Thursday, January 01, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that to start your year.

- Ian Welsh comments on the challenges we face in trying to turn wealth increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few into a better world for everybody:
The irony is that we have, again, produced a cornucopia.  We have the potential to create an abundance society, the world over and eventually off this world.

We have much of the technology necessary, and we could direct our research and development towards the remaining technology we need.

Instead, we rely on markets controlled by oligarchs and central banks captured by oligarchs to make most of our decisions about our future.

We have systematically dis-empowered ourselves. Going from mass conscription armies and industrial warfare and mass markets driven by relatively egalitarian citizen-consumers in democracies, to oligarchies with unrepresentative armies increasingly filled with drones (and effective ground combat drones will be here in 10 to 20 years), surveillance states bordering on police states, and democracies which are hollow, where we can choose from Oligarchical faction one, two or maybe three.  The differences between them, while real, are within the broad agreement to keep giving the rich more.

And so, we come back to, how do we change the direction of our societies?  Our society, for the world is more and more one society.
- And Dacher Keltner discusses the connection between wealth, inequality, and the empathy deficit which offers the most obvious opportunity for improving the society in which we live:

- Meanwhile, Cameron Roberts makes the case for a guaranteed annual income from an environmental perspective. Zoe Williams writes that we should appreciate the ability to benefit from paying our fair share of taxes toward public benefits. And Bernie Sanders nicely summarizes the progressive vision we should be working toward.
- The Star's editorial board writes that we can't expect meaningful social progress in Canada without a federal government willing to work toward it.

- Finally, Paul Adams highlights Preston Manning's eagerness to throw democracy out the window in Alberta as a compelling example of phony right-wing populism designed only to entrench corporate interests. But Owen Jones is hopeful that genuine popular movements are building up which can offer alternatives to business as usual.

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