Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Mike Savage and John Hills write about the respective takes on the sources of inequality provided by Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Joseph Stiglitz. And Michael Spence discusses how economic development needs to be inclusive and based on trust in order to be sustainable:
First, as we concluded in our final report, non-inclusive growth patterns will always ultimately fail. Such patterns cannot produce the sustained high growth that is necessary for reducing poverty and fulfilling basic human aspirations for health, security, and the chance to contribute productively and creatively to society. They underutilize and misuse valuable human resources; and they often give rise to political or social turmoil, often marked by ideological or ethnic polarization, which then leads either to wide policy swings or to policy paralysis.

Our second broad conclusion was that sustained growth requires a coherent, adaptable strategy that is based on shared values and goals, trust, and some degree of consensus. Of course, achieving that is easier said than done.

Many developing countries have experienced extended periods of slow or no growth. In some cases, a country’s leaders are simply confused, and do not understand what needs to be done. In most cases, however, the ingredients of an effective “growth model” are well known, and the problem is a lack of political or social consensus about how to implement it.

Achieving a higher growth equilibrium is rarely a gradual or incremental transition. It requires a discontinuous leap in expectations and policies, and a fundamental shift in the political and social consensus. When these shifts occur, leadership plays a crucial role, by providing citizens with an alternative vision, based on common values, that all stakeholders can support. Such leadership can come from above, from below, or from a representative group. But as the persistence of low-growth equilibria in many countries shows, it often doesn’t come at all.
- Meanwhile, Owen Jones points out that UK Labour is taking much-needed steps to empower members and activists to push for meaningful social change.

- John Milloy laments the demonization of taxes as a barrier to the discussion of important policy choices - though it's questionable whether the public buys that rhetoric to the same extent as the political class. And Linda McQuaig comments on the problems with a tax system which is designed to further privilege people with the most wealth and connections.

- The CCPA and the PBO (PDF) have each offered new studies showing that Canada would save billions of dollars each year (while improving public health) with a national pharmacare program. And the Canadian Labour Congress calls for immediate action to implement a universal prescription drug plan.

- Finally, Jim Bronskill reports on Fred Vallance-Jones' audit of Canada's dysfunctional access to information system - which is only getting worse under the Libs.

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