Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.

- Cole Stangler interviews Raquel Garrido about the political critique behind Jean-Luc Melenchon's emerging presidential campaign - and it sounds equally applicable in Canada:
One of the reasons why the current regime is lacking consent in French society is because the process for electing officials allows them to behave inconsistently with their campaign promises. The main cultural characteristic of the current political class is impunity. They do whatever they want because they are absolutely unaccountable.

That culture of impunity starts with the president himself. We’re the only self-identified democratic country where you have one man who has such concentrated power — elections of hundreds and hundreds of people in different institutions and he actually decides what the parliament will be talking about, the parliamentary agenda. The president behaves in such an unaccountable fashion that it actually spreads like a cascade across the entire political class.

Most elected officials in France today lack legitimacy, are elected with very low turnouts. There’s a deep sense of disgust among citizens with this political class. That creates chaos and instability.
There are other big themes of the campaign — wealth redistribution and social justice — which are classic proposals in a situation of great inequality. Then you have climate change and protecting the only ecosystem which allows life for human beings. But before we address those issues, we need to gain the power to actually have an impact. 
- And in a prime example of Canada's culture of impunity, Chantal Hebert writes about the Trudeau Libs' cynical political choices around marijuana legalization - and how those fit with Trudeau's repudiated promise of electoral reform.

- Jon Stone reports on UK Labour's plans to ensure that public money doesn't subsidize bad corporate behaviour (including a refusal to recognize collective bargaining). And Larry Bartels studies (PDF) the gap between the policies which would result from an accurate representation of U.S. citizens' preferences, and those which are in fact seen due to the influence of wealth in politics.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh writes about the Ontario miners who were used as guinea pigs for untested - and ultimately harmful - powders intended to serve as substitutes for reasonable health and safety precautions.

- Finally, Henry Farrell examines the circumstances in which economists have - and haven't - been able to move the needle on public policy. And George Monbiot discusses Kate Raworth's doughnut model as a means of conceptualizing the desirability and sustainability of our economic choices.

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