- Peter Goodman observes that any meaningful action to build a more equal economy needs to involve bolstering wages and workers' rights - meaning that the elites-only musings in Davos miss the point entirely:
Davos is — at least rhetorically — consumed with worries about the shortcomings of globalization. About the deepening anxieties of the middle class in many developed economies. About the threat of trade protectionism and its attendant hit to economic growth. About the fear that robots are on the verge of sowing mass unemployment.It is a conversation fueled in part by fear: If the world is indeed in the throes of a populist insurrection, the pitchforks could do worse than to point here. The Davos elites have enjoyed outsize influence over economic policies in recent decades as a growing share of wealth has, perhaps not coincidentally, landed in the coffers of people with a need for bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands, while poor and middle-class households have seen their earnings stagnate and decline.Yet the solutions that have currency seem calculated to spare corporations and the wealthiest people from having to make any sacrifices at all, as if there is a way to be found to tilt the balance of inequality while those at the top hang on to everything they have....
“People talk about inequality, how it’s a major problem, the greatest threat to globalization and the global economy,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “You have to recognize that the way we have managed globalization has contributed significantly to inequality. But I have not yet heard a good conversation about what changes in globalization would address inequality.”
That is not an accident, he surmised. Any sincere list would have to include items that involve transferring wealth and power from the sorts of people who come to Davos to ordinary workers via more progressive taxation, increased bargaining rights for labor unions, and greater protections for labor in general.
- Meanwhile, David Ball reports on a reminder from UNICEF's David Morley that Canada is backsliding even compared to other countries in our growing inequality.Same as every other year, Davos is again plastered with the slogan of the World Economic Forum: “Committed to Improving the State of the World.” But whatever improvements are supposed to be made, one can safely assume they will not conflict with those in attendance continuing to enjoy the state of the world as it is now, with canapés and aged Bordeaux and private jets at the ready.
- Desmond Cole laments Toronto's decision to take social housing away from people who desperately need it in order to throw more money at expressways and subways.
- Jorge Barrera reports on how Health Canada's callous refusal to fund mental health services in the face of urgent First Nations needs contributed to the suicides of two young girls at Wapekeka First Nation. And Mike De Souza and Riley Sparks note that Justin Trudeau is now explicitly breaking his promise to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by deciding to suppress the federal government's legal opinions about indigenous rights.
- Finally, Jessica Botelho-Urbanski reports on Niki Ashton's findings in consulting with millenials across Canada - including the glaring need to reverse a sense of hopelessness.