Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hakan Bengtsson offers some useful discussion about the challenges facing Sweden's social democratic system - as the same factors being used to prevent the development of a more equitable society in Canada and elsewhere are being cited as excuses to tear down the model many countries aspire to reach:
The Swedish experience has shown that deregulation has not resulted in a considerable number of non-profit alternatives, as many people believed and which they used as an argument for change. Instead, it has meant the emergence of private companies, large corporate groups and venture capitalists in the Swedish welfare system. This was hardly envisaged when these “reforms” were discussed and implemented. There is every reason for other countries to study developments in Sweden in this respect. Today a much more stringent regulation of schools and medical and care services is on the agenda. This is, at any rate, what the labour movement is currently discussing and proposing.
The future of the welfare state touches on, by implication, how much of our consumption should be handled by individual citizens in their private capacity, and how much should be paid for jointly in the public sector and in collective forms. The question of the rate of taxation will have to be discussed. The Swedish welfare model covers many areas and relies on financing via taxation to a considerable extent.

As early as the late 1950s, John Kenneth Galbraith was arguing that a greater proportion of our consumption should be channelled through the public sector rather than disbursed in the private sphere – otherwise the private sector would become rich and the public sector poor. This risk is just as obvious today.
- And Larry Hubich writes about the need to deal with a massive (and growing) income gap in Saskatchewan.

- CBC reports on the Cons' latest attempt to revive lawful access legislation (this time while talking about cyber-bullying instead). Paula Simons recognizes the civil liberties at stake when telecoms are encouraged to hand over sensitive personal information to the state without notice to anybody affected, while David Fraser is working on a thorough review of the bill.

- Finally, Tim Harper and Mohammed Adam both take a moment to highlight Chris Montgomery as the lone person advising the upper echelons of the Cons' leadership who spoke out against the bribery and cover-up carried out by the PMO and its Senate flunkies. But Montgomery's role only highlights the unethical behaviour of the rest of the individuals involved - who can't claim they merely went along with a plan that wasn't questioned by anybody, but who actively labeled a public servant who pointed out its ethical frailties as "the Problem" while pushing ahead with their scheme.

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