Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Yanis Varoufakis makes the case for an international progressive political system to ensure that social progress doesn't stop at national borders:
(T)raditional political parties are fading into irrelevance, supplanted by the emergence of two new political blocs.

One bloc represents the old troika of liberalization, globalization, and financialization. It may still be in power, but its stock is falling fast, as David Cameron, Europe’s social democrats, Hillary Clinton, the European Commission, and even Greece’s post-capitulation Syriza government can attest. 

Trump, Le Pen, Britain’s right-wing Brexiteers, Poland’s and Hungary’s illiberal governments, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are forming the second bloc. Theirs is a nationalist international – a classic creature of a deflationary period – united by contempt for liberal democracy and the ability to mobilize those who would crush it. 

The clash between these two blocs is both real and misleading. Clinton vs. Trump constitutes a genuine battle, for example, as does the European Union vs. the Brexiteers; but the two combatants are accomplices, not foes, in perpetuating an endless loop of mutual reinforcement, with each side defined by – and mobilizing its supporters on the basis of – what it opposes. 

The only way out of this political trap is progressive internationalism, based on solidarity among large majorities around the world who are prepared to rekindle democratic politics on a planetary scale. If this sounds Utopian, it is worth emphasizing that the raw materials are already available. 

Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution” in the US, Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the UK’s Labour Party, DiEM25 (the Democracy in Europe Movement) on the continent: these are the harbingers of an international progressive movement that can define the intellectual terrain upon which democratic politics must build.
- Katie Allen reports on a new study estimating the cost of public services arising out of poverty in the UK at $78 billion every year.

- Ross Finnie, Kaveh Afshar, Eda Bozkurt, Masashi Miyairi and Dejan Pavlic examine (PDF) the earnings of Canadian post-secondary education graduates, and find a gender gap in every single field studied. And Sarah Kliff discusses how the gap can be traced in substantial part to the existence of inflexible or uncertain hours of work.

- Lawrence Martin comments on the Libs' broken promise to do anything at all to ameliorate the attack on civil rights found in Bill C-51, while noting that the inaction may arise out of pure political cowardice. And the Toronto Star's editorial board makes a strong case for immediate action to rein in the excesses of the surveillance and disruption state.

- Finally, Tom Parkin points out that the Greens' cynical spreading of misleading poll information represents just one more example of the warped incentives created by a first-past-the-post electoral system.

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