how Brad Wall has handled Saskatchewan’s finances.

For further reading…- Again, the original Eric and Ilsa story is here, with Rob Carrick following up here. And the story was picked up (with appropriate criticism) here, here and here among other places.- I’ve also commented in this post, and I’ll note that the point applies equally when it comes to Saskatchewan: in fact, Saskatchewan’s GDP has more than tripled since 1990 without generating much more than the insistence that we (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Amy Goodman discusses Barack Obama’s call to reverse the spread of inequality in the U.S. And Seumas Milne writes that the effort will inevitably challenge the world oligarchs have built up to further their own wealth and power at everybody else’s expense: In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Economist argues that lower oil prices offer an ideal opportunity to rethink our energy policy (with a focus on cleaner sources). And Mitchell Anderson offers a eulogy for Alberta’s most recent oil bender: For now the latest Alberta bender is over, and it’s time to take stock of certain destructive lifestyle choices. The budgetary cupboards are bare, yet Canada’s allegedly “richest” province has an unfunded municipal infrastructure deficit of up to $24 billion. A badly needed new cancer treatment facility has just been delayed past 2020. The long-overdue plan to build (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Never enough now

Rob Carrick is half right in his response to the firestorm surrounding the story of Eric and Ilsa: Canada’s No. 1 problem in personal finance is not a lack of saving, it’s spending beyond our means. Eric and Ilsa show us that it’s a problem uniting people of all backgrounds. This couple is you and me, only with a higher income.… Mark it down – income inequality is a problem with legs. Economic growth isn’t going to raise all boats any time soon. Seven years after the global financial crisis, we continue to hear dismal economic news that suggests people (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Rosenberg writes about the high-priced effort to undermine public institutions and the collective good in the U.S. And Paul Krugman highlights how the Republicans’ stubborn belief in the impossibly of good government (regardless of large amounts of evidence that such a thing is possible and desirable) has produced the U.S.’ combination of waste and gridlock: On issues that range from monetary policy to the control of infectious disease, a big chunk of America’s body politic holds views that are completely at odds with, and completely unmovable by, actual experience. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tasini at Daily Kos discusses the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy’s finding that every single U.S. state has a regressive tax structure in the taxes imposed at the state and local level. And John Cassidy examines the Center for American Progress’ proposals for more inclusive prosperity: Based on a retelling of recent economic history that should by now be familiar, the report argues that more aggressive measures are needed to tackle wage stagnation and rising inequality. In the U.S. case, the report’s recommendations include raising the minimum wage, encouraging (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Gerald Caplan writes that we all bear some responsibility for growing inequality – and how we’ll need to use our electoral power to reverse it: (S)elf-sacrifice is not going to be the key to reducing inequality, with all the great damage it inflicts on society. Government needs to act, and Mr. Mackenzie offers perfectly realistic policies to any party that is seriously committed to greater equality. For example, the tax break on stock options generously provided by our government is worth a cool half-trillion to the top 100 – a nice day’s “work,” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Oliver Milman reports on research showing how humanity is destroying its own environmental life support systems. And our appetite for exploitation is proving a failure even from the standpoint of the pursuit of shortsighted greed, as David Dayen considers how the recent drop in oil prices – and consequent market forces limiting further production – may affect a financial sector relying on constant expansion.

- Michael Harris offers another look at the real Stephen Harper to counter the barrage of selective imaging we’ll see throughout the year. And Bob Hepburn discusses the need (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jeff Begley criticizes the Cons and the Quebec Libs for their refusal to even recognize inequality as an issue – which of course results in their only exacerbating the gap between the rich and the rest of us: While Couillard and Harper find the “courage” to attack workers, starting with those in the public sector, they are completely silent when it comes to the growing social and economic inequalities. Worse still, they are working actively to heighten those inequalities!

In our video message over the holidays, I indicated that we hoped this (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Joan Walsh discusses Elizabeth Warren’s work on improving wages and enhancing the strength of workers in the U.S., while Jeremy Nuttall interviews Hassan Yussuff about the labour movement’s work to elect a better government in Canada.

- Bob Hepburn argues that getting rid of the Harper Cons is a first step toward regaining some faith in our political system. And Scott Reid worries that Stephen Harper’s cynical view of government in anybody’s hands may have spread to Canada’s electorate – though while there’s plenty of work to be done in the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Robert Ferdman reports on a Pew Research poll showing that wealthier Americans are downright resentful toward the poor – and think the people with the most difficult lives actually have it too easy: (T)he prevalence of the view might reflect an inability to understand the plight of those who have no choice but to seek help from the government. A quarter of the country, after all, feels that the leading reason for inequality in America is that the poor don’t work hard enough.

But as my colleague Christopher Ingraham pointed out last (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Duncan Exley points out that the UK has nothing to be proud of when it comes to income inequality. And Bill Curry reports on the Cons’ full awareness that the temporary foreign worker program was both taking jobs away from Canadian youth, and allowing employers to pay far less for foreign labour.

- DSWright highlights how Joseph Stiglitz appears to have been rejected by Republicans for a position advising on the U.S. financial system solely because he’s dared to express the opinion that regulators shouldn’t see their job as catering to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Nathan Schneider discusses the wide range of support for a guaranteed income, while noting that the design of any basic income system needs to reflect the needs of the people who receive it rather than the businesses who see it as an opportunity for themselves. And Art Eggleton includes a basic income and more progressive taxes as part of the solution to poverty in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Sarah Petrescu points to income supports and housing as the two most important issues in her review of poverty in Victoria. And Richard Florida highlights the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sam Pizzigati interviews Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett about the fight against inequality and the next piece of the puzzle to be put in place: [Pickett:]…In The Spirit Level, we have all these correlations between inequality and social problems, and we have theories and hypotheses about what is driving these correlations. But we didn’t know then whether or not the drivers we hypothesized — things like status anxiety — were actually higher in more unequal countries. Now those kinds of data are being used increasingly in psychological research. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

 - Emma Woolley discusses how homelessness developed into a social problem in Canada in large part through public neglect. Judy Haiven is the latest to emphasize that charity is no substitute for a functional society when it comes to meeting people’s basic needs. And Ed Lehman is rightly concerned that Brad Wall and company are still determined to avoid acknowledging the fact that there are plenty of Saskatchewan residents trying to make do with nowhere near enough.

- Emily Badger reminds us how inequality early in life can shape – and block – opportunities (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alex Himelfarb writes about the corporate push to treat taxes as a burden rather than a beneficial contribution to a functional society – and why we should resist the demand to slash taxes and services alike: How is it that we don’t now ask of these tax cuts upon tax cuts: What will be the consequences for these public goods, goods that most of us continue to value, that demonstrably contribute to the general welfare? In part the answer may be that we devalue public goods because they are not priced and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robin Sears offers his theory that the upcoming federal election could represent a meaningful referendum on competing visions for Canada – and Paul Wells seems to expect much the same. But while that might make for a useful statement of the actual consequences of electing the anti-government Cons as opposed to having a progressive coalition materialize, it’s hard to see a clash of visions represent the core of the campaign – particularly when the party currently in power won’t admit to its active hostility toward social programs and the environment, while another (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato discusses how inequality and financialization have teamed up to create an economy with little upside and serious risks for most people: (W)hat should we do in 2015? Financial reform–aimed at bringing finance and the real economy together again–must thus critically first study the facts, not the myths, in the real economy. Periods of longest stable growth in most economies [occur] when medium to large firms have invested their profits in R&D and human capital. What is needed today is long-term committed finance, in the form of public banks (such as German’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that to start your year.

- Ian Welsh comments on the challenges we face in trying to turn wealth increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few into a better world for everybody: The irony is that we have, again, produced a cornucopia.  We have the potential to create an abundance society, the world over and eventually off this world.

We have much of the technology necessary, and we could direct our research and development towards the remaining technology we need.

Instead, we rely on markets controlled by oligarchs and central banks captured by oligarchs to make (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb write about the growing appetite for stronger public services and the taxes needed to fund them in 2014 – even if we’re a long way from having that translated into real policy changes: Certainly tax phobia has framed our politics and shaped our governments. Our politicians of every stripe seem to believe that Canadians want tax cuts, whatever the costs, and won’t accept tax increases, whatever the benefits. This austerity mindset stunts the political imagination, making us doubt that we can do great things or much of anything (Read more…)