Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eric Doherty, and Eric Galbraith and Ross Otto, respectively write that the response to the coronavirus shows how it's possible to imagine and implement needed changes along the lines of a Green New Deal. And Heather Mallick theorizes that it can also be a first step toward living more intelligently.

- The Star's editorial board points out how the pandemic has shown gaping holes in our existing social safety net, while Martin Regg Cohn writes that many people are just now learning how precarious much work has become. And Justin Ling rightly criticizes how marginalized people including prisoners and asylum seekers are being endangered by the Libs' choices.

- Jim Stanford writes that what's needed for the future goes far beyond mere stimulus:
There is enormous need for urgent rebuilding required in our economy and our communities. Repairing and strengthening health care infrastructure comes first, but other priorities, too, are urgent: like sustainable transit, green energy, non-market housing, aged care and early child education.

The case for mobilising resources under the leadership of governments and public institutions, and employing millions of Australians to do that work, is compelling. We can repair the damage of this crisis (and better prepare for the next one), deliver valuable services, and create millions of jobs. All we need is the willingness to imagine a different model of organizing and leading economic activity.
The failure of financialized, neoliberal capitalism will be laid bare more clearly than ever in coming months. The private sector will definitely be unable to get the economy back on its feet after this crisis. So we need to look elsewhere for economic leadership.

Just as World War II ‘solved’ the Great Depression by mobilizing enormous resources in an urgent attempt to meet a huge threat (global fascism), we now need another, peaceful war – a war on poverty, on epidemics, and on pollution.

And by organizing ourselves as society to fight that war, we will actually make ourselves better off right now: creating jobs and incomes, providing needed care and services, generating taxes. And we will benefit in the long-run by winning those ‘wars,’ and building a safer, sustainable world.
- Finally, Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers examine the connection between a decline in worker bargaining power and the erosion of the U.S.' economic performance. And Thomas Piketty highlights how Bernie Sanders' campaign is making a desperately-needed attempt to give the U.S.' democracy a boost.

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