Thursday, January 07, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Justin Fox explores why it took the economic field in general (with some noteworthy exceptions) decades to start dealing with burgeoning inequality. And Bryce Covert discusses the latest study showing that in looking beyond tax data alone, the level of inequality is even worse than it's appeared in past research.

- Meanwhile, Rebecca Rosen traces the links between increased inequality and extended hours of work. And Jamie Klinger notes that Uber and other businesses designed to avoid normal employment relationships may only make matters worse.

- Wendy Glauser, Joshua Tepper and Jill Konkin offer some suggestions to address the alarming health inequities between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

- Derrick O'Keefe duly criticizes the Libs' insistence on pushing ahead with an eleven-figure arms deal with Saudi Arabia with no regard for its ongoing human rights abuses. 

- Finally, Charles Taylor talks to Sonali Campion about the dangers of exclusionary themes which are all too easily used for political advantage:
Democracies need a very strong sense of common goals, more than autocracies, because they have to call on citizens to show solidarity, to discuss together, so there has to be some sense they are talking about the same thing or trust begins to fall apart. In that sense they need what I call a “political identity”. This is a mixture of key principles, such as democracy and human rights, and something particular to the individual state.

These elements of the political identity can easily be turned into measures of exclusion: “these other people don’t really fit”, “they aren’t part of the ethnic background of this particular national project”, or “they don’t really seem to accept the basic principles of our democracy”. In many cases these are not really founded judgements, but they are still very powerful because as long as people perceive things in that way it seems right to exclude certain groups, or make special demands of them – for example that they assimilate totally.

So this of course is something that democracies can’t very easily cope with because it produces great rifts, even a sense of second-class citizenship, which clashes with the ethic that we include everyone. So people have to be willing to consider redefining their political identity in order to really bring together the degree of diversity that actually exists on the territory.

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