Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tim Bousquet writes that the push toward "social entrepreneurship" ultimately serves to undermine the importance of the public good:
My real worry here is that the phrase “social enterprise” is the softer, feel-good end of the push for increased entrepreneurship, which is always promoted as good thing, no downside whatsoever. But there are lots of downsides. One is the risk: most new businesses fail, and very often their failure results in tremendous hardship for the owner. The bigger issue, though, is that entrepreneurship is being sold as the solution to declining living standards — don’t worry about there not being a job for you at graduation, or that if you do find a job it will be temporary contract labour at shit pay, you can start a business!

The push for increased entrepreneurship and in particular the aiming of that message at young people is specifically intended to derail the labour movement. It’s no accident that the union-busting McNeil government is also heavily promoting entrepreneurship. (See also, union-busting Chronicle Herald prez Mark Lever’s celebratory promotion of the Ivany report.) And there’s a direct line from the privatization of services and the P3s to the policies of austerity designed to take money out of the pockets of working people and to give it to plutocrats.

The goal here is to privatize expectations. In a socially just world, we would have collective responsibility for, well, everyone. We would collectively — through properly funded post-secondary education, labour regulation, government social programs, and redistributive tax policies — help young people succeed in life, help them become contributing citizens with worthwhile lives.

But the push for entrepreneurship upends this: it’s all on you, kid. You want a university education? Pay for it your own damn self. You want to promote good values and have a decent standard of living as well? Then start your own business and good luck, sucker. Whatever you want, don’t be expecting anything from the rest of us.
- Meanwhile, Sheila Block and Trish Hennessy point out that even an election-year Lib budget isn't shifting Ontario away from the limitations of austerity politics. And Jonathan Watts reports on the Brazilian public's revolt against the imposition of anti-social policies by a corrupt and unelected elite.

- Mario Canseco highlights how B.C. voters feel helpless due to the influence of corporate money on Christy Clark's governing Libs. And Mike Smyth talks to Linda Higgins about her experience dealing with Clark as a citizen without high-priced access.

- Pierre Fortin discusses the successes of Quebec's universal child care program - along with its room for improvement in equity and quality of care. And Joanna Smith and Jordan Press report on how the Harper Cons went out of their way to avoid recognizing how child care enables women to participate in the workforce.

- Finally, Lynne Fernandez comments on the need to ensure safety for workers - particularly in precarious work where the standards we take for granted elsewhere haven't yet been established or enforced.

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