Monday, April 01, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Roland Paulsen is rightly critical of the billionaire-funded take that we should ignore the ready availability of resources to end severe crises simply because they were worse on an absolute level in the past:
To exclusively discuss social progress based on a certain set of facts removes moral values from the debate. Facts only point to that which is and has been, but when we argue about values such as freedom or justice, we are considering the less measurable, counterfactual world of what might have been or what might be. This is precisely the world that the New Optimists refuse to acknowledge.
Oxfam reported in January that a 0.5 percent tax on the wealth of the world’s richest 1% would raise more money than it would cost to educate the world’s 262 million children currently out of school and provide healthcare that would save the lives of 3.3 million people. Instead, according to the British House of Commons Library, we are on a course that will concentrate two-thirds of the world’s wealth in the richest 1% by 2030.

Facts like these do not fit into the “optimistic ” TED Talk celebration of neoliberalism—the docile, yet enthusiastically marketed, resignation to business as usual. On the contrary, they point to potentialities that remain unrealized due to the exploitative relationships on which global capitalism relies. As Yale philosopher Thomas Pogge suggests, it is more morally conscientious to compare existing poverty “not with historical benchmarks but with present possibilities: How much of this poverty is really unavoidable today? By this standard, our generation is doing worse than any in human history.”
- Damien Gayle reports that UK Labour's needed shift toward movement politics includes supporting the efforts of activists to challenge bank support for dirty energy.

- The Star-Phoenix and Leader-Post editorial boards rightly point out the public demand for transparency into Saskatchewan's alarming rate of workplace injuries and fatalities. And David Burke contrasts Sweden's success in eradicating illness from salmonella against Canada's litany of failures.

- Emma Paling discusses how Doug Ford's reckless slashing of funds has plunged children's aid societies into crisis. And CBC News reports that the PCs' agenda of cruelty also includes the closing of overdose prevention sites, exacerbating the opioid crisis which has already resulted in an unmanageable workload for the province's social support system.

- Finally, David Climenhaga examines the Jason Kenney UCP's plans to save Alberta by destroying it.

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