Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Oxfam studies the spread of extreme inequality around the globe, as well as the policies needed to combat it:
Oxfam’s decades of experience in the world’s poorest communities have taught us that poverty and inequality are not inevitable or accidental, but the result of deliberate policy choices. Inequality can be reversed. The world needs concerted action to build a fairer economic and political system that values everyone. The rules and systems that have led to today’s inequality explosion must change. Urgent action is needed to level the playing field by implementing policies that redistribute money and power from wealthy elites to the majority.
Despite the fact that market fundamentalism played a strong role in causing the recent global economic crisis, it remains the dominant ideological world view and continues to drive inequality. It has been central to the conditions imposed on indebted European countries, forcing them to deregulate, privatize and cut their welfare provision for the poorest, while reducing taxes on the rich. There will be no cure for inequality while countries are forced to swallow this medicine.
Elites, in rich and poor countries alike, use their heightened political influence to curry government favours – including tax exemptions, sweetheart contracts, land concessions and subsidies – while blocking policies that strengthen the rights of the many...This undermines investment in sectors, such as education, healthcare and small-scale agriculture, which can play a vital role in reducing inequality and poverty.

The massive lobbying power of rich corporations to bend the rules in their favour has increased the concentration of power and money in the hands of the few.
- Meanwhile, Jeremy Runnalls points out that North Dakota is ensuring some real public benefit from resource exploitation by using increased royalty income on both a public wealth fund, and investments in renewable energy.

- Joe Friesen reports that despite the Cons' bluster about reining in abuse of the temporary foreign worker program, they've continued to allow an increase in the number of low-skilled positions filled with workers treated as disposable. And Bill Curry notes that the Cons' latest dodge is to base enforcement on provincial employment laws - meaning that as long as understaffed provincial enforcement agencies can't expose wrongdoing, employers will be able to keep abusing their workers with the federal government's approval.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh discusses what universal child care means for working women. And Martin Regg Cohn slams the Cons for instead pushing an income splitting scheme which is unfair both to the families who actually need better access to child care, and to provinces who have tied themselves to the federal tax system.

- Finally, Alice Funke examines the nomination process now playing out within Canada's federal parties, and finds that a fixed election date seems to have resulted in a large number of contested nominations.

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