Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Edward Keenan weighs in on the role a basic income could play in a job market marked by increasingly precarious work:
I am an enthusiastic supporter of better workplace protections and wages. I have a good, unionized, stable job. I like it. But regulation of work and workplaces isn’t likely adequate to solve the problem we face. No matter how high minimum wages are, they will not help people unable to get a job that pays them. And there are a lot of reasons to think that no matter how good workplace safeguards are, the number of people who can expect to hold a conventional job will continue to drop.
A post-jobs world seems unlikely to be a post-work world. Most people want to be productive, but are forced by economic circumstance to do things they hate doing. If we all had the equivalent of a trust fund, I think most of us would do as many trust fund kids do: we’d throw ourselves into creative and artistic projects, charitable enterprises, politics and community work, entrepreneurship — the fulfilling (and useful) labour that is difficult or risky to depend on financially, and so is now overwhelmingly the province of the privileged.

It is a long-promised science fiction premise: a world in which people are freed from the drudgery of mindless work they hate and able to pursue the things they love. The future’s looming crisis isn’t a lack of jobs; it’s a lack of the income those jobs have traditionally distributed. Solve the latter problem, and the post-job world looks like nothing to fear.
- Meanwhile, Ian Gough points out how a focus on short-term returns and benchmarks prevents us from pursuing upstream policies which could do far more good in the long run.

- Andrew Jackson discusses the damage needless austerity is doing to the global economy. And John Cartwright argues that a push toward renewable energy could do wonders for our economy and our environment alike by freeing us from the twin traps of austerity and fossil fuel dependence.

- Finally, Ralph Surette is rightly livid that the Cons are spending their time and our money building monuments to Stephen Harper rather than a better Canada. But Lana Payne writes that the public is more than ready for change, rather than wanting any part of making the Harper legacy more permanent.

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