Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim O'Neill proposes an end to corporate free-riding (and an assurance of contribution to the society which allows for profit) through explicit "pay-or-play" rules:
Since proposing a pay-or-play scheme for the pharmaceutical industry, I have come to think that the same principle could be applied more broadly in business. Larry Fink, the CEO of the asset-management firm BlackRock, might agree. At a time when many people have come to doubt that the modern global economy serves their interests, Fink has called on all companies to do more to make a “positive contribution to society.”

In my view, all companies, particularly those that are publicly listed, need to embrace the principle of enlightened self-interest, and recognize that a healthy society is better for their own business in the long run. But until they do, policymakers should start thinking about how pay-or-play schemes could be used to address growing popular disenchantment with a corporate sector where only insiders seem to benefit from rising profits.

Here in the United Kingdom, there are a few areas where pay-or-play schemes could prove useful. For example, many companies now organize their affairs in such a way as to avoid paying UK corporate taxes, despite having conducted their business here. So, why not replace the tax on reported profits with a pay-or-play tax on a percentage of their overall sales?
To be sure, many corporate leaders would hate such an idea. But at a time when the public is increasingly skeptical of corporations, CEOs are hardly in a position to complain about the effects Brexit will have on their bottom line. They need to open their minds, take out their wallets, and have faith in the promise of enlightened self-interest.
- Meagan Day argues that it's time to end the habit of handing free money to corporations like Amazon based on nothing more than the faith-based belief that their profits will somehow serve the public good. And Jen Zielinski's report on Airbnb's long-overdue compliance with basic requirements for businesses should also serve as a reminder of how much of what's branded as innovation consists only of efforts to evade necessary regulation and taxation.

- Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura writes that the UK is paying a massive long-term price in both human and budgetary terms for its reckless privatization of services.

- Andrew Longhurst discusses the public health benefits of a fair minimum wage - meaning that there figure to be plenty of long-term benefits from British Columbia's newly-announced (albeit gradual) increases.

- Finally, Michael Harris discusses the Libs' empty promises of reversing the Cons' environmental damage - particularly in the case of right whales. And Tom Parkin comments on the gap between Justin Trudeau's forced attempts at progressive branding and his consistent conservative policy choices.

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