Sunday, December 01, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laurie Macfarlane writes that contrary to the dogma of budget scolds, the truly reckless course of action is to fail to invest public money in state capacity:
After four decades of neoliberalism, the state’s capacity has been drastically hollowed out. Key public functions have been outsourced to management consultants and private service providers, while the application of private sector management techniques to the public sphere has placed civil servants in an administrative straightjacket. Tasked with delivering such a large increase in public investment tomorrow, it’s likely that what’s left of the public sector would struggle to invest on the scale and pace required. 
But this is not an excuse for inaction. As the above chart shows, the public sector has delivered much higher levels of investment in the past, and many countries around the world continue to do so today. Many of humanity’s boldest advances – from the internet and microchips to biotechnology and nanotechnology – were only made possible by strategic public investments that were made by dynamic, mission-oriented public institutions. In many of these areas the private sector only entered much later, piggybacking on the advances made possible by long-term, high-risk public investment.

If the next government is to transform its economy on the scale that is required to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, it’s clear that it must urgently rebuild public sector institutions, and increase their capacity to think and act big.
- Bob Baldwin points out the dangers of setting up comparatively small and inefficient provincial pension plans based on shaky assumptions about future demographics. And Robert Fraser argues that the provinces trying to operate in denial as to the waning future of the fossil fuel sector should take a lesson from Ontario's loss of manufacturing jobs in the wake of NAFTA.

- Meanwhile, Seth Klein and Gil McGown offer a constructive suggestion to fund a just transition away from industries which pose unacceptable threats to our climate. And Kevin Smith discusses both the desperate need to improve the capacity of our public health care system, and the importance of federal involvement in that work (including by returning to its historical commitment to 50-50 funding).

- Finally, PressProgress reports on the devastating effects of a ransomware attack on Nunavut's public infrastructure.

No comments:

Post a Comment