Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alison Griswold points out how little systemic information we have about the growing gig economy. And both Scott Santens and Richard Reeves make the case for a basic income to provide financial security where an increasingly precarious labour market won't.

- Meanwhile, Branko Milanovic argues that we may be approaching a reversal of the trend toward inequality - but that if we don't get there through peaceful politics, it may take a major shock like wide-scale war:
The pro-inequality trends will be very hard to overturn during the next generation, but eventually they may be – through a combination of political change, pro-unskilled labour technological innovations (which will become more profitable as skilled labour’s price increases), dissipation of rents acquired during the current bout of technological efflorescence, and possibly greater attempts to equalise ownership of assets (through forms of ‘people’s capitalism’ and workers’ shareholding).  

Now, these are of course the benign factors that, I think, will ultimately set inequality in rich countries on its downward path. But history teaches us too that there are malign factors, notably wars, in turn caused by domestic maldistribution of income and power of the elites (as was the case in the World War I), that can also do the job of income levelling. But they do it at the cost of millions of human lives. One can hope that we have learned something from history and would avoid this destructive path to equality in poverty and death.
- PressProgress highlights the Libs' plans to break their promise to close a stock option loophole. And Steven Chase and Robert Fife report on the compelling evidence that any armoured vehicles Canada sells to Saudi Arabia - with the Libs' approval - will be used to attack civilian targets.

- Brent Patterson summarizes a new paper on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could limit Canada's ability to preserve and manage its fresh water. And Marc Jaccard writes that a full plan to deal with environmental issues such as climate change needs to include regulation alongside "market" solutions.

- Finally, Simon Enoch exposes the Saskatchewan Party's complete failure to do their homework on the costs of privatizing liquor retailing.

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