Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lucas Chancel points out the myths underlying any claim that corporate globalization does anything but voluntarily exacerbate inequality:
It is often said that rising inequality is inevitable — that it is a natural consequence of trade openness and digitalization that governments are powerless to counter. But the numbers presented above clearly demonstrate the diversity of inequality trajectories experienced by broadly comparable regions over the past decades. The U.S. and Europe, for instance, had similar population size and average income in 1980 — as well as analogous inequality levels. Both regions have also faced similar exposure to international markets and new technologies since, but their inequality trajectories have radically diverged. In the U.S., the bottom 50% income share decreased from 20% to 10% today, whereas in Europe it decreased from 24% to 22%.

Rather than openness to trade or digitalization, it is policy choices and institutional changes that explain divergences in inequality. After the neoliberal policy shift of the early 1980s, Europe resisted the impulse to turn its market economy into a market society more than the US — evidenced by differences on key policy areas concerning inequality. The progressivity of the tax code — how much more the rich pay as a percentage — was seriously undermined in the U.S., but much less so in continental Europe. The U.S. had the highest minimum wage of the world in the 1960s, but it has since decreased by 30%, whereas in France, the minimum wage has risen 300%. Access to higher education is costly and highly unequal in the U.S., whereas it is free in several European countries. Indeed, when Bavarian policymakers tried to introduce small university fees in the late 2000s, a referendum invalidated the decision. Health systems also provide universal access to good-quality healthcare in most European countries, while millions of Americans do not have access to healthcare plans.

Re-examining these pervasive beliefs around globalization and its impacts on global inequality is more important now than ever before. Using new data from the World Inequality Report is the first step in rectifying these myths and generating a new public discourse that has the potential to effect long-lasting, systemic change.
- Tonia Novitz, Alan Bogg, Katie Bales, Michael Ford and Roseanne Russell discuss the lack of good work in the gig economy.

- Marie-Danielle Smith reports on the Libs' deficient excuse for arms control legislation, whose loopholes include a failure to revisit export contracts in the face of new human rights abuses.

- Meanwhile, Marco Chown Oved reports on the some positive measures in cracking down on corporate tax avoidance - though it's worth noting that those join so many of the Libs' other progressive promises in being deferred past the next election.

- Finally, the Western Producer weighs in on the folly of pretending that gun violence is a worthwhile price for the protection of property. And James Hamblin comments on the stress and anxiety children face when confronted with active-shooter drills and other activities which normalize fear and violence.

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