Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson discusses the challenge of ensuring that stable jobs are available in Canada:
Good jobs are a central mechanism in the creation of shared prosperity.

What matters for workers is not just being able to find any job but also security of employment, level of pay, working conditions, and the opportunity to develop talents and capacities.

Unfortunately, as has been documented in many studies, the long-term trend in Canada has been towards a much more polarized jobs market in which there has been a disproportionate increase in low pay, precarious jobs, and a concentration of income growth among higher-paid professionals and managers, especially the top 1%.
Many lower wage workers live in families with decent overall incomes, and income from wages is boosted by government programs such as child benefits and unemployment insurance. Still, the numbers show that a  significant minority of Canadians work in jobs which are insecure, and a surprisingly high proportion work in jobs which are low paid or very modestly paid. Indeed, the proportion of low paid workers in Canada, defined as earning less than two-thirds of the median wage, is, at 21.8%, the third highest in the industrialized world, according to the OECD.

Raising wages for lower-paid workers will require boosting minimum wages to at least $15 per hour and widening access to union representation, especially for workers in private sector sales and service jobs. These measures are critical to any realistic strategy to “grow the middle-class.”
- Anna Louie Sussman points out that stagnant wages even in the face of U.S. job growth can largely be traced to a lack of demand for additional labour. Richard Dobbs and Anu Madgavkar write about the UK's backsliding standard of living between generations. And Jim Stanford outlines a possible progressive response to the combination of stagnation and upward redistribution that's come to be treated as our economic norm.

- Andrew Mitrovica argues that a breakdown in trust arising out of the Iraq war paved the way to spread the politics of violence in the U.S. and the Middle East alike. Robert Reich emphasizes the need for Hillary Clinton to recognize the justified spread of anti-establishment sentiment while making the case against the bigoted form on offer from Donald Trump and the Republicans. And Doug Saunders reminds us that the most important problems facing the U.S. are wholly lacking from the Republicans' message.

- Steven Chase examines the connection between the arms industry and think tanks which are regularly put forward as commenters on military purchasing.

- Finally, Tom Parkin discusses how electoral reform can be expected to change the face of Canadian elections - and how a status quo which is easiest for party strategists isn't what's best for the public.

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