Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joel French discusses the need to move beyond merely preserving the public institutions Alberta has now, and to start building the new ones which will be needed in the future.

- But Eric Levitz observes that the U.S. is instead taking deliberate policy steps to ensure that workers don't benefit from nominal economic growth. And Douglas Rushkoff writes that the long-term plan of the capital class is to detach itself from the rest of humanity rather than working toward common benefits - while noting the futility of that worldview:
This “out of sight, out of mind” externalization of poverty and poison doesn’t go away just because we’ve covered our eyes with VR goggles and immersed ourselves in an alternate reality. If anything, the longer we ignore the social, economic, and environmental repercussions, the more of a problem they become. This, in turn, motivates even more withdrawal, more isolationism and apocalyptic fantasy — and more desperately concocted technologies and business plans. The cycle feeds itself.
...
(W)hen the hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.

They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves — especially if they can’t get a seat on the rocket to Mars.

Luckily, those of us without the funding to consider disowning our own humanity have much better options available to us. We don’t have to use technology in such antisocial, atomizing ways. We can become the individual consumers and profiles that our devices and platforms want us to be, or we can remember that the truly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.

Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.
- Susan Dynarski discusses new research confirming the role unions play in the sharing of income and wealth. And Lana Payne highlights how the Trudeau Libs have traded away the possibility of stronger labour policy in order to enrich businesses through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Finally, Leilani Farha points out how the corporate sector is capturing the housing desperately needed by residents of larger cities around the world. 

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