Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kevin Young, Tarun Banerjee and Michael Schwartz discuss how capital uses the exact tools it's working to take away from labour - including the threat of strikes - to impose an anti-social agenda on the public:
Capitalists routinely exert leverage over governments by withholding the resources — jobs, credit, goods, and services — upon which society depends. The “capital strike” might take the form of layoffs, offshoring jobs and money, denying loans, or just a credible threat to do those things, along with a promise to relent once government delivers the desired policy changes.

Government officials know this power well, and invest great energy and public resources in staving off fits by malcontent capitalists. The profoundly rotten campaign finance system is just one manifestation of business’s domination over government policy. The real power resides in the corporate world’s monopoly over the flow of capital.
Dewey’s analysis calls for the elimination of concentrated economic power — that is, the elimination of capital’s capacity to disrupt a nation by withdrawing investment. Only by targeting the “substance” of corporate power — rather than its shadow, the government — can major progressive change be achieved and sustained.

Expanding on this insight, we believe that progressive social movements should directly target business elites. They are the main enemies of change, but they also have the power to facilitate reforms if they face sufficient pressure. If movements can alter capitalists’ cost-benefit calculations, government action favorable to popular interests becomes much more likely.

Workers’ rights movements in the 1930s and civil rights struggles in the 1960s succeeded largely by exerting pressure on business owners, who eventually supported progressive policy reforms as a way of cutting their own losses. Business elites’ structural power was greatly mitigated — and in fact harnessed to movement goals — when activists imposed high enough costs.

Ultimately, the capital strike teaches us that reform is not enough. Power over investment brings power over the political process.
- Speaking of which, Bill Curry and Sean Silcoff report that Bill Morneau's hand-picked economic advisers are pushing the Libs to delay retirement for working Canadians.

- Jean Comte reports on the EU's efforts to develop a common list of tax havens - with Canada currently looking to be among the candidates for facilitating tax evasion.

- Jim Edwards examines how the UK's economy is only getting more unequal with time, due in large part to the gap between homeowners benefiting from soaring property prices and renters facing stagnant wages and higher costs.

- Toni Pickard argues that progressives should make the case for a fair and generous basic income to ensure that a policy receiving support across partisan lines isn't used to undermine the welfare state. And Poverty Free Saskatchewan's submission to SaskForward points out some transformational changes which could end poverty in the province.

- Finally, the Star's editorial board highlights why we shouldn't take a bare request to "trust us" as the basis for providing unaccountable power to a surveillance state. And Elizabeth Thompson reports on the use of public resources to monitor peaceful activists for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.

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