Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- thwap highlights the cycle of austerity, stagnation and decline that's marked the past few decades across much of the developed world. And Thomas Walkom recognizes that the economy is actually one of the Cons' most glaring weaknesses - at least, if one thinks that workers count for anything:
The truth is that Canada’s economy is not doing well. Official unemployment may be hovering around the 7 per cent mark (last month it was 6.9 per cent). But official unemployment figures do not take into account those who are underemployed or who have simply given up looking for work.

As United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir notes, the proportion of Canadian adults with jobs is no better now than it was in 2009, during the worst of this recession.
Which is another way of saying that job growth under this government hasn’t kept up with population growth.
(T)he world is also going through a long cyclical slump, one in which consumers don’t have money to spend and businesses are afraid to invest. In this kind of world, Ottawa’s focus on fiscal austerity — on pulling government money out of the economy — only makes matters worse.

Second, the government is systematically taking aim at anything, from employment insurance to unionization, that keeps wages up. The Dickensian notion here is that full employment can be achieved only if most of us are willing to work for peanuts.
For Harper, all of this is shaping up as a major political problem. The economy is not improving significantly. Eventually, voters will begin to assign blame.
- But then, unpaid work certainly seems to be burgeoning under the Cons (with help from provincial governments who don't address the spread of unpaid internships). And Andrew Cash is working to ensure that employers can't exploit students as unpaid labour.

- Ross Gittins discusses the rise of rent-seeking in Australia - and the zero-sum game of having all kinds of corporate actors lobbying for preferential treatment.

- Finally, pogge is rightly critical of the combination of secret proceedings and non-disclosure when people are branded as suspected terrorists under Canada's security certificate system.

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