Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laird Cronk and Sussanne Skidmore offer their take as to how to ensure everybody benefits from British Columbia's recovery plan. And Trish Hennessy discusses the need to build a more empathetic and inclusive society:
COVID-19 has exposed what many of us already knew: public health is the key driver of everything, from community wellbeing to a thriving economy. If ever there was a time to embrace a Health-in-All-Policies approach to government decision-making, it is now.

COVID-19 has exposed the short-sightedness of austerity budgeting, where governments prioritized tax cuts over needed investments in public services—in health and mental health, education, child care, social supports, affordable housing, public transit, long-term care, and more. Decades of government cuts removed the layers of protection that should have already been there for us to weather the COVID-19 storm. Governments that respond to re-emergence with more belt-tightening are doing more harm than good.

COVID-19 has exposed how profit should not be a motive for basic services, such as long-term care. It has also exposed weak links in the supply chain and the need to ensure domestic supply chains that are resilient and promote local inclusive economic initiatives. It is showing us that some services should be in public hands, not for profit.

The pandemic  has also exposed underlying structural inequities that have long existed but went ignored: inequities based on income, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and postal code (where you live). Those inequities interconnect to create health inequities, to limit life chances for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, and low-income. A crisis like COVID-19 only serves to magnify and deepend [sic] those inequalities.
There can be no going back to the old system, which failed to meet the needs of the modern labour market even before the arrival of the pandemic. Nor can we continue to ignore the need for a basic income standard, better support for people who work in the service, retail, accommodation, arts and culture, and caring sectors, and the regulation of “sharing economy” work.

Wellbeing. Equality. Inclusion. Resilience. Sustainability. People and planet before profits.

These are key principles that should guide us as we recover, reset, and rebuild.
- Better Dwelling points out how people have long been taking on increasing debt loads as the public sector has refused to invest in people's needs. And Jesse Snyder reports on the additional debt load COVID-19 is imposing on households (which, unlike governments, can't sustain them in the longer term).

- Polly Toynbee highlights the capital gains which are further distorting the distribution of wealth in favour of the ultra-rich. Luke Savage points out how tech giants have become the new robber barons, including by taking advantage of the crisis which has harmed the productive economy. Mark Harris discusses the cruel absurdity of pandemic disaster capitalism. And David Hillman makes the case for a Robin Hood tax to ensure the financial sector contributes its fair share toward the public good.

- The Canadian Press reports on the conditions attached to federal bailouts for large businesses, which properly include an equity stake for the public. But Canadians for Tax Fairness notes the need to do more to prevent tax dodging by corporate recipients of public aid.

- Finally, Jordan Leichnitz discusses the vital role the federal NDP is playing in ensuring that people aren't left behind by a federal government focused primarily on maintaining the capital-focused status quo.


  1. Greg, I've read many of these "never again" pleas. There's such enormous speculation on what a post-Covid world order will look like, the common assumption seeming to be that we can't go back to our old ways. Beyond that there's a cornucopia of opinions as to what the next big thing "must" look like. It seems we're all over the board on imagining our future. That, to me, suggests we're more apt to get little more than the existing powers pushing a "reset" button to restore the old ways. I don't believe there's much chance of reform without consensus on what that should look like. We need something that enough of us can coalesce behind. We need more than a compass. We need a nuts and bolts blueprint that is as feasible as it is compelling.

  2. I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    Don't get fooled again
    No, no!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss
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    The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again