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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Pugh argues that we should take a serious look at a basic income, while Livia Gershon examines how even a small amount of guaranteed income has made an immense difference in the lives of families in one North Carolina town. And Walter Frick observes that strong social supports are exactly what people need to be able to take entrepreneurial risks: In a 2014 paper, Olds examined the link between entrepreneurship and food stamps, and found that the expansion of the program in some states in the early 2000s increased the chance (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ryan Meili reminds us of the harmful health impacts of inequality. And Susan Perry discusses the effect of inequality on health in the workplace in particular: The rise in income inequality over the past three decades or so is taking a major toll on the general health of American workers — and not just because stagnant or falling wages have made it increasingly difficult for many workers to afford high-quality health care.

For, as a commentary published recently in the American Journal of Public Health points out, income inequality has also been (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Kendra Coulter discusses the connection between human treatment of animals and humans: Close to home and around the world, working class and poor people are really struggling. In countries like Canada, unemployment and underemployment persist. We have been told that corporate tax cuts would create jobs, yet many of the few positions now available provide only poverty wages and part-time hours. Globally, over two billion people try to live on less than two dollars a day. In much of the global south, people face a “choice” between poverty wages in factories, or poverty (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joe Gunn reminds us that ignoring the issue of poverty won’t make it go away. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a national campaign demanding a plan to deal with poverty at the federal level.

- Roderick Benns discusses the prospect of a guaranteed annual income with Wayne Simpson. And Whitney Mallett is the latest to look in depth at how the successful Mincome basic income plan might spread much further: Critics of basic income guarantees have insisted that giving the poor money would disincentivize them to work, and point to studies that show ​a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ryan Meili examines why Craig Alexander of the TD Bank is calling for a move toward greater income equality in Canada: The OECD reports that income inequality is at the highest level in 30 years, and that economic growth has been slowed by as much as 10 per cent in some countries as a result. A 2014 IMF study showed that redistributive policies through tax and transfers not only do no harm to the economy, but can improve performance in the long-term. In fact, it appears that public investments in child care and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses the close connection between the energy sector and inequality in Canada – with the obvious implication that policies dedicated to unduly favouring the former will inevitably produce the latter:  (T)he real story from last week’s Stats Can report isn’t that Canada is turning the tide on inequality, but that the energy sector is a key driver of income inequality in Canada. Massive investment in the oil sands has benefited the wealthiest earners to the exclusion of most other Canadians, and those immense gains have simply been slightly reduced from their (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jonas Fossli Gherso discusses the unfortunate (and unnecessary) acceptance of burgeoning inequality even by the people who suffer most from its presence. And Ryan Meili interviews Gabor Mate about the ill health effects of an economic system designed to keep people under stress: (T)he very nature of the system in which people live their lives is a significant source of illness. Now there are obvious factors like environmental pollution, toxins, and then of course there are the social determinants of health that you write about in A Healthy Society: the impact of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Shannon Gormley points out that human rights are meaningless in the face of a government which claims the entitlement to strip people of their humanity – which is exactly what the Cons are setting out to do: (W)hen Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced this year that, “Citizenship is not a right, it is a privilege,” most human rights advocates couldn’t take him seriously. He may as well have declared that the curvature of the earth is merely an optical illusion and the world is indeed flat, or that the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Geoff Stiles writes that instead of providing massive subsidies to dirty energy industries which don’t need them (and which will only have more incentive to cause environmental damage as a result), we should be investing in a sustainable renewable energy plan: (W)hereas countries such as Norway have gradually reduced…subsidies as their oil industry matured, at the same time maintaining one of the highest royalty rates in the world, Canada has allowed its subsidies to remain at a relatively high level while many provinces have actually decreased royalties on oil company profits.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Deirdre Fulton discusses the UN’s 2014 Human Development Report, featuring recognition that precarious jobs and vulnerable workers are all too often the norm regardless of a country’s level of development or high-end wealth. And as Dylan Matthews points out (h/t to David Atkins), the lack of worker benefits from increased corporate wealth figures to make a guaranteed annual income into a logical solution: So here’s my takeaway: a negative income tax or basic income of sufficient size would, by definition, eliminate poverty. We still don’t know if there’d be much of a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Livio Di Matteo discusses the wasted opportunity to improve Canada’s health care system through concerted national investments. And Ryan Meili asks who will provide future direction now that the Cons have scrapped the Health Council of Canada: Now we see the federal government making a bad situation worse by walking away from the process of rebuilding a national health system entirely instead of negotiating a more robust agreement with targets and timelines for innovation and cost-savings.

The elimination of the Health Council only further underlines this movement away from national planning for (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ian Welsh discusses the connection between one’s view of human nature and one’s preferred social and economic policies – while noting that policies themselves serve to shape behaviour: The fact is this: incentives work.

The second fact is this: using strong incentives is usually idiocy, because they do work.

What happens with incentives is that people’s behaviour is warped by them.  A normal doctor who does not get paid more per test he orders, orders less tests.  A doctor who owns the facility which does the testing, does more tests.  (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Nick Kristof writes that the growing gap in income reflects a similarly growing gap in social perception – and that there’s plenty of need to reduce both: There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach. … There may be neurological biases at work. A professor at Princeton found that our brains sometimes process images of people who are poor or homeless as if they were (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bill Kerry writes that extreme inequality serves to reinforce itself – and points out what needs to be done to counter the temptation to kick others down: One of the major difficulties in tackling inequality is the way it coerces many people into accepting and even promoting it. In a steep social hierarchy people will often choose to shore up their own precarious social position by kicking down on poorer, weaker folk rather than challenging the richer more powerful folk above them.…So what do we do about it?  Well, it’s quite straightforward if not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ryan Meili highlights the need for a plan to address poverty – rather than the customary bromides about a rising tide lifting all boats: Elimination of poverty requires more than a growing economy; it requires a dedicated plan. When more jobs are available, some people’s living conditions improve quickly. However, the accompanied increase in cost of living can send some families into deeper poverty than before, a rising tide that swamps the smaller craft. And that continued and deepening poverty costs us all dearly.

As most provinces have realized (all but BC and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Economist takes a look at the effect of international trade agreements – and confirms the long-held concern that the erosion and non-enforcement of labour standards consistently follows the signing of government suicide pacts: Some results are rather unsurprising. Countries with better civil liberties tend to have higher labour standards. Countries in the OECD, which are richer, do better than those outside (only one OECD member, Turkey, has a score less than 15). But other results in the paper are alarming. During the 1980s and 1990s, the labour-rights index fell precipitously (see (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The CP reports on Suzanne Legault’s much-needed warning about the Cons’ secrecy in government: In a closed-door session with dozens of bureaucrats Thursday, Suzanne Legault cited a series of novel measures she says are damaging an already tottering system.

“I am seeing signs of a system in crisis, where departments are unable to fulfil even their most basic obligations under the act,” Legault told the group.

As an example, she cited a directive in April this year from the Treasury Board warning bureaucrats to steer clear of ministers’ offices when looking for documents (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne comments on the biggest of the Cons’ many lies about the role and capacity of the federal government: Canada’s $18.7-billion deficit has (its) roots in failed economic policies, decisions made before the world financial crisis, including reckless corporate tax cuts.

Remember, because the Conservatives would like us to forget, that this is a government that inherited $13 billion in surpluses.

They quickly emptied the cupboard with one tax cut after another.

Harper’s deficit has become, in many ways, a manufactured and convenient bogeyman. Bogeymen are useful especially when your goal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – Super Happy Mega Fun Pundit Navel-Gazing Post

I’ll have plenty more to add in later posts about the opportunities the Saskatchewan NDP holds under Cam Broten’s leadership. But before this weekend’s convention is too far in the rear-view mirror, I’ll take a few minutes to assess my own analysis of the leadership campaign.

And I’d like to think I had my share of successes.

My first-ballot best guess numbers were closer to pegging the candidates’ positioning than any other poll or source, getting within 3% of each of the candidates’ support levels. And my first-ballot analysis was on target in identifying exactly what Cam Broten needed to

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – Super Happy Mega Fun Pundit Navel-Gazing Post

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – The Dramatic Conclusion

After the first ballot results were announced yesterday, I pointed out the 20% net margin of support that Cam Broten needed to turn a close first-ballot result into a narrow win. And that turned out to be exactly what materialized: of the 2,393 votes cast initially for either Trent Wotherspoon or Erin Weir, the final result showed 18% attrition, with 51% to Broten and 31% to Ryan Meili – leading to Broten’s election as the Saskatchewan NDP’s new leader.

But in retrospect, there was another, even closer vote comparison which may have hinted at the same end result.

Notwithstanding an

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – The Dramatic Conclusion

Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: And The Leader Is…

By a very tight margin, of 44 votes, the new leader of the Saskatchewan NDP is Saskatoon-Massey Place MLA. Cam Broten.

Broten edged out first ballot leader, Ryan Meili, as mentioned by a mere 44 votes; which shows that the bulk of Trent’s supporters found their way into Cam’s camp. Cam’s speech thanked his fellow candidates, emphasizing the roles he hopes all of them will play in the next election and the hopes of seeing them all in the front bench in the next NDP caucus and government.

Cam also appealed to non-supporters, calling on the need for their vision

. . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: And The Leader Is…

Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: First Ballot Results

And now for something completely different, we go from talking about the campaign to talking about the convention.

As of 1:30pm, the first ballot results are in and are posted as follows:Results: 8,719 ballots castCam Broten: 2942Ryan Meili: 3384Trent Wotherspoon: 2120

The 279 vote discrepancy is dependent on either Erin Weir votes since he still appeared on the first ballot; or by your various “spoiled” or other such errors that occur.

Erin was able to take to the stage as the first candidate to withdraw; and had one final chance to showcase his wit with a

. . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: Convention Update: First Ballot Results

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – First Ballot Analysis

The Saskatchewan NDP leadership’s first-ballot results and ensuing developments are in. And while the balloting may be somewhat shorter than it could have been due to Trent Wotherspoon’s withdrawal, there’s still plenty of intrigue surrounding the second and final ballot.

The safest assumption may be to assume that down-ballot voting will mirror first-ballot results – in which case Ryan Meili will of course emerge ahead. And the absence of any endorsements in Cam Broten’s favour will leave him without an obvious source of additional momentum to try to sway the few voters participating today (with only about 700 additional votes

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – First Ballot Analysis

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – Convention Decision Points

With upwards of 70% of eligible voters having already cast a ballot (and plenty of question as to how many more will do so), it’s anybody’s guess as to whether new votes today will substantially influence the results of Saskatchewan’s NDP leadership race.

But for those still looking for a point of reference in deciding, I’ll offer a reminder that it’s possible to learn important lessons about a candidate by seeing how well he manages a public showcase whose planning is entirely under his campaign’s control. And so while I don’t expect to see any of the candidates radically change

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr – Convention Decision Points

Accidental Deliberations: #skndpldr Roundup

With this weekend’s convention approaching, we’re starting to see plenty more media coverage of the Saskatchewan NDP leadership race. So for those who haven’t yet voted (or those looking for some new material generally), there’s discussion on offer through:- Metro’s brief profiles of each of Cam Broten, Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon;- Murray Mandryk’s latest, features each of the candidates defining their view of leadership; and- assorted other radio and TV appearances by the candidates (which I’ll post if links are available).

Meanwhile, Wotherspoon’s campaign is nicely prepared for the convention, having already circulated