Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Nick Pearce offers an interesting discussion of conception of equality that should be placed at the core of social-democratic thinking - with one goal in particular standing out as demanding further attention:
(S)social democrats would be more self-consciously political in pursuit of their goals, eschewing some (if not all) of the preference for legally-enshrined social policy targets that characterised the New Labour project. Instead, greater weight would be placed on building durable coalitions of support for political ambitions, widening the ground on which to advance their policies and drawing energy from new social movements. Driven by ideological rethinking and future fiscal limits towards a so-called ‘pre-distribution’ agenda, Labour is already opening up – albeit tentatively – new territory in economic policy for fresh ideas and practical coalitions. It should extend that logic more widely into social policy and political reform, thinking through how it can gain the popular support it currently lacks for tackling poverty, reforming the welfare state, and creating more integrated communities. In each of these areas, it has to find ways of converting political weakness into strength, anchoring its ambitions in new institutions, identities and practices, and in political alliances that are oriented towards the future, not given to defence of the crumbling bastions of the past.
- Meanwhile, Ian Welsh's post on how to properly define an economy offers some hints as to the types of institutions and movements which might form key parts of a progressive coalition. But the Cons are going out of their way to show they value an "economy" measured solely in terms of profit and GDP rather than the needs of Canadians.

- Yves Engler writes that CETA is best seen as attacking democratic decision-making for the benefit of monopolist rent-seekers, while Stuart Trew wonders whether the Harper Cons are legally required to make the deal public (notwithstanding their obvious preference to keep it hidden). And David Martin notes a similar corporatist bent in an impending deal between the US and the EU.

- Finally, the Globe and Mail's interactive discussion of inequality in Canada is well worth a look. But I do note that the proposed solutions are rather limited in scope - with a basic annual income for everybody (as distinct from benefits for the working poor and/or workers in precarious jobs) left off the table altogether.

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