Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dani Rodrik argues that it's too late to try to compensate the people being deliberately left behind by trade deals - and that instead, we need to make sure their interests are actually taken into account in how trade is structured:
Today’s consensus concerning the need to compensate globalization’s losers presumes that the winners are motivated by enlightened self-interest – that they believe buy-in from the losers is essential to maintain economic openness. Trump’s presidency has revealed an alternative perspective: globalization, at least as currently construed, tilts the balance of political power toward those with the skills and assets to benefit from openness, undermining whatever organized influence the losers might have had in the first place. Inchoate discontent about globalization, Trump has shown, can easily be channeled to serve an altogether different agenda, more in line with elites’ interests.

The politics of compensation is always subject to a problem that economists call “time inconsistency.” Before a new policy – say, a trade agreement – is adopted, beneficiaries have an incentive to promise compensation. Once the policy is in place, they have little interest in following through, either because reversal is costly all around or because the underlying balance of power shifts toward them. 

The time for compensation has come and gone. Even if compensation was a viable approach two decades ago, it no longer serves as a practical response to globalization’s adverse effects. To bring the losers along, we will need to consider changing the rules of globalization itself.
- David Cay Johnston looks at the public records available about Donald Trump's wealth to highlight how he and his fellow .01%ers have been benefiting financially at the expense of most Americans.

- Rachael Pells points out how U.K. funding intended to help poorer students is in fact being used to paper over general funding shortages - resulting in cuts to exactly the schools which most need support.

- Bill Curry exposes the Trudeau Libs' secrecy when it comes to reports on airport privatization in the name of protecting Credit Suisse as a potential profiteer. And Geoff Leo reports on the Sask Party's repeated concealment of documents about the Global Transportation Hub scandal to cover up for CP.

- Finally, CBC reports that the privacy of mere citizens isn't so much a concern, as evidence by Eric Olauson's apparently-unquestioned demand to do a "background check" on people who dared to e-mail him a comment about the budget.

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