Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- 24 Hours offers a debate as to whether or not we should pursue a basic income - though it's striking that the "con" case is based almost entirely on a message that a secure income for everybody can't be achieved, rather than any argument that it shouldn't.

- Gabriel Bristow writes about the next battle against austerity, this time arising out of general strikes in Belgium. And Tara Ehrcke muses about what a Canadian equivalent to Syriza could pursue by way of people-friendly policies, while Trish Hennessy looks at the middle-class economics which will likely define our next election campaign.

- Carol Goar examines Mariana Mazzucato's argument that we should value entrepreneurial government:
It takes government-led goal-setting backed up with public funds — Mazzucato calls this mission-based investment — to generate transformative knowledge, spawn technical breakthroughs and improve the economic outlook for everyone, including those at the bottom of the income pyramid. She identified a few such missions.

“I think the green challenge is so overwhelming that it could be a game-changer,” she said. But there are other strong candidates. “Who is thinking about adapting to an aging population? Who is reimaging the labour-intensive personal-care sector?”

The first imperative, Mazzucato acknowledged, is changing public opinion. She is making an all-out effort to debunk the myths underlying the private-sector-good/public-sector-bad mindset...
It is not the specific that interests Mazzucato; it is the idea that governments can pull together multi-talented teams of problem-solvers, spur innovation, marry science and industry and trigger waves of economic growth.

“We have a cartoonish image of the state as a dinosaur,” she says. “In fact, in countries that owe their growth to innovation, it is a key partner of the private sector — and often a more daring one.”
- And Kaylie Tiessen notes that constant corporate tax cuts - whether aimed at big or small businesses - haven't produced any of the promised gains.

- Eve-Lynn Couturier proposes some ways to make municipal revenue more secure. But unfortunately, Brad Wall is headed in the opposite direction, forcing Saskatchewan municipalities to budget based on revenues which he's threatening to withdraw in order to deflect from his government's mismanagement at the provincial level.

- Finally, Derrick O'Keefe describes how the Harper Cons plan to rely on terrorist hysteria as their core message in the lead up to the federal election campaign.

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