Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Patrick Butler writes about the increasing number of UK families mired in poverty and insecure housing even with one or more people working. And Ali Monceaux and Daniel Najarian discuss the importance of a fair minimum wage in providing people with a basic standard of living.

- Kelly Grant reports on the Libs' baby steps toward dealing with the high cost of prescription drugs. And Andre Picard offers some suggestions as to how to make our health care system work better, while John Geddes points out that Maxime Bernier wants to lead the Cons toward trashing universal health care altogether.

- Damian Carrington discusses new research showing how even relatively small rises in the sea level caused by global warming will massively increase flooding risks, while Chris Mooney notes that levels are in fact rising increasingly quickly. But Hiroko Tabuchi and Eric Lipton highlight how a single bad actor - in this case the Trump administration - can undermine any effort to regulate the causes of climate change.

- Meanwhile, Maude Barlow examines (PDF) how corporate-centred trade deals threaten the availability of clean and safe water. And Edgardo Sepulveda takes a look at the needless public expense being created by the Wynne Libs in order to avoid answering for their damage to Ontario Hydro.

- Finally, Matt Bruenig argues that class struggle is key to ensuring that the benefits of growth go to the many rather than the few:
If you believe, as Piketty argues in his book, that a reduction in growth will inexorably lead to a higher wealth-to-income ratio and a higher capital share, then perhaps the best you can do is pare down wealth accumulation and spread out its ownership through a progressive wealth tax.

But if you believe instead that the capital share does not rise inevitably but only as a result of capitalists getting the upper hand in the perpetual battle over the distribution of output in society, then many more solutions become plausible. Increasing housing supply and imposing rent controls, weakening intellectual property protections, empowering workers to fight for a bigger piece of the pie — all would have the same or even greater egalitarian effects.

American Airlines’ decision to increase its workers’ compensation caused over $2.2 billion of national wealth to vanish almost instantly — not because actual capital goods were destroyed, but because capital’s share was ever so slightly reduced. Empowering workers to repeat this fairly mundane episode again and again, throughout the economy, would likely be a much stronger brake on runaway wealth accumulation and inequality than a global wealth tax or other similarly elaborate strategies.

Class struggle still gets the goods.

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