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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: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Robert Reich discusses how our economic system is set up to direct risk toward the people who can least afford to bear it (while also directing the spoils to those who need them least): Bankruptcy was designed so people could start over. But these days, the only ones starting over are big corporations, wealthy moguls, and Wall Street.

Corporations are even using bankruptcy to break contracts with their employees. When American Airlines went into bankruptcy three years ago, it voided its labor agreements and froze its employee pension plan.

After it emerged (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- David Graeber writes that unfettered capitalism will never tame itself, but will instead need to be countered by a sufficiently strong counter-movement to seriously question its underpinnings. And Thomas Frank follows up with Graeber about the warped incentives facing workers as matters stand now: I think the spotlight on the financial sector did make apparent just how bizarrely skewed our economy is in terms of who gets rewarded and for what. There was this pall of mystification cast over everything pertaining to that sector—we were told, this is all so very complicated, you (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Atkins highlights how public policy and corporate strategy have both instead been directed toward squeezing every possible dime out of the public: The less noticed but potentially more consequential way that policymakers across the industrialized world set about accomplishing this goal was to push their middle classes to invest their wealth into assets, especially stocks and real estate, then use the levers of public policy to inflate the values of those assets in order to disguise the inevitable declines in wages. There was also a concerted effort to hide wage losses by (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Joe Conason discusses the increasingly widespread recognition that inequality represents a barrier to growth. And Heidi Moore takes a look at Thomas Piketty’s place in making that point: This is a deep point. Many American households, if they are lucky, will grow their wealth at the same rate as the economy. But, because the wealthy are growing their fortunes at a much faster rate, no one else can ever catch up.

Let’s repeat that: no one else can ever catch up.

This is where Piketty adds more nuance: it’s not just inequality of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Mitchell Anderson discusses Canada’s woeful excuse for negotiations with the oil sector – particularly compared to the lasting social benefits secured by Norway in making the best of similar reserves: Digging through the numbers, it seems Norway is considerably more skilled at negotiation. By charging higher taxes and investing equity ownership in their own production, the Norwegian taxpayer was paid $46.29 BOE in 2012. That same year, the U.K. taxpayer realized only $20.08 per BOE — less than half as much.

What about Canada? Much of our production is bitumen, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Matthew O’Brien is the latest to pick up on the connection between pre-transfer income equality, redistribution and sustainable economic growth: Redistribution overall helps, and at least doesn’t harm, growth spells. That’s because the positive effects of less inequality add to or offset the negligible, or negative, effects of redistribution itself. When redistribution is in the bottom 75 percent, these positive effects are the only ones, and growth lasts longer. And when redistribution is in the top 25 percent, these positive effects make up for the negative ones from taxing-and-transferring so much—it’s a statistically (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: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Reich laments the indecency of gross inequality (and the economic policies designed to exacerbate it): (F)or more than three decades we’ve been going backwards. It’s far more difficult today for a child from a poor family to become a middle-class or wealthy adult. Or even for a middle-class child to become wealthy.

The major reason is widening inequality. The longer the ladder, the harder the climb. America is now more unequal that it’s been for eighty or more years, with the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of all developed nations. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ellen Roseman writes about the need to recognize the value of public services – and to ensure that they’re properly funded: Canadians value their high-quality public services, such as education and health care. Many understand that public services democratize consumption and help tame the market forces leading to income inequality.

Yet they still fall prey to the false promises of politicians who say tax cuts won’t change anything and may even improve their lives. In the book, economist Hugh Mackenzie urges readers to think their way through the day, making a note (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Economist discusses research by Miles Corak and others on intergenerational inequality. And interestingly, other studies seem to suggest Corak has actually underestimated the barriers to social mobility: THE “Great Gatsby curve” is the name Alan Krueger, an economic adviser to Barack Obama, gave to the relationship between income inequality and social mobility across the generations. Mr Krueger used the phrase in a 2012 speech to describe the work of Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa, who has shown that more unequal economies tend to have less fluid societies. Mr Corak (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that to end your weekend.

- Daniel Goleman writes about the role of wealth in undermining empathy: (I)n general, we focus the most on those we value most. While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work. The financial difference ends up creating a behavioral difference. Poor people are better attuned to interpersonal relations — with those of the same strata, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Kershaw highlights what’s most needed to support Canada’s younger generations: Even with all this personal adaptation, most in Gen X and Y can’t work their way out of the time and income squeeze when they start families. Since two earners bring home little more today than what one breadwinner often did in the 1970s, we’ve gone from 40 hour work weeks to closer to 80 hours. The result? Generations raising young kids are squeezed for time at home. They are squeezed for income because housing prices are nearly double, even though (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Julian Beltrame writes about the reality that Canada has multiple workers available to fill every job – with an assist from Erin Weir: The case for job shortages in Canada became thinner Tuesday with the most recent data showing vacancies actually fell to 200,000 at the start of the year, meaning there were 6.5 unemployed workers chasing each opening.…“This is a striking low job vacancy number and it really casts doubt on this idea that we have a labour shortage,” said Erin Weir, a labour economist with the United Steelworkers union.

(Read more…) think most of this idea of labour shortages is based on anecdotes from the business community. They might have a different definition of a labour shortage. Employers might believe that if they can’t get the employees they want at the wages they are prepared to offer — that’s a . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Stephen Maher points out why we shouldn’t believe the Cons for a second when they claim to care about cracking down on offshore tax evasion: The top level of Canadian society is a small club, and it includes politicians. The people who run the country are on excellent terms with the business people who squirrel away money in offshore tax havens.

Shea’s meaningless tough talk was prompted by a CBC report that said Saskatchewan lawyer Tony Merchant has $1.7 million in a Cook Islands bank. Merchant’s wife, Pana, was appointed to the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman discusses how a myopic focus on slashing taxes and services figures to cheat future generations out of desperately-needed social structure: You don’t have to be a civil engineer to realize that America needs more and better infrastructure, but the latest “report card” from the American Society of Civil Engineers — with its tally of deficient dams, bridges, and more, and its overall grade of D+ — still makes startling and depressing reading. And right now — with vast numbers of unemployed construction workers and vast amounts of cash sitting . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that to end your Saturday.

- Bill Curry breaks the news of the Cons’ next round of public service slashing – with Canada Revenue Agency employees whose work far more than pays for itself once more looming as one of the main targets of a government determined to ease the way for tax evasion and avoidance.

- Jodie Sinnema reports on the Parkland Institute’s ideas for a more progressive tax system in Alberta. And it’s particularly worth noting that Albertans themselves recognize the value of fair taxes even as their government continues to insist on the need to

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chrystia Freeland points out why productivity doesn’t provide an accurate picture of economic development if it merely results in increased inequality rather than shared benefits: Productivity and innovation, the focus of policy makers and business leaders, no longer guarantee widely shared prosperity. “Digital technologies are different in that they allow people with skills to replicate their talents to serve billions,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said. “There is really a drastic winner-take-all effect because every industry is becoming like the software industry.” Classical economic theory isn’t entirely wrong. The danger isn’t — as it was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: The litmus test

It’s now the official rule of thumb for Canadian journalists: if the Harper Cons aren’t attacking you for having the nerve to point out their falsehoods, then you’re not doing your job.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Dennis Gruending writes about the importance of Edgar Schmidt’s whistleblowing against unconstitutional legislation: Schmidt says that he has over a period of years raised concerns about what he considers the department’s flawed practices. He has done that through various official channels, up to the deputy minister level — in both Liberal and Conservative governments. He says he has never received a satisfactory response and that he has gone to court as a matter of last resort.

Schmidt says the consequences of the department’s failure to act appropriately are serious. The state should be

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Murray Dobbin writes about the significance of Idle No More as a shift away from the presumption that First Nations’ interests are represented solely by elected officials: There are some fascinating similarities between the Idle No More phenomenon and the Occupy movement. Both reflect a political dualism: they are focused on the lack of democracy, justice and equality for ordinary people and they are implicitly (and with Idle No More explicitly) telling conventional movement organizations that are supposed to speak for them that they have failed. And it should come as no

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Chrystia Freeland discusses the developing view that inequality can serve to stifle growth and development, while more equitable tax systems and social supports can encourage them:Set aside any moral or polit… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Christopher Curtis and Stephen Maher break the news that the Cons have falsified donation records, claiming donations to their Laurier-Sainte-Marie riding association from individuals who deny ever making contributio… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Bill Curry reports on the Cons’ latest public-sector slashing. But there hasn’t yet been much discussion of the most alarming number: upwards of 30% of the Cons’ cuts are coming from the Canada Revenue Agency… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links