Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

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: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- LOLGOP discusses the important role unions play in ensuring widespread freedom and prosperity – and why they’re thus target number one for corporatists seeking to hoard more wealth at the top: When Scott Walker promises to bring his anti-union policies that have help lead Wisconsin to the largest decline in the Middle Class of any state nationally, he’s revealing what’s long been the subtext of the conservative movement. Their goal has always been to trick the middle class to vote itself out of existence, and this requires turning workers against backbone (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Evening Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Keith Banting and John Myles note that income inequality should be a major theme in Canada’s federal election. And Karl Nerenberg points out that voters will have every reason to vote for their values, rather than having any reason to buy failed strategic voting arguments.

- PressProgress charts the devastating effect of precarious employment in Canada. And Wayne Lewchuk writes about the precarity penalty, and the need for public policy to catch up to the reality facing workers: Uncertain future employment prospects can increase anxiety at home.  Lack of benefits can (Read more…)

wmtc: why are ontario public school teachers on strike?

Public school teachers in our area are on strike, part of a series of rolling strikes hitting different regions throughout Ontario. If the province doesn’t back down before the beginning of the school year in September, we can expect all Ontario public school teachers to strike.

The roots of this struggle stretch back to 2012, when the provincial government stripped teachers of their right to collective bargaining, unilaterally imposed a contract, then repealed the law taking away their union rights.

My partner and I spoke with some striking teachers last week, and this is what they told us. …Before we (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…)

Parchment in the Fire: Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian

Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian.

Heather Stewart

A surge in self-employment and temporary or part-time jobs over the past two decades has been a key factor behind the rise in inequality in the world’s industrialised countries, according to a major new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

 

The Paris-based club, which has been a driving force in arguing that increasing inequality jeopardises economic growth, says more than half of all job creation in its 34 member countries since the mid-1990s has been in “non-standard work”, which accounts (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…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Reflections on McChesney: Problematics of Media Self-Regulation

FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked as a mainstream news reporter between 2003 and 2012. News media goes where many cannot or will not. It infiltrates the halls of power, the courtrooms, protest sites, war zones and scenes of tragedy. It is, unquestionably, the source of much of the information used to inform and shape society. Its […]

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that the great Canadian revenue debate is well underway, with far more leaders willing to push for needed taxes than in recent years: There is new political space to talk corporate taxes again, to talk about raising them. Rachel Notley, the new NDP premier of Alberta, won on a platform that promised fair taxation, raising corporate taxes, and getting a fair share of resources for citizens.

Newfoundland and Labrador must have the same conversation and review of resource royalties.

Even the federal Liberals have realized that the tide is turning (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: "You cain’t pray a lie" – H. Finn

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 15, 2013: There was Premier Christy Clark Monday, dedicating herself to the goal of a “debt-free British Columbia,” and telling reporters that debt reduction has always been “a central value for me.”

As a central part of her campaign, Christy Clark promised more (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: "Jobs, jobs, jobs" Or, maybe not

Your browser does not support this audioThe audio file above is a recording of my time with Ian Jessop May 12. We talk about jobs and natural resources but we don’t deliver BC Liberal talking points like many others in media.

I urge readers to visit the CFAX podcast pages. Ian has been holding conversations on subjects not often covered elsewhere. For example, at 2:30pm May 12, Damien Gillis of Common Sense Canadian followed my interview and gave important information and insights on the Site C dam, which, at $10 billion or more, may become the single largest boondoggle (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh highlights how Ontario employers are exploiting temporary workers rather than making any effort to offer jobs which can support a life: Under Ontario’s antiquated Employment Standards Act, which is currently under review, there is no limit on how long a company can employ a worker as temporary before giving him or her a permanent job.

There is nothing to stop employers from paying temp workers less than their permanent counterparts, nothing to prevent them from hiring their entire workforce on a “temporary” basis if they so choose.

“If the employer knows (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: At least we’re not last in sparkle ponies

[View the story "BC Jobs Export Plan is working!" on Storify]

The final item is intended to remind us that, for corporate welfare bums, creating good quality jobs is not high on the list of priorities.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Sean McElwee offers a new set of evidence that the right-wing Republicans who run on the economy in fact do it nothing but harm. And David Dayen discusses how Bernie Sanders may be able to push the U.S.’ policy discussion into a far more positive area by forcing both parties to confront the failure of corporatist economics.

- But David MacDonald warns that Justin Trudeau and the Libs are trying to force Canada into a limited choice between tax baubles for the upper class. And Chantal Hebert too sees Trudeau as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Branko Milanovic discusses how rent theory fits into the glaring gap between productivity and wages: Bob Solow explored a couple of days ago another possibility. Going back to his own initial work on the theory of growth, some 60 years ago, Solow asked the following question: why did we assume that there is perfect competition and that factors are paid their perfect completion marginal products? We knew, continued Solow, that there were monopolies; moreover, the theory of imperfect competition (Chamberlin and Joan Robinson) existed since the 1930s. Solow said: “I could not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Justin Wolfers discusses new research showing how location has a dramatic effect on the future of young children. And it’s particularly striking that the negatives of moving seem to outweigh any positive effects of a surrounding neighbourhood for older children – suggesting that if there’s any truth to the theory that poverty is merely a stage on the way to relative wealth for a meaningful number of families, then those families may systemically be in the worst circumstances when it does the most harm.

- Meanwhile, Denis Campbell reports on how austerity has (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bill McKibben argues that Bernie Sanders’ run for the presidency should have massive positive impacts extending far beyond both Sanders’ central theme of inequality, and international borders to boot. And Salon interviews Joseph Stiglitz as to how inequality and the economy will affect the 2016 presidential campaign.

- Hannah Giorgis writes that a more fair economic system is a must in order to address historical racial inequities in the U.S.: To stifle a community slowly, without the decisive replay value of a chokehold, you criminalize poverty while withholding the resources needed (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Low-Wage Workers’ Struggles Are About Much More than Wages

Photo by Fibonacci Blue

When fast-food workers first took the streets in New York City in November 2012 to protest for higher wages and a union, no one could have imagined how successful the campaign would be. Since then the low-wage workers movement, known as Fight for 15, has helped spur eleven states and numerous cities to raise the minimum hourly wage. It’s enabled campaigns in Seattle and the Bay Area to pass citywide measures for $15-an-hour minimum wage. Fight for 15 and a separate campaign called Organization United for Respect at Walmart has also pushed companies like McDonald’s, Target, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Trish Hennessy writes that the Cons’ budget is based purely on wishful thinking and deliberate denial rather than any rational plan. PressProgress identifies just a few of the problems which can’t be put off for two generations, no matter how determined Joe Oliver is to push any responsible government past his own lifetime. Adam Radwanski spots what may be a ready-made mechanism for the Cons to announce pork barrel projects without counting them in the federal budget. And Stephen Tapp writes that it shouldn’t be hard for opposition parties to find fiscal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford kicks off the must-read responses to the Cons’ budget with a modest list of five points deserving of public outrage, while PressProgress identifies seven points where the Cons’ spin is far out of touch with reality. Citizens for Public Justice notes that climate change and poverty are among the important issues which don’t rate so much as a mention in the Cons’ plan for an entire term in office, while Jorge Barrera reports that First Nations were also conspicuously omitted other than some cynical re-announcements. Angella MacEwen points out that any (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jay Baron Nicorvo discusses how the myth of U.S. meritocracy serves largely as a means of funneling profits toward the 1%. And Mary Hansen points out one way of fighting back against evolving forms of corporate power – being the development of new, cooperative alternatives to businesses designed to exploit workers.

- David Korten highlights a few of the most obvious dangers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as just the latest and most draconian agreement intended to lock anti-democratic principles in as a restriction on government decision-making. And ICIJ and the Huffington Post (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Paul Krugman laments how faith-based economics which value unmeasurable market confidence over any meaningful outcome continue to form the basis for disastrous austerity policies around the world.

- Bill Curry reports on the PBO’s latest study showing that the only reason the Cons are in a position to brag about a nominally balanced budget is their continued siphoning off of EI premiums which are supposed to be for the benefit of the many workers who have lost their jobs. And Andrew Jackson puts the Cons’ miserable jobs record in context.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness offers a checklist to allow us to determine whether the federal budget is aimed at improving matters for everybody, or only for the privileged few. And Andrew Jackson argues that the Cons’ focus should be investment in jobs and sustainable development: Business investment is likely to fall even further due to the resource slump and halted mega projects. This might be offset a bit by new investment in the hard-hit manufacturing sector and in high tech, though there is no sign of that in the most recent numbers.

In (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Sliding from have to have-not

Statistics Canada provides surveys that allow analysis of employment. In my opinion, one data set that gains too little attention is the employment rate. It refers to the number of persons employed, expressed as a percentage of the total population 15 years of age and over.

When the economy is difficult and opportunities are scarce, some individuals give up the search for employment and disappear from the ranks of the unemployed. When the economy is vibrant and opportunities are plentiful, inactive individuals are drawn into the workforce.

Recent events emphasize the BC government’s lack of focus on delivering benefits to (Read more…)