Saturday, September 08, 2018

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Oliver Bullough writes that the combination of increased wealth concentration and the free flow of money across borders to attacks currencies and governments represents an urgent threat to democratic governance. And Owen Jones argues that now is the ideal time to push for a transformation of the UK's economy:
What is striking about [the IPPR's] demands isn’t just how much more radical they are than only four years ago: it’s who has endorsed them – from the archbishop of Canterbury to business leaders. The IPPR’s polling shows that, from a radical clampdown on tax avoidance to publicly owned investment banks, to borrowing to invest, there is overwhelming support for the junking of the old neoliberal order.

Against this backdrop, the left needs to demand more radicalism from Labour. The very few sympathetic commentators have felt reluctant to do so because of the unrelenting attacks on a besieged Labour leadership. Some fear that any criticisms of the party from its left flank will offer succour to its increasingly hysterical opponents. But public appetite for radical reform – with even business figures endorsing it – means there is space to go further. Labour’s commitments on income and wealth taxes are insufficient to fully reverse Tory austerity and benefit cuts. The case for free movement of people in Europe has, sadly, largely been abandoned. By demanding more boldness from Labour, the political debate can be shifted further left still.

The report calls for a paradigm shift as radical as those achieved by Attlee and Thatcher. Both built a new consensus, forcing their opponents to surrender to their underlying philosophies. To avoid its flagship policies being unpicked by another Tory administration, a future Labour government must seek to do the same.

- Andrew MacLeod writes that we can't expect to deal with the opioid addictions without recognizing and addressing the underlying social causes. And David Crow reports that one of the major manufacturers of the opioid crisis has now claimed patent rights over a new treatment.

- Kelly Crowe comments on the hundreds of shortages of medications faced in Canada just this year, with most resulting from weaknesses in the corporate pharmaceutical supply chain. And MacLeod discusses the difficult choices around "orphan disease" drugs which are available only for exorbitant prices through private sources.

- Laura Paddison takes note of a new report which highlights the implausibility of addressing the problem of climate change with the same capitalist principles which created it. And James McClintock discusses how greenhouse gases are acidifying our oceans in addition to heating up the planet.

- Finally, Jennifer Zwicker and Stephanie Dunn question why decisions about disability supports are being made by the CRA rather than departments better positioned to address them.

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