Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Judy Paul discusses how everybody benefits from the fight against inequality:
Also of interest is the levels of trust and community life were stronger in more equal societies. There is more mixing of people from various socio-economic groups in more equal countries and this would lead to a greater sense of solidarity. When there are vast differences in income levels I think it would be hard for people to feel that “we’re all in this together.”
Where inequality is higher, people with lower social status tend to withdraw from society. When people compete for status, anxiety increases and struggling to keep up seems to make us less compassionate towards others. Inequality damages social cohesion, which includes trust, solidarity, civic and cultural participation and agreeableness (being helpful, considerate and trusting).
Greater solidarity is the only way we are going to be able to tackle the urgent challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability, says Wilkinson and Pickett. We cannot afford to have people anxiously struggling to make their way in an individualistic society that tells us we need to buy to belong.

How do we create a more equal society? An unconditional basic income would certainly help. Progressive taxation and a stronger social security system could also help.   Wilkinson and Pickett argue that the development of more democratic workplaces is key in this era of excessive CEO compensation and the weakening of trade unions.

It is important that we turn our attention to rising inequality in Canada. When we understand the significant cost of inequality and are open to learning from more equal countries, we will be better able to imagine and forge a better future for everyone.
- Hamdi Issawi and Brennan Doherty report on the benefits Alberta workers are seeing from needed increases to their province's minimum wage. And Ryan McNally notes in contrast how Saskatchewan's low-income workers continue to fall further behind.

- Alex Hemingway points out the unfairness and waste involved in using public money to prop up private school systems.

- Finally, Bill McKibben criticizes the Trump Republicans' blithe acceptance of catastrophic climate change in the name of squeezing out a few more years of oil profits. But Matt Hern and Am Johal write that in order to change toward a more sustainable path, climate activists need to speak to class concerns rather than merely pointing out the accuracy of climate science.

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