Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Owen Jones writes that a four-day work week being developed by UK Labour could represent an important step toward genuine personal freedom:
(I)t is extremely welcome that Labour’s John McDonnell has approached eminent economist Lord Skidelsky to head an inquiry into potentially cutting the working week to four days. It should be part of a new crusade for the left: of defending and expanding personal freedom.

The champions of free market fundamentalism promised their creed would bring us freedom. But it wasn’t freedom at all: from the lack of secure, affordable housing to growing job insecurity and rising personal debt, the individual is trapped. Nine decades ago, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological advances and rising productivity would mean that we’d be working a 15-hour week by now: that target has been somewhat missed.
(A) shorter working week would enable us to redistribute hours from the overworked to the underworked. Lord Skidelsky’s inquiry would need to look at cutting the working week without slashing living standards: after all, Britain’s workers have already suffered the worst squeeze in wages since the Napoleonic wars. But cutting the working week would free the individual, giving millions of workers more time to spend as they see fit. Human freedom should be the core aim of modern socialism. The right to work less would be an act of liberation – and a cause the left should embrace.
- Meanwhile, PressProgress exposes Ontario Proud's pitch for six-figure corporate donations to try to prevent workers from ever achieving any improvements, while Jim Stanford warns the Ford government that merely seeking to turn back the clock is no way to develop viable policy.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a push by Ontario students to achieve minimum wage parity with other workers. And Rob Shaw reports on British Columbia's move to put an end to contract-flipping attacks on public service workers.

- Rick Smith writes about the increasingly-visible human face of plastics pollution.

- Finally, Brent Patterson discusses the need to respond to what's wrong with the world with active steps to set matters right.

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