Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Dalia Marin argues that in order to avoid corporate dominance over citizens and workers around the globe, we should be developing international competition policies and systems to combat the concentration of wealth:
Two forces in today’s digital economy are driving the global decline in labor’s share of total income. The first is digital technology itself, which is generally biased toward capital. Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have accelerated the rate at which automation is displacing workers. 

The second force is the digital economy’s “winner-takes-most” markets, which give dominant firms excessive power to raise prices without losing many customers. Today’s superstar companies owe their privileged position to digital technology’s network effects, whereby a product becomes even more desirable as more people use it. And although software platforms and online services can be costly to launch, expanding them is relatively inexpensive. Consequently, firms that are already established can keep growing with far fewer workers than they would have needed in the past. 

These factors help to explain why the digital economy has given rise to large firms that have a reduced need for labor. And, once these firms are established and dominate their chosen market, the new economy allows them to pursue anti-competitive measures that prevent actual and potential rivals from challenging their position.
The objective of a world competition network is to build an effective legal framework to enforce competition law against companies engaging in cross-border business practices that restrict competition. The network may coordinate investigations and enforcement decisions and develop new guidelines for how to monitor market power and collusive practices in a digital economy. 

In the past, the G20 has focused on ensuring that multinational firms are not able to take advantage of jurisdictional differences to avoid paying taxes. But the G20 now needs to expand its scope, by recognizing that digital technologies are creating market outcomes that, if unchecked by a new World Competition Network, will continue to favor multinational firms at the expense of workers.
- But Brent Patterson notes that instead, Justin Trudeau is planning to rebrand the corporate-biased TPP as a new version of NAFTA to further entrench the power of capital.

- The Star's editorial board challenges the Trudeau Libs' plans to push through a massive infrastructure bank giveaway without proper review and debate. And Stephen Whitworth examines the high price of the Saskatchewan Party's privatization of Crowns.

- Diana Duong interviews Andre Picard about Canada's health care system which falls far short of the universality we expect. And Alex Hemingway comments on the devastating social impacts of the B.C. Libs' austerity toward health care and other essential services.

- David Suzuki points out that increased public awareness of the realities of climate change is a necessary first step before we can make the kind of change needed to rein it in.

- Finally, Laura Cameron and Joseph Wasylycia-Leis write that an impending vote in Parliament offers an ideal chance for Canadians to push their MPs to support a more fair and proportional electoral system.

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