Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Roshini Nair reviews Jim Stanford's re-released Economics for Everyone, with a particular focus on the need not to give up on the prospect of change for the better:
Although economics might be the dismal science, this book is never dismal in its outlook. While acknowledging that capitalism is the system we have, Stanford insists there is hope for a more humane alternative.

This idea is in contrast to the litany of books that firmly adheres to the idea that we are doomed and that capitalism is our only option -- the sort of morose left-wing acceptance of Margaret Thatcher's declaration "there is no alternative."

There is plenty of (valid) criticism that capitalism has invaded and co-opted different movements and spaces often irreparably, but Stanford never relents from his position. He reminds us that "if the entire history of Homo sapiens to date was a 24-hour day, then capitalism has existed for three-and-a-half minutes." From this wider, long-term perspective, Stanford assures the reader that not all hope is lost.
And Stanford makes a good point that this moroseness is really a byproduct of neoliberalism.

"A central goal of neoliberal economic and social policy has been to alter the fundamental balance of power in the employment relationship, by recreating a broad degree of insecurity and discipline among workers," says Stanford.
- Meanwhile, Jonathan Freedland offers his take on why and how to offer a populist alternative on the left - both for the sake of actually representing the public interest, and to limit the appeal of a dangerous right-wing version.

- Jim Edwards examines what a basic income system might look like in the UK. And Tom Parkin comments on the desperate need for an economic strategy which doesn't leave out low-income citizens.

- Jason Fekete and Lee Berthiaume report on the $9.5 billion in budgeted money the Cons allowed to lapse in order to claim a single-year surplus for electioneering purposes. And Cameron MacIntosh points out the millions in First Nation funding being withheld.

- Finally, Canadian for Tax Fairness' study of the problems with the Canada Revenue Agency deserves plenty of attention. But so far, the main response to the revelation that our public tax authority is serving political ends rather than actually collecting revenue seems to have been an attempt to shoot the messengers. 

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