Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson write that equality of opportunity is an illusion if people don't have the necessary equality of income to make meaningful plans:
British social mobility is damaged by the UK’s high income inequality. Economists have argued that young people from low income families are less likely to invest in their own human capital development (their education) in more unequal societies. Young people are more likely to drop out of high school in more unequal US states or to be NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in more unequal rich countries. Average educational performance on maths and literacy tests is lower in more unequal countries.

It isn’t that young people in unequal societies lack aspirations. In fact, they are more likely to aspire to success. The sad thing is they are less likely to achieve it.

But the ways in which inequality hampers social mobility go far beyond educational involvement and attainment. In unequal societies, more parents will have mental illness or problems with drugs and alcohol. They will be more likely to be burdened by debt and long working hours, adding stress to family life. More young women will have babies as teenagers, more young men will be involved in violence.
The evidence which shows the damage caused by socioeconomic inequality is mounting. The UK government risks being on the wrong side of history if it continues to fail to address the divide – and condemn us all to its devastating impact.
- Ben Chu talks to Richard Blundell about the importance of combining fair wages with social supports to ensure people can stay out of poverty, rather than assuming the former is a full replacement for the latter. Paul Tulloch charts the large number of Canadian workers clustered at the low end of the wage scale, while the Star's editorial board weighs in on the need to improve wages. And David Bush discusses the slow path toward a $15 minimum wage being charted by the B.C. NDP.

- Matt Bruenig responds to the possibility of increased antitrust enforcement by noting the futility of merely breaking up corporate structures which remain substantially owned by broadly similar groups of people - and instead proposing that we focus on common ownership as a policy goal.

- Dean Baker notes that the development of the Zika vaccine offers a clear example of the value of publicly-funded research. And Danyaal Raza writes about the need for further public investment in the health of Canadians - particularly in the form of pharmacare and dental care for all.

- Finally, Owen Jones points out how the right-wing media has fanned the flames of bigotry and fascism.

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