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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford, Iglika Ivanova and David MacDonald each highlight how there’s far more to be concerned about in Canada’s economy beyond the GDP dip alone. Both Thomas Walkom and the Star’s editorial board write that it’s clear the Cons have nothing to offer when it comes to trying to improve on our current stagnation, while Balbulican notes that the Cons’ economic message amounts to little more than denial. And David Climenhaga calls out the laughable attempt by Alberta’s right wing to shield Stephen Harper from blame for a decade of failed federal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Branko Milanovic answers Harry Frankfurt’s attempt to treat inequality as merely an issue of absolute deprivation by reminding us how needs are inherently social: “[Under necessities] I understand not only the commodities that are indispensable for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without.” (Book 5, Chapter 2)

Smith’s observation has far-reaching consequences. If our needs depend on what is socially acceptable, then they will clearly vary as between different societies. They will depend on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Joseph Stiglitz notes that the recent stock market turmoil may be most important for its effect in highlighting far more important economic weaknesses. And Richard McCormack discusses the link between stock buybacks, inequality and economic stagnation – meaning that a plan to eliminate loopholes for stock options may also have positive spillover effects for the economy as a whole.

- Barry Schwartz writes about the meaning of work, while noting that a focus on theoretical efficiency by eliminating all satisfaction from a work day may be leading to worse results for employers and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Donna Harpauer and the Saskatchewan Party are dismissing their own advisory group’s recommendation to work to cut Saskatchewan poverty in half by the end of the decade.

For further reading…- The StarPhoenix echoes Donna Harpauer’s defeatism.- Danielle Martin and Ryan Meili make the case for a basic income, which appears as one of the advisory group’s recommendations.  – And for a review of the multiplier effects of different fiscal choices, see Mark Zandi’s analysis here (PDF) – showing infrastructure spending and income supports accomplishing far more than tax cuts or corporate giveaways.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Howard Elliott writes about the need for senior levels of government to help address the housing needs facing Canadian communities. And the report from Saskatchewan’s advisory group on poverty reduction includes housing among its key priorities as well (while also favouring work on a basic income).

- Meanwhile, Armine Yalnizyan reminds us that the Cons’ destruction of the census is making it far more difficult to identify and address social problems.

- Justin Ling documents the latest example of Stephen Harper’s utter contempt for the concept of accountability, as national media outlets (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman theorizes that our recent pattern of economic instability can be traced to a glut of accumulated wealth chasing too few viable investments: On the surface, we seem to have had a remarkable run of bad luck. First there was the housing bust, and the banking crisis it triggered. Then, just as the worst seemed to be over, Europe went into debt crisis and double-dip recession. Europe eventually achieved a precarious stability and began growing again — but now we’re seeing big problems in China and other emerging markets, which were previously (Read more…)

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: Pirate Party Platform Spotlight (Part 2): Mincome

Poverty is an ongoing and tragic failure of Canadian governance. It has been an issue for so long that it is suspected themajor parties no longer believe they can truly solve the issue. The Pirate Party of Canada does not embrace such uglydefeatism. But what is the solution? It obviously isn’t the current host of welfare programs since they have done nothingto end poverty and may in fact be contributing to keeping people in poverty. The Pirate Party feels that solving thepoverty issue is both achievable and less expensive than relying on a failed welfare system. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Philip Berger and Lisa Simon discuss the health and social benefits of a guaranteed annual income: At the community level, poverty also has deep and lasting impacts — some visible, some not. We’ve seen these visible impacts in Simcoe County Ontario, where one of us works. One in four single-parent families experience moderate or severe food insecurity at some point every year. A family of four receiving Ontario Works would have to spend 93% of their monthly after-tax income on rent and nutritious food alone, leaving little remaining for all other necessary expenses.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Vanessa Houlder reports on the OECD’s call for countries to make far more of an effort to ensure tax compliance among their wealthiest individuals.

- Scott Gilmore discovers the abusiveness of the payday loan industry by accident due to a lender’s confusion between him and an actual borrower: Regulations vary. Manitoba limits prices at $17 for every $100 borrowed. In Ontario it is $21. It sounds reasonable, but that is an annual percentage rate of over 540%, twice the traditional vig charged by loan sharks. Stan Keyes, the former federal cabinet minister (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Roderick Benns interviews Chantelle Scott about the role a basic income could play in fostering business development: Scott says she would have preferred to have been able to take some business courses and learn more before jumping into opening a store – but she couldn’t afford to wait.

“There is pressure when you are on EI or Alberta Works, and there is fear. The programs inhibit job growth because you always know you will lose most of the support if you find a job, and if it is a bad job you are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Crawford Kilian reviews Tom Mulcair’s Strength of Conviction and describes what we can expect out of an NDP federal government as a result: He seems likely to be a very pro-family PM, if only because his own family clearly shaped him that way. (His account of courting and marrying Catherine Pinhas is a lovely, funny slice of social history.) So expect affordable daycare to be in his first budget; but if once-housebound mums then flood into the job market, he may find unemployment rates even higher than they are now.

Also expect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Richard Nisbett comments on the situational determinants of behaviour which are far too often mistaken for merit or accomplishment. Libby Kane points out how increasing inequality and the predictable social segregation which follows makes it harder for the lucky few to see the deprivation that develops around them. And Peter Georgescu makes the case for the corporate elite to work on fighting inequality in its own interest.

- Meanwhile, David Kirp rightly notes that the best way to provide support to people living in poverty is to ask what they need, rather (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Christos Tsiolkas talks to Yanis Varoufakis about the Troika’s appalling contempt for Greek democracy. And Barbara Ehrenreich laments the fact that only well-off people are given any meaningful opportunity to speak about poverty and deprivation – though that should highlight the need for workers to organize to ensure their voices are heard: There are many thousands of people like these – gifted journalists who want to address serious social issues but cannot afford to do so in a media environment that thrives by refusing to pay, or anywhere near adequately pay, its “content (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

Harper campaign (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tavia Grant is the latest to note that the potential for driverless vehicles necessitates some consideration as to how to account for people who currently rely on driving jobs. And Vivek Wadhwa makes the case for a new form of capitalism which isn’t designed to leave people behind: Countries such as India and Peru and all of Africa will see the same benefits — for at least two or three decades, until the infrastructure has been built and necessities of the populations have been met.

Then there will not be enough work even (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz discusses how Greece has been turned into a sacrificial lamb at the altar of austerian economics: Austerity is largely to blame for Greece’s current depression — a decline of gross domestic product of 25 percent since 2008, an unemployment rate of 25 percent and a youth unemployment rate twice that. But this new program ratchets the pressure up still further: a target of 3.5 percent primary budget surplus by 2018 (up from around 1 percent this year). Now, if the targets are not met, as they almost surely won’t (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Child Poverty Worse than During the Depression

The article is about the states, but Canada isn’t far behind.

Children growing up in poor households are likely to lag in their brain development and thereby perform poorly in schools, even if they move in better neighborhoods, a new longitudinal study on child development revealed this week. Examining hundreds of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from a group of children growing up in poor households, researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison discovered that the regional gray matter volume in case study brains was up to 4 percent below the developmental norm for their ages.

We know it’s wrong, but (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Is Greece the Front Line in the War Against Neoliberalism?

The EU is a powerful vehicle for neoliberalism. When democracy in Greece pushes back, we see the length the EU will go to punish and control Greece.

Neoliberalism is inherently anti-democratic. Greece deserves our support. And we need to continue to oppose neoliberalism and the soft fascism in Canada [like C-51] that the Conservative and Liberal coalition have been pushing for decades.

Viewed from either side of the political spectrum, the EU looks like a disaster right now:

The conservatives are proven correct about the way the EU takes away national sovereignty: The Greeks voted in a referendum to reject (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Friday reading.

- Matthew Melmed examines how poverty early in life is both disturbingly widespread, and likely to severely affect a child’s future prospects.

- Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis track the extreme gap in wage growth for CEOs as opposed to workers. Robert Skidelsky argues that we can’t rely on employment relationships to fully address poverty and inequality given the number of current jobs that will be mechanized out of existence before long. But on the bright side, Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on Unifor’s success in achieving significant improvements in wages and schedule predictability for retail (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Paul Rosenberg documents how Bernie Sanders is tapping into widespread public desire and support for more socially progressive policies: Sanders is right to think that Scandanavian socialism would be popular here in the U.S., if only people knew more about it. And he’s right to make spreading that awareness a goal of his campaign. In fact, on a wide range of issue specifics Sanders lines up with strong majorities of public opinion—and has for decades.

You can get a strong sense of this from the results of the “Big Ideas” poll (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Adrian Morrow reports on Al Gore’s explanation as to how the fight against climate change can be economically as well as environmentally beneficial, while CTV points out a new Nanos poll showing that Canadians largely agree with the view that cleaner technology can and should replace dirty fossil fuels. And Gary Mason argues that a summer of drought and wildfires should lead us to pay particularly close attention to climate change in this fall’s election.

- But as per usual, the people making obscene amounts of money from environmental degradation aren’t going (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress makes the case that we can’t afford to risk another term of government neglect by the Harper Cons. Jeremy Nuttall discusses how the Cons’ fixed election date and anti-social economic policies each figure to cause direct damage to Canada’s economy in the course of a downturn. And Michael Harris discusses the utter implausibility of the Cons’ spin on the economic and security alike.

- Meanwhile, Sophia Harris tells the stories of a few of the Canadians already suffering the consequences of an anti-worker government. And Roderick Benns interviews Toni Pickard about the (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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Sheila Block points out the problems with the spread of low-paying, precarious jobs. And PressProgress fact-checks the CFIB’s attempt to make as many workers’ lives as precarious as possible by suppressing minimum wages and standards.

- But Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports that Ontario’s provincial government is making matters worse by handing millions of dollars to the same temp agencies who are most aggressively flouting employment standards laws. And the Star warns of the need to ensure that Toronto’s plan to fight poverty actually leads to action.

- Meanwhile, Ezra Klein points out the importance (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…)