Monday, December 04, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Murray Dobbin writes that corporate power is the greatest threat to our health and well-being - and reminds us that government focused on the public interest is a necessary counterweight:
The revelations of the Paradise Papers, the earlier Panama Papers and numerous articles in the western mainstream and alternative media demonstrate just one dimension, tax evasion, of an increasingly obvious truth: global corporations have become the greatest threat to the planet. The deliberate starvation of government, climate change, grotesque inequality, Dickensian working conditions, environmental degradation, dwindling biodiversity, the slow (or not so slow) death of the oceans and the creation of the security state on corporations' behalf threaten not only the natural world but our capacity to democratically govern ourselves while maintaining some semblance of civilization.

The advent of the corporate state was truly unleashed when Canada and the U.S. introduced the first "free trade" agreement in 1989. In the 28 years since, hundreds of such agreements have been signed, all of them designed to erase borders for corporations and radically reduce the operational space for democratic governance.

Governments are the only institutions that can seriously challenge the power and reach of transnational corporations: they made them and they could unmake them. Only governments can curb their predatory nature, constrain their contempt for their workers, communities and the environment, and genuinely punish them when they openly break the law as part of their fiduciary "duty" to their shareholders.
- Kate Letterick reports on new research showing how people with disabilities disproportionately face deep poverty. And Laurie Monsebraaten and Sandro Contenta investigate how the child protection system provides minimal resources and supports for workers trying to meet desperate needs.

- Nick Falvo offers a look at the Libs' national housing strategy - though even his fairly generous take recognizes the large gap between rhetoric and action.

- Jacques Marcoux and Kristen Annable report on the lack of meaningful consequences for employers responsible for workers' deaths across Canada. And Adam Hunter points out that Saskatchewan's system of penalties for workplace fatalities stands out as being particularly weak.

- Finally, Matthew Yglesias discusses new research showing how inequality of opportunity leads to less innovation and progress for everybody.

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