Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matt Bruenig writes that the concentration of wealth and power which is largely being attributed to crony capitalism is a natural byproduct of laissez-faire economics as well:
An economy that distributes the national income based solely on the marginal productivity of each unit of capital and labor is an economy that will still feature massive levels of inequality and poverty. This is so for three reasons:
  1. Around half of the population neither works nor owns a considerable amount of capital. Their true factor income is around $0.
  2. There are considerable productivity differences between different kinds of jobs, and so wage differences would also remain very high even in the absence of rent.
  3. Capital is distributed extremely unevenly and so capital payments would remain very unequal even without rents.
No amount of increasing competition, trimming intellectual property rights, or lowering barriers to entry would solve these problems. More specifically, eradicating rent-seeking would not solve these problems because these problems are not caused by rents. Instead, we need a big welfare state to fix problem one, strong (“rent-seeking”) labor organizations to fix problem two, and the redistribution and socialization of capital to fix problem three.
- Ed Pilkington explores the widespread poverty already present in the U.S. And Heather Keller and Leah Gramlich discuss the massive costs of malnutrition beyond its direct impacts on health care.

- PressProgress exposes how the Harper Cons suppressed the federal government's own research into the connection between mental health issues and terrorism in order to demonize minorities instead.

- Vito Pelici reports on the decrease in public information about Ontario's power system due to privatization. And Beatrice Britneff notes that the Trudeau Libs don't seem to have much interest in appointing a replacement for Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault as her retirement looms in two weeks.

- Finally, Seth Klein, Shannon Daub and Alex Hemingway offer their suggestions to shape British Columbia's referendum on electoral reform.

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