Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses how we can bring about change in the new year by demanding that our political leaders recognize and use the power of collective action:
Social justice requires a collective response and political action. It is at the root of wonderful nation-building programs like universal health care, the Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security, which act as great equalizers in our society.

Charity will always have its place in society. It reflects an important part of our humanity. It is the same part of us that supports greater collective goals — goals that are more broad-based.
Common interests. Shared purpose. These are still possible in a nation such as Canada. We may have been given every reason to give up on such things, and yet somehow this time of year, I find renewed hope that it is not just possible, but likely.

I believe Canadians want such a country. They just need politicians who believe, too.
- Canadian for Tax Fairness weighs in on the need to reduce inequality through a more fair tax system. And Andrew Jackson calls for a raise for Canadian workers:
(W)ages of permanent workers have risen a bit faster than those of temporary workers, and wages of women have risen a bit faster than those of men. But these differences do not hide the fact that real wages are pretty much flat across the board.

According to the most recent International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Wage Report, average real wages in the advanced economies have stagnated or fallen since the Great Recession, and indeed have fallen significantly in some countries. United States average real wages in 2013 were just above the pre-recession level, and real wages have collapsed in the most hard-hit European economies such as Greece and Spain.

The ILO notes that, across the advanced economies, wages have lagged productivity (the value produced per hour of labour) since 2000, with the result that labour's share of national income, including in Canada, has declined while the share of corporate profits has risen.
(A)n increase in real wages would give a significant needed boost to a slow-growing global economy. They also note that the problem of stagnant wages is compounded by the fact that wage increases are typically distributed very unequally. This contributes to rising debt for the middle-class and rising surplus savings for the most affluent.
A shift to a wage-led growth strategy would, according to the ILO, include significant increases to minimum wages and more government support for unions and the process of collective bargaining.

These items are not exactly high on the policy agenda of most governments, not least that of the Harper government, but continued stagnation in 2014 may yet force some needed re-thinking.
- Zeeshan Aleem comments on the correlation between increasing inequality and lower marriage rates for the less well-off in the U.S.

- Bill Moyers' site takes a look at the stories from 2014 which deserved more attention than they received. And Kathryn May reports that one of those issues is much more familiar in Canada, as a substantial majority of respondents to a poll are concerned about vote suppression in light of Robocon and other attempts to manipulate election outcomes.

- Finally, Stephen Maher notes that we have ample reason to be skeptical about the Cons' self-serving security spin. And PressProgress highlights ten moments from 2014 which encapsulate the Cons' attitude toward the country they govern.

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