Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Wanda Wyporska discusses why we can't expect a group of cloistered elites to do anything to solve the changeable dimensions of inequality.

- Jonathan Ford and Gill Plimmer write that the UK is beginning to learn its lesson about the dangers of privatizing public services. And PressProgress offers three reasons why Canada shouldn't follow down the road toward outsourcing,

- Ian Hussey debunks a few of the more tired arguments against a fair minimum wage. And Meagan Day discusses the psychological consequences of accepting the neoliberal view of atomized and constantly-competing individuals:
When identifying the root cause of this growing appetite for excellence, Curran and Hill don’t mince words: it’s neoliberalism. Neoliberal ideology reveres competition, discourages cooperation, promotes ambition, and tethers personal worth to professional achievement. Unsurprisingly, societies governed by these values make people very judgmental, and very anxious about being judged.

Psychologists used to talk about perfectionism as though it were unidimensional — only directed from the self to the self. That’s still the colloquial usage, what we usually mean when we say someone’s a perfectionist. But in the last few decades, researchers have found it productive to broaden the concept. Curran and Hall rely on a multidimensional definition, encompassing three types of perfectionism: self-oriented, other-oriented, socially prescribed.
...(P)eople born in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada after 1989 scored much higher than previous generations for all three kinds of perfectionism, and that scores increased linearly over time. The dimension that saw the most dramatic change was socially prescribed perfectionism, which increased at twice the rate of the other two. In other words, young people’s feeling of being judged harshly by their peers and the broader culture is intensifying with each passing year.
One consequence of this rise in perfectionism, Curran and Hall argue, has been a series of epidemics of serious mental illness. Perfectionism is highly correlated with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The constant compulsion to be perfect, and the inevitable impossibility of the task, exacerbate mental-illness symptoms in people who are already vulnerable. Even young people without diagnosable mental illnesses tend to feel bad more often, since heightened other-oriented perfectionism creates a group climate of hostility, suspicion, and dismissiveness — in which the jury is always out on everyone, pending group appraisal — and socially prescribed perfectionism involves an acute recognition of that alienation. In short, the repercussions of rising perfectionism range from emotionally painful to literally deadly.

And there’s one other repercussion of rising perfectionism: it makes it hard to build solidarity, which is the very thing we need in order to resist the onslaught of neoliberalism. Without healthy self-perceptions we can’t have robust relationships, and without robust relationships we can’t come together in the numbers it would take to rattle, much less upend, the whole political-economic order.
- Finally, the Canadian Labour Congress is taking a stand against Justin Trudeau's choice to lock Canada into the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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