Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Matt Bruenig highlights Norway's high level of social ownership, with 76% of non-home wealth in public hands in an extremely prosperous country. And Patrick Collinson reports on the latest World Happiness Survey, showing Norway within a group of relatively equal Nordic countries at the very top.

- Christo Aivalis discusses the elements of economic democracy, as well as the need for the NDP to offer voters a clear option of social ownership:
(H)owever important things like Medicare, education, and social security were, they did not constitute the outer boundaries of the social-democratic project. Put another way, what fundamentally distinguished social democracy from liberalism was a conviction of who should control the economy, with liberals saying it should be within largely private control, and social democrats claiming that, through various means, the economy should be controlled publicly.

Canadian social democrats, simply put, need to re-embrace the value in challenging private property’s dominance over the state. This isn’t to say the party is without existing ideas on this front. Andrea Horwath’s Ontario NDP is pledging to re-nationalize Hydro Ontario, and is calling for a reversal of many contracted out public services. Similarly, Niki Ashton’s federal leadership campaign made public ownership a central plank, while Charlie Angus had specific policies that would encourage worker and community-owned enterprises. Still, much more must be done on this front, and as we’ve seen, specific lessons are found within the party’s own recent history.

Jagmeet Singh’s NDP has already made impacts on issues like overhauling our tax system with a view towards a more equitable society. But if the party wants to offer a unambiguous distinction between itself and the ostensibly progressive Trudeau Liberals, a platform predicated on democratizing workplaces and the wider economy is a fantastic start, especially when aligned with provincial NDP sections willing to promote the same objectives in those jurisdictions where they have the most power.
- Richard Poplak points out the outsized (and unaccountable) role played by Export Development Canada in financing questionable corporate activity.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the difficulty injured workers have securing compensation in the face of abusive practices by Ontario employers. Tim Berners-Lee warns against allowing a small number of massive tech firms to dictate access to content online. And Crawford Kilian argues that a public-sector drug manufacturer is a needed cure for the problems with corporate incentives to encourage overprescription.

- Finally, Bob Ramsay writes that Canada's most privileged people are getting more antisocial with time and increased wealth, as charitable contributions as a share of income plummet among those with the most to give.

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