Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Aditya Chakrabortty writes about the dangers of accepting gross inequality based on the hope that billionaires will make up in charity what they fail to contribute in tax revenue:
For the super-rich, giving is really taking. Taking power, that is, from the rest of society. The billionaires will get exclusive access to the “vision” for the reconstruction of a national landmark and they can veto those plans, because if they don’t like them they can withhold their cash. Money is always the most powerful casting vote, and they have it. Never mind that much of this cash actually comes from the public, as French law grants a whopping 66% tax relief on any donation – the power is entirely private. The annual cap on such contributions doubtless constitutes a prudent reason for the big donors to stagger their generosity.

Whether in France or Britain or the US, the rich give money to the grand institutions at the heart of our cultures to secure their social status in plaques and photo opportunities. In much the same way, they fund our political parties, then enjoy the kickbacks when they form a government. As Julia Cagé, an economist at Paris’s SciencesPo, points out, some of the same people pledging donations to Notre Dame were also among those who funded Macron’s rise to the presidency. In her recent award-winning book, to be published in English next year as The Price of Democracy, Cagé calculates that 600 wealthy people in France gave between €3m and €4.5m to Macron’s election campaign. In other words, 2% of all donors made up between 40 % and 60% of all En Marche funding. Within a few months, the new president cut taxes on the wealthy, giving his richest donors “a return of nearly 60,000% on their investment”. Just as with Notre Dame – a tiny deposit, a lot of influence and one hell of a payout.
- And Stephanie Bailey's observations as to how wealthier people can play a large part in mitigating our climate crisis are noteworthy primarily for the lack of any apparent action.

- In turn, the consequences of the failure to rein in greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by the wealthiest have included record temperatures around the globe, along with unprecedented heat and wildfires in the Arctic region. 

- Rick Paulas makes the case to stop directing public resources toward restricting access to transit, and instead ensure that basic transit is freely available.

- And finally, Emily Guendelsberger discusses how an increasing number of jobs are calculated to cause "chronic mild stress" which inevitably results in employee burnout (but avoids the possibility that workers will have access to any social supports).

No comments:

Post a Comment