Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frances Russell writes that NAFTA and subsequent trade agreements are designed to make it difficult for democratic governments to exercise any meaningful authority. And Rowena Mason discusses how the EU-US TTIP is particularly directed toward throwing the public to corporate wolves, while Glyn Moody notes that there are plenty more similar agreements in the works even if the TTIP fails.

- George Monbiot discusses Amanda Lang's interventions on behalf of her business connections as a prime example of how far too much of our media is trying to serve the wealthy rather than questioning power at all.

- Jonathan Sas reminds us why an entrepreneurial government is in everybody's best interest:
A growing body of evidence, and the analyses of scholars like Mazzucato, is starting to open our eyes to the true value of government participation in innovation strategies.

Mazzucato raises concerns that the roles of public and private sectors in countries like Canada are becoming increasingly out of balance, with the “parasitic” private sector capturing most of the benefits of public sector investments, but not adequately reinvesting to fund new waves of innovation. She characterizes a system where the risks are socialized and the rewards privatized.
How will governments rise to the challenges of a highly competitive global marketplace and growing income and wealth inequality? What can be done to continue changing perceptions about who should take and benefit from risks? How do we begin to articulate a clear, common agenda for smart, equitable, and innovation-led economic growth?
Only a different conversation about government’s role in innovation will create a new narrative — one in which Canada is reaching its full potential as a leading investor in the wealth and wellbeing of all its citizens.
- And Hugh Grant, Manish Pandey and James Townsend study the consequences of privatizing public services like hospital laundry, and find that it results in the public incurring widespread costs and losses for no real benefit.

- Finally, Lawrence Martin writes that Thomas Mulcair is absolutely right to challenge Stephen Harper's attempt to sell fear and hate as his election platform

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