Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Annie Lowrey reports on the evidence showing that the perpetually-increasing inequality pitched by the right as an economic plan actually serves to damage economic development:
The yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots — and the political questions that gap has raised about the plight of the middle class — has given rise to anti-Wall Street sentiment and animated the presidential campaign. Now, a growing body of economic research suggests that it might mean lower levels of economic growth and slower job creation in the years ahead, as well.

“Growth becomes more fragile” in countries with high levels of inequality like the United States, said Jonathan D. Ostry of the International Monetary Fund, whose research suggests that the widening disparity since the 1980s might shorten the nation’s economic expansions by as much as a third. 
The concentration of income in the hands of the rich might not just mean a more unequal society, economists believe. It might mean less stable economic expansions and sluggish growth.

That is the conclusion drawn by two economists at the fund, Mr. Ostry and Andrew G. Berg. They found that in rich countries and poor, inequality strongly correlated with shorter spells of economic expansion and thus less growth over time.

And inequality seems to have a stronger effect on growth than several other factors, including foreign investment, trade openness, exchange rate competitiveness and the strength of political institutions.
- Campbell Clark documents Jason Kenney's latest jaw-dropping ministerial power grab (which would entitle him to shut anybody out of Canada for purely political reasons and with no accountability whatsoever). And Thomas Walkom discusses the real motivation behind the move to place sole power in the hands of a single minister:
I reckon the real reason for this amendment is not (Terry) Jones at all but (George) Galloway, an engaging — if sometimes infuriating — rapscallion who quit the British Labour Party to found his own and who has long been an ardent supporter of Palestinian rights.

Kenney first tried to bar Galloway for organizing a relief convoy to Gaza, claiming that this constituted support to terrorism. As Mosley noted in his 2010 ruling, that claim wasn’t remotely credible.

A few days after the judgment was handed down, Galloway entered Canada and, as Conservatives gnashed their teeth, went on a triumphant 11-city speaking tour.

Riots did not break out.

The proposed amendment — think of it as the Galloway amendment — would ensure that this never happens again.

Kenney says he wants to consult widely before going ahead. But if he were serious, he would abandon this overly broad approach completely and seek much more circumscribed power instead.
That he is not doing so says volumes.
- Don Lenihan discusses what it means to be a progressive:
For the last two centuries, (progressivism) has been defined by the tension between freedom and equality. While the Right focused on protecting individual freedoms, the Left struggled to balance liberty and equality. As we move into this third stage, a new governance dimension is emerging that cuts across the old Left-Right spectrum. It is defined by the tension between top-down and bottom-up governance, as follows:
We can conclude by saying that, in this third stage, the most progressive governments, organizations and people will be those whose centre of gravity is somewhere in the bottom, left-hand quadrant of the diagram. They are the ones seeking to engage communities of all sorts–geographcial (sic), linguistic, cultural and communities-of-interest–in order to leverage the social captial (sic) within them.
- Finally, Rick Mercer rants about the Cons' continued ad spending. (And the point most worth emphasizing is that the ads are now promoting nothing at all, as any "plan" referred to in the first waves of ads ended years ago to be replaced by a do-nothing government.)

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