Sunday, September 02, 2018

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Lana Payne's column for the Labour Day weekend comment on the role unions play in pushing for advancements for everybody.

- Paul Krugman offers a reminder that a focus on GDP alone as a measure of economic development misses the issue of inequality. And Simon Kuper discusses how the wealthiest people have looted their own countries in order to further distance themselves from the rest of society, while Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka study the consequences of elite-driven globalization in undermining fair revenue systems and the social programs they fund.

- Neil Schoenherr reviews Gerrit De Geest's new book on how marketing has contributed to rent-seeking by the few at the expense of the many. And James Wilt argues that instead of focusing on consumer behaviour, we should be working on developing models of production and consumption that are less destructive:
There is nothing inherently wrong with the consumption of energy and materials. The problem is that consumption is largely undemocratic, exploitative, and unsustainable: all realities that can be dramatically altered.

We know that many socially destructive sectors consume a vast chunk of resources. For example, the U.S. military is the institution which consumes the greatest amount of oil in the world. At last count, over half of the energy used in Canada was consumed by the industrial sector – the likes of mines, factories, and fossil fuel extraction. A 2011 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concluded that the top one per cent of income earners in B.C. emitted almost six times the amount of carbon pollution as residents in the bottom 10 per cent.

And corporations have created a status quo of obscene food waste, planned obsolescence, and entrenched fossil fuel interests that obstruct a rapid transition to low-carbon communities.
We must abandon the language and sentiment of overconsumption and organize our cities and towns through unions, co-ops, community centres, and activist organizations – with a primary focus on improving conditions and services in low-income communities of colour.
The so-called problem of consumption is a convenient distraction from the hard work that needs to be done to overhaul the exploitative and destructive systems that currently concentrate a vast majority of the wealth and power in the hands of the very few. Such greed won’t dissipate by individual moralizing or using fewer plastic bags.

It’ll take radical collective action – and an impassioned desire for all of us to be able to consume more of the things that are sustainable, just, and fulfilling.
- Finally, David Climenhaga notes that the obsession with the rule of law trumpeted by pipeline pushers against protesters has disappeared now that the Federal Court of Appeal has held that approvals handed out without meaningful consultation are themselves illegal.

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