Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Bill Gardner discusses the effect of inequality and poverty starting at birth:
There are three important facts packed into this slide. First, the lines stack up in order of increasing age, meaning that older people reported worse health than younger people. Second, all the lines slope downward, meaning that the poorer you were, the more likely you had poor health.

These facts are unsurprising, until you notice how powerful the income effect is. The leftmost point of the youngest (turquoise) line is above the rightmost point of the oldest (purple) line. This means that the poorest teenagers reported themselves as less healthy than rich middle-aged people.
- The Council of Canadians catches Enbridge trying to put off compliance with basic pipeline safety measures - in what's surely an example of the corporate sector adequately managing its own risk by operating under the assumption that, say, a power outage and a natural disaster couldn't possibly happen at once (or based on a common cause):
NEB inspectors discovered that the required back-up power supplies were missing in dozens of pumping stations during an inspection in October 2011, and ordered Enbridge to submit a corrective action plan. Eighteen months later, when Enbridge finally submitted its plan, the company requested that the NEB keep the details secret.
“It is indefensible for Enbridge to delay the installation of safety equipment that should have been in place decades ago. They don’t even seem to grasp why the safety equipment is necessary.”

From the Enbridge cover letter regarding its corrective action plan:

“It is only in the event of a power outage and an emergency situation occurring simultaneously that the alternate power source would be called upon to isolate the station. In that regard, Enbridge still has questions with respect to the need, from a practical perspective, for installing power generation of this nature.”
- Meanwhile, Jessica McDiarmid reports on the combination of deregulation and wage suppression that looks to have contributed to the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion. And Les Perreaux takes a closer look at MMA in particular.

- Cory Doctorow writes that the only safe home burglary is one carried out under the authority of a bank.

- Finally, Stephen Gordon suggests that public training money should be allocated to individual workers, rather than being used solely as a subsidy to employers. And while that policy might create some distortions of its own (with the link between income subsidies and reduced wages looking ripe for employer abuse), it points toward the guaranteed annual income concept which would provide genuine security and choice for Canadians in determining what training or other options to pursue.

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