- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada's middle class in the lead up to Canada's federal election campaign - and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they're happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what's best for people rather than short-term profits:
Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence - business leaders, financiers, politicians, civil servants - to put the interests of ordinary citizens back at the heart of every decision he or she makes. To borrow from Steve Hilton, David Cameron's former adviser, we need an economy that is "more human".- Kelly Foley and David Green write (PDF) that for all the benefits we can expect from improved education, we shouldn't pretend that it serves as a magic bullet against inequality. And Andrew Jackson points out that the same strength in organized labour needed to fight inequality is itself a key to educational achievement.
After all, what's the point of building a prosperous economy but to ensure a prosperous future for all who live in it? The American political philosopher John Rawls suggests that we encourage those most able to generate wealth so that it can be used to help those who are less fortunate. Call it wealth for a greater purpose. Oxfam wholeheartedly agrees.
We are looking to our leaders - here in the UK and around the world, public and private sector, to find ways to break down structures that perpetuate poverty and keep individuals from realising their full potential in life. That means fair wages to ensure people can live dignified lives and find pride in their work, and investment in essential public services that poor people in particular, depend on. It means more progressive tax systems and cracking down on big companies and billionaires who avoid paying their fair share of tax - here and in poor countries - through complex accounting tricks. It's about properly regulated financial markets that behave with integrity to spur innovation, commerce and enterprise, rather than simply multiply individual bonus pots.
Reducing inequality may seem an impossible task but the rewards are potentially huge - in tackling poverty, improving social cohesion and human well-being.
- Peter Poschen argues we can create good jobs and fight climate change at the same time. And Paul Solotaroff reports on widespread child health problems in one Utah fracking town as a microcosm of the choices we face in weighing oil money against our health.
- Finally, Les Whittington writes about the Cons' efforts to escape accountability for their actions from the media which is supposed to report in the public interest. And Michael Harris wonders what will happen to the Harper Cons if Canadians stop buying the fear they're so focused on peddling.