Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan writes that reliance on temporary and disposable labour is utterly incompatible with long-term economic development. And Joey Hartman and Adrienne Montani comment on Vancouver's efforts to support a living wage rather than grinding down employment standards.

- Andy Skuce points out that our already-worrisome best estimates as to the effects of climate change may underestimate the damage done as land-based carbon sinks turn into carbon producers. And Charles Mandel reports that this summer's spate of wildfires across Western Canada may become the new normal as droughts become more common.

- Meanwhile, Bill Tieleman highlights the utter foolishness involved in B.C.'s handing over millions of litres of water to private bottlers for next to nothing while trying to impose conservation measures on the public.

- Aaron Wherry asks what purpose the Senate is supposed to serve in light of its failure to do anything to improve two grossly abusive bills in C-51 and C-377. And John Baglow notes that the Senate did find itself entirely willing to trample on the decisions of elected representatives when it came to denying transgender rights.

- Finally, George Monbiot comments on the battle between the financial elite and democracy in Greece and elsewhere:
The IMF is controlled by the rich, and governs the poor on their behalf. It’s now doing to Greece what it has done to one poor nation after another, from Argentina to Zambia. Its structural adjustment programmes have forced scores of elected governments to dismantle public spending, destroying health, education and all the means by which the wretched of the earth might improve their lives.

The same programme is imposed regardless of circumstance: every country the IMF colonises must place the control of inflation ahead of other economic objectives; immediately remove barriers to trade and the flow of capital; liberalise its banking system; reduce government spending on everything bar debt repayments; and privatise assets that can be sold to foreign investors.
The crushing of political choice is not a side-effect of this utopian belief system but a necessary component. Neoliberalism is inherently incompatible with democracy, as people will always rebel against the austerity and fiscal tyranny it prescribes. Something has to give, and it must be the people. This is the true road to serfdom: disinventing democracy on behalf of the elite.

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