Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Rick Salutin discusses how corruption has become endemic in the global economy as an inevitable consequence of me-first values:
You wouldn't have those CEO pig-outs absent neo-liberalism's moral model: get rich not just quick but hugely. As Kevin O'Leary loves saying, and CBC plasters on its promos: God put us here to get rich. Note it's a public broadcaster where he barks that and no one contests it. (I consider Amanda Lang's ripostes pro forma.)

Since there's no counter model (excluding, maybe, the pope) it becomes almost embarrassing not to grab for all you can get, legality be damned. The mentality seeps into areas like pro sports and the World Cup, with PED corruption, game fixing -- and trickles down to kids. There's also a sort of pre-emptive political corruption, where leaders like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have their eye on the vast returns available after they leave office, through their own foundations, etc., as long as they don't offend the corporate titans who are the donors. But none of it would thrive without the grotesque, tantalizing wealth inequalities that equate with neoliberalism.

Why anyone thought privatizing huge chunks of public wealth and letting the profit motive slither all over them would mean less corruption evades me, along with thinking Ontario's Liberals are the beginning and end of the problem. Corruption may always be with us but it comes in different forms. We're currently driving the globalization-privatization model right off a cliff.
- Meanwhile, Jacques Leslie takes note of Gabriel Zucman's work on the widespread abuse of tax havens. And in a sign of just how thoroughly the service-to-the-rich is becoming entrenched, CBC reports on the latest WikiLeaks revelations - showing Canada among a group of countries negotiating an agreement to prevent governments from reining in financial-sector abuses.

- In case there was any doubt that fair tax increases can form part of a viable electoral strategy, Linda McQuaig argues that Ontario's recent experience - featuring both high-income surtaxes implemented in a minority provincial Parliament, and a decisive election defeat for the party insisting on cuts all around - should put that to rest.

- Stephen Maher reports on impending legal challenges to the Unfair Elections Act. But Leslie MacKinnon reminds us that the Cons will doggedly fight voting rights in any form and in the most intrusive way possible - most recently by waiting until four by-elections were in full swing before seeking a stay of a ruling extending voting rights to Canadians living abroad.

- James Hutt writes about the dangers of increasingly privatized health care. And Iglika Ivanova responds to some anti-teacher spin from B.C.'s Liberal government by pointing out that teachers - like most public servants - have been receiving far less than their fair share from economic growth.

- Finally, Wade Rowland makes the case that a stronger CBC would do wonders for all kinds of broadcasters in Canada.

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