Monday, July 04, 2016

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Mark Karlin interviews Richard Wolff about the relationship between unfettered capitalism and poverty:
How is poverty an inevitable by-product of capitalism? Doesn't this make all these charitable drives "to eliminate poverty" disingenuous because it cannot be eliminated in a capitalistic system?
Poverty has always accompanied capitalism (as Thomas Piketty's work documents yet again). As an economic system, it has proven to be as successful in producing wealth at one pole as it is in producing poverty at the other. Periodic "rediscoveries of" and campaigns against poverty have not changed that. Capitalism's defenders, having long promoted the system as the means to overcome both absolute and relative poverty (i.e. to be an equalizing system), now change their tune. They either abandon equality as a social good or goal or else try to avoid discussing poverty altogether.

Why do you see another economic implosion, as we saw in 2008, as inevitable under the current capitalistic economic order in the US?

While "inevitable" is not a word or concept I use, my sense of what has happened in and to the US economy sees reason to believe another 2008-like implosion is quite likely. The reason is this: no real changes have been made in US or global capitalism. Corporate capitalism proved strong enough and its critics weak enough to enable the imposition of austerities as the chief policy response everywhere. So the speeding train of capitalism is "back on track," resuming its rush toward stone walls of excess debt, stagnant mass incomes, capital relocating overseas, etc. The too-big-to-fail and the too-unequal-to-be-sustained have only become bigger and more unequal.
- Beat the Press rightly notes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership serves primarily as protectionism for the rich rather than a means of freeing anything. And LOLGOP argues that Donald Trump offers about the most compelling example possible as to the value of inheritance taxes to prevent previous generations from locking in wealth and power.

- Jon Sanderson discusses how economic deprivation in turn tends to foment distrust and prejudice. And the Vancouver Sun editorial board highlights the need to do more to ensure an adequate supply of housing, while Chris Seto raises the question of what happens to children who rely on school nutrition programs when school is out for the summer.

- Jordan Press reports on a 2015 presentation by federal civil servants of the social and economic benefits of multicultural inclusion - which of course didn't stop the Cons from choosing xenophobia instead in an effort to cling to power. 

- Finally, Bruce Campion-Smith reports on the Libs' scheme to sell off Canada's airports for short-term funding, while Brent Patterson points out just a few of the more glaring problems with that plan. And PressProgress notes that if given its druthers, the Fraser Institute would go as far as to privatize Canada Day.

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