Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Piketty discusses our choice between developing models of global trade which actually produce positive results for people, or fueling the fire of Trump-style demogoguery:
The main lesson for Europe and the world is clear: as a matter of urgency, globalization must be fundamentally re-oriented. The main challenges of our times are the rise in inequality and global warming. We must therefore implement international treaties enabling us to respond to these challenges and to promote a model for fair and sustainable development.

Agreements of a new type can, if necessary, include measures aimed at facilitating these exchanges. But the question of liberalizing trade should no longer be the main focus. Trade must once again become a means in the service of higher ends. It never should have become anything other than that.

There should be no more signing of international agreements that reduce customs duties and other commercial barriers without including quantified and binding measures to combat fiscal and climate dumping in those same treaties. For example, there could be common minimum rates of corporation tax and targets for carbon emissions which can be verified and sanctioned. It is no longer possible to negotiate trade treaties for free trade with nothing in exchange.
It is time to change the political discourse on globalization: trade is a good thing, but fair and sustainable development also demands public services, infrastructure, health and education systems. In turn, these themselves demand fair taxation systems. If we fail to deliver these, Trumpism will prevail.
- Chris Hedges warns that the consequences of Trump's toxic campaign may be even worse than we expect once it becomes clear that his promises (both explicit and implicit) aren't going to be met. And Aditya Chakrabortty writes that the jobs currently under threat from neoliberal policies include most of the middle class in the developed world, not only the Rust Belt states which gave Trump his margin of victory.

- Angella MacEwen comments on the importance of listening to workers when developing international trade mechanisms. Michael Geist wonders whether the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will do anything to stem the tide of secretive agreements biased toward the corporate sector - though I'm less than optimistic given that prominent past failures seems to have led to little more than minor delays. And Adam Parsons notes that the theme of global cooperation and harmonization has conspicuously failed to produce anything of the sort when it comes to avoiding corporate abuses.

- Ben Schiller points out that solar installations end up helping all power users by providing additional energy when it's needed most - representing a noteworthy contrast to the anti-social effects of corporate dominance which Alberta's NDP is trying to reverse. And Sarah Emerson reports on a U.S. class action lawsuit seeking to hold governments to account for the future financial impacts of climate change on generations to come.

- Finally, Pamela Cowan reports on the work Saskatchewan doctors are doing to incorporate social determinants of health into patient care.

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