Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- In keeping with the theme of my column this week, the Mound of Sound highlights the distinction between a "plutonomy" which serves as the source of easy profits, and a "precariat" which businesses are looking to treat as irrelevant (except when they need a bailout).

- And Ken Georgetti discusses how that distinction fits with the regular attacks on organized labour from the Cons and their provincial cousins: 
The erosion of collective bargaining is linked directly to a growing income gap in our society. Corporate profits are at near or record highs while the wages of Canadians have stagnated for an entire generation. There is a direct relationship between attacks upon unions and a shrinking of the Canadian middle class.

Left to its own devices, free collective bargaining really does work for the common good. Unions have been able to ensure that workers share, at least to some extent, in the corporate profits that they helped create. Unions have been successful in reducing systemic wage gaps in workplaces. Being in a union means better wages for women, workers of colour, aboriginal people and people with disabilities.

The more equal wage structure in unionized workplaces sets wage and benefit standards that spill over into other workplaces. Employees tend to be paid better when they live in communities with unionized workers earning decent wages. Finally, countries with strong labour movements have a larger, more vibrant middle class and achieve greater societal fairness because unions advocate for government policies that benefit all working people, not just their own members.

Our government's heavy-handed interventions in the labour market weaken basic labour rights, and that hurts all middle class Canadians.
- Meanwhile, David Olive points out that austerians are simply exacerbating exactly the problems they claim to want to fix, while also creating longer-term investment deficits that will need to be addressed later.

- Grant Robertson reports on the Cons' willingness to let banks select and fund their own "external complaints bodies", rather than answering to any accountability mechanism anybody whose findings might not be entirely in keeping with the bank's desires.

- Finally, Michael Geist details how CETA is being used to imposed draconian copyright restrictions with little public attention.

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