Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The CCPA looks at Statistics Canada's latest income data and finds that inequality has been growing steadily across the country over the past few decades. The Canadian Labour Congress notes that corporate tax cuts have led to cash hoarding rather than increased jobs or productivity. Needless to say, the Village requests in all seriousness that observers not draw a connection between the two or any associated economic theory.

- Meanwhile, George Monbiot comments on how the removal of a privileged class from society at large serves to explain the disconnect between the wealthy and mere ordinary citizens:
In the Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt explains that the nobles of pre-revolutionary France "did not regard themselves as representative of the nation, but as a separate ruling caste which might have much more in common with a foreign people of the same society and condition than with its compatriots".

Last year the former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren wrote something very similar about the dominant classes of the US: "the rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it."

Secession from the concerns and norms of the rest of society characterises any well established elite. Our own ruling caste, schooled separately, brought up to believe in justifying fairytales, lives in a world of its own, from which it can project power without understanding or even noticing the consequences. A removal from the life of the rest of the nation is no barrier to the desire to dominate it. In fact, it appears to be associated with a powerful sense of entitlement.

So if you have wondered how the current government can blithely engage in the wholesale transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, how its frontbench can rock with laughter as it truncates the livelihoods of the poorest people of this country, why it commits troops to ever more pointless post-colonial wars, here, I think, is part of the answer. Many of those who govern us do not in their hearts belong here. They belong to a different culture, a different world, which knows as little of its own acts as it knows of those who suffer them.
- Wendy Stueck reports that HD Mining is withdrawing some of its temporary foreign workers after having been required to provide information about the Canadian workers it rejected for the same jobs. But it remains to be seen whether that's an admission of guilt, or a threat not to bother pursuing profit if it has to pay fair wages in the process.

- Finally, Saskatchewan's federal electoral boundaries commission has released its final report - featuring some changes from the first set of proposed ridings, but not from the principle of urban communities of interest.


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