- Mariana Mazzucato discusses how inequality and financialization have teamed up to create an economy with little upside and serious risks for most people:
(W)hat should we do in 2015? Financial reform–aimed at bringing finance and the real economy together again–must thus critically first study the facts, not the myths, in the real economy. Periods of longest stable growth in most economies [occur] when medium to large firms have invested their profits in R&D and human capital. What is needed today is long-term committed finance, in the form of public banks (such as German’s KfW or Brazil’s BNDES) and a taxation policy that fosters long-termism, rather than constant tax cuts for speculators. And while taxation policy must be progressive and not regressive[, it's] fundamental to also build those institutions that can continue to negotiate a better deal for labour, in a period in which the profit wage ratio [continues] to [soar]. Trade unions are not the problem, they are the answer–and must of course become the key pillars fighting for innovation led growth rather than the status quo, no matter how much the latter might be good for a select few.- Meanwhile, James Bloodworth writes that inequality in the UK is making social mobility an increasingly distant dream. And the CCPA studies the increased income disparity between CEOs and the rest of us in Canada.
Until we bring together innovation policy, financial reform, and the strengthening of institutions that can fight on the behalf of labour (the wage share of income), we will continue to obsess over ‘fixing finance’, while leaving the real economy as sick as before: rising inequality, many small weak firms, and a few large financialised ones, asking for more and more while giving back less and less. The perfect recipe for the next financial casino and… bust.
- David Reevely discusses research showing a connection between payday lenders, poor health and mortality rates. And Jennie Smash recounts the difficulties facing the "sort-of-poor" who are being left behind in a system designed to direct wealth upward.
- Frank Graves writes about the forces which will shape Canada's federal election in 2015. Mary Agnes Welch reports that Manitoba voters (like many others) would much prefer real services like child care spaces rather than more of the Cons' tax baubles. And Jenny Uechl interviews Naomi Klein about the electoral choices we'll need to make in order to end the continued erosion of our society and our environment.
- Finally, Robert Reich argues that our most important political debates should be focused less on the size of government than the question of who government is intended to serve.