Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Wednesday reading.

- Matt Bruenig discusses the many opportunities available to expand the reach of public ownership in the U.S.:
The state can very competently own retail and manufacturing companies by simply buying up their stock and acting like an institutional investor. For instance, a social wealth fund created by the federal government could gradually buy up stock in Amazon and Walmart to get into retail and buy up stock in US Steel and General Motors to get into manufacturing. The latter is not even a hypothetical because the government did recently buy up almost all of the GM stock during the financial crisis, though it subsequently sold off its stake.

The genius of modern finance has been to create corporate ownership arrangements that allow basically anyone, including the government, to own shares of any company in any sector while being as involved (or uninvolved) as they want to be in steering the company. A federal social wealth fund, like the one I advocate, should be able to take advantage of modern shareholding institutions to expand public ownership into every aspect of the US economy.
- The Globe and Mail's editorial board offers a reminder of the need for multi-generational thinking - not in the sense of the Cons' spin about deficits and debts, but in the sense of using our collective power to build a healthy society and sustainable economy. And Matthew Taylor reports on UK Labour's plans to transition to a clean energy economy, while Liliana Camacho calls for a similar green jobs strategy in Ontario.

- Davide Castro comments on the folly of austerity - and the narrowly-defined self-interest of a few wealthy individuals which keeps it in the policy mix despite its obvious flaws. And James Brokenshire reports on the growing recognition even among UK Cons that homelessness and other avoidable problems are the result of anti-social policies - though that's not stopping them from continuing their gratuitous cuts to public services.

- Finally, Daniel Tencer points out how wage stagnation and soaring real estate prices have made it impossible for younger workers to own homes in many Canadian cities.

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