Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dani Rodrik suggests that instead of engaging in extended hand-wringing over the collapse of public interest in corporate trade deals, we should instead be working on strengthening domestic social contracts:
The frustrations of the middle and lower classes today are rooted in the perception that political elites have placed the priorities of the global economy ahead of domestic needs. Addressing the discontent will require that this perception is reversed.

If progressive tax policies to reduce inequality are impeded by the mobility of corporations around the world, it should be the latter that gives way, not the former. If countercyclical fiscal and monetary policies are precluded by short-term capital flows, it is finance that should be regulated.

If industrial policies to diversify developing economies are precluded by World Trade Organisation rules, it is trade rules that should be reformed. If domestic labour standards are eroded due to international competition with countries where workers have few rights, it is trade that should bear the brunt.

If foreign investors ask for special protections that shield them from the domestic legal system, the answer should be no. Above all, politicians should stop hiding behind globalisation. The case for structural reforms and other policies should be made on their own merits, rather than because of some putative need to “compete” in global markets.
- Matt Elliott points out the obvious problems in relying on magical assumptions that the private sector can alter the costs of providing necessary public services. And Robert Reich notes that Donald Trump's tax avoidance should offer an important lesson about a tax system designed to further enrich people who already have access to giant pools of money.

- Bill McKibben writes that a charm offensive won't do anything to change the inexorable math of climate change. And David Roberts rightly argues that governments around the globe are falling far short of the level of urgency needed to keep their climate commitments.

- Finally, Thomas Walkom offers his take on the similarities between the Trudeau Libs and the Harper Cons. And Tom Parkin points out how Justin Trudeau is betraying the progressive voters who helped him take power.

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