Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Goodman discusses how austerity has changed society for the worse in the UK:
For a nation with a storied history of public largess, the protracted campaign of budget cutting, started in 2010 by a government led by the Conservative Party, has delivered a monumental shift in British life. A wave of austerity has yielded a country that has grown accustomed to living with less, even as many measures of social well-being — crime rates, opioid addiction, infant mortality, childhood poverty and homelessness — point to a deteriorating quality of life.
By 2020, reductions already set in motion will produce cuts to British social welfare programs exceeding $36 billion a year compared with a decade earlier, or more than $900 annually for every working-age person in the country, according to a report from the Center for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University. In Liverpool, the losses will reach $1,200 a year per working-age person, the study says.
But the reality at hand is dominated by worries that Britain’s pending departure from the European Union — Brexit, as it is known — will depress growth for years to come. Though every major economy on earth has been expanding lately, Britain’s barely grew during the first three months of 2018. The unemployment rate sits just above 4 percent — its lowest level since 1975 — yet most wages remain lower than a decade ago, after accounting for rising prices.
In the blue-collar reaches of northern England, in places like Liverpool, modern history tends to be told in the cadence of lamentation, as the story of one indignity after another. In these communities, Mrs. Thatcher’s name is an epithet, and austerity is the latest villain: London bankers concocted a financial crisis, multiplying their wealth through reckless gambling; then London politicians used budget deficits as an excuse to cut spending on the poor while handing tax cuts to corporations. Robin Hood, reversed. 
- Noelle Sullivan and Lisa Ann Richey offer a reminder that we won't successfully fight poverty by throwing money at self-serving corporate public relations campaigns. And LA Kouffman comments on the need for protest and other collective activism to push for social change.

- Jim Stanford examines the spread of precarious work in Australia, with less than half of current jobs meeting a basic definition of "standard" secure work. And Tracey Warren argues that any discussion about work-life balance needs to take into account the individual effects of poverty-level wages.

- Finally, Richard Florida warns Ontario voters about the economic risks of allowing Doug Ford to tear down progress in the name of know-nothing populism.

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