Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Duncan Cameron discusses how the Cons have already taken Canada and the world in exactly the wrong direction. But Murray Dobbin points out that we should be working on how to change things for the better once they're finally removed from office, and has a few noteworthy suggestions:
Ironically, the projection of extremely low economic growth for the foreseeable future actually provides an imposed opportunity to examine what we desperately need to do anyway - begin to put together plans for a sustainable economy, a redefined prosperity that is not based on unfettered growth in the private sector - the economy of stuff.
If ever there was a time to move in this direction it is now - with corporations sitting on over $700 billion in cash which they refuse to invest because their own policy preferences and reckless behaviour has destroyed demand for private goods and services. Perhaps a tax on idle capital would make sense - a declaration by government that if the private sector can no longer allocate capital investment in the interests of the country and its citizens, then we will take some of it back and allocate it ourselves as public investment. It's not that we don't need investment. A no-growth economy is actually a misnomer, for what its advocates are really talking about is a different kind of growth - the kind that only governments can create: mass transit, green energy, a national food strategy, child care, pharma care, home care, culture and anti-poverty programs including affordable housing.
In the end it is all about reclaiming the commons - robbed from us by the one per cent and the perverse ideology of neo-liberalism. Maybe we could begin with a small step in that direction - by reinstating Sunday closing. I know, there are lots of objections (its initial roots in Christianity being one) but imagine there actually being a day when you couldn't buy more stuff. We could bring back an ancient commons tradition: talking to each other.
- Of course, we're still stuck with the Cons for now, with waste, lies and cover-ups all part of a typical day's work. But the fact that this time the lie was explicitly directed at the media should help emphasize why declarations from the Cons' spokesflacks aren't fit to print.

- While Nanos' poll of issues taken verbatim from the Conservative Party website has received far too much attention today, let's take a step back and ask this: what purpose does it serve to merely repeat and entrench the governing party's list of priorities, rather than actually testing what Canadians consider to be most important? (Particularly when Canadians given an open or thorough set of choices tend to have a rather different set of concerns?)

- Finally, Thomas Walkom discusses the CAW/CEP plan for Canada's labour movement to expand its presence well beyond unionized workplaces. And it's worth noting that the right-wing push to slash public services and supports may only offer plenty of opportunity for unions to attract support by picking up some of the slack.

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