Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Lana Payne reminds us that wealth will never be fairly distributed without public action to ensure it doesn't get concentrated with the lucky few:
More and more of the income pie is going to the top one per cent — who are soaking up a bigger and bigger share of the benefits of productivity.

According to the Economic Policy Institute in the United States, decades of stagnant wages despite the fact that people are working more productively has become a serious economic problem for the country.

Simply, prosperity needs help getting shared.

Prosperity gets shared when forces such as strong trade unions through collective bargaining and governments through taxation and redistribution policies make it happen. Markets alone, as many economists have argued, do not do this.
Stagnant wages for workers mean there is less demand for goods and services. And this lack of demand is, according to Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, contributing to what he calls the great global malaise. “Those at the top spend far less than those at the bottom. Money moves up, demand goes down.”

Stiglitz says in addition to income inequality, fiscal austerity has also played a significant role in slumping economic growth.
The upside is at least the problem of inequality has been identified.  Like climate change, it has its deniers. But we must forge ahead. The next step, as with climate change, is to develop a plan to deal with it. Let’s get on with it.
- And Ana Sofia Knauf reports that Seattle is leading the way in trying to restore some power to workers against businesses built on precarity.

- Carolyn Shimmin offers some important facts about food insecurity in Canada - including the reality that food bank use (widespread though it is) severely underestimates the scope of the problem. And Ryan Meili interviews Clive Weighill about the influence of social factors on crime and justice:
Ryan Meili: Long before I had a chance to meet you, I quoted you in A Healthy Society. You said we need to get tough on poverty, poor housing, racism, and the social issues that lead us down the road to crime.

Clive Weighill: Some politicians talk about getting tough on crime. I’m saying you don’t just want to get tough on crime, you have to get tough on the issues of poverty, poor housing, disadvantage. People are products of their environment, and if we can’t solve those social issues, we’re not going to solve the big picture in the end. I firmly believe that we have to work on poverty.

RM: It seems the social determinants of involvement in the justice system, social determinants of educational success, it's all the same factors.

As you've said, this means we need to look a little further upstream, looking at getting people out of poverty or making sure that people don't wind up there. What were your thoughts on the recent recommendations from the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction?

CW: They make complete, common sense to me. It's just how to get the will of the public. They have to get behind this.
- Elias Isquith weighs in on the horrific human cost of the lead poisoning caused by Rick Snyder's austerian politics.

- Finally, Monia Mazigh comments on the desperate need for Canada to review - and likely scrap - a no-fly list which is plainly capturing far too many people without any reasonable explanation or basis in fact.

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