Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Stephen Dubner discusses the importance of social trust in supporting a functional economy and society:
(S)ocial trust is …
HALPERN: Social trust is an extraordinarily interesting variable and it doesn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserves. But the basic idea is trying to understand what is the kind of fabric of society that makes economies and, indeed, just people get along in general. It’s clearly so critical for a whole range of outcomes.
Outcomes like economic growth.
HALPERN: This is a more powerful predictor of future national growth rates than, for example, levels of human capital or skills in the population.
Outcomes like individual health.
HALPERN: Basically, having someone or feeling that other people can be trusted or people you can rely on in your life is worth a great deal. It’s roughly the same positive effect in a series of studies as giving up smoking. And smoking is really, really bad for you so, you know, social isolation, essentially, is incredibly bad for your health.
- Meanwhile, George Monbiot discusses the role of neoliberalism - and its implicit assumption of a dog-eat-dog society - in laying the groundwork for Donald Trump's election.

- Max Fawcett makes the case for proportional representation in Canada's electoral system due to the tendency of winner-take-all systems to facilitate demagoguery while stifling diversity of representation. Gary Shaul writes that the Libs can't hold out much longer on electoral reform, while the Star's letters to the editor show that the strong preference for proportional representation of the public engaged on the issue isn't in doubt. Karl Nerenberg highlights that the U.S.' distorted election results only signal the need for a more fair system. And Andrew Coyne offers his take on what a national referendum on electoral systems might look like.

- Finally, the Star's editorial board at least argues that Canada shouldn't be too quick to hand over unaccountable surveillance powers to our state apparatus - though it's striking how the goalposts have moved from reviewing C-51 to discussing even more intrusions on civil rights. And Ewen MacAskill reports that the UK has passed "extreme surveillance" laws with virtually no pushback.

1 comment:

  1. Receiving pushback: I've thought a lot about the construct of Shock Doctrine (Klein) and how so much is coming at people that they are exhausted from constantly pushing back and nothing changing. For many people, just trying to keep a roof over one's head, food on the table, clothing, and keeping a job (even crappy ones) is exhausting. At the end of the day, "pushback" is just energy sucking for no to little return value. No wonder people are pissed and just want to stick to the elites.