Thursday, April 01, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Atkinson and Haizhen Mou discuss their new polling showing that Canadians are particularly concerned with climate change and good jobs as part of our recovery from the pandemic - making a Green New Deal an obvious win-win. And Seth Klein writes about both the opportunity for the Alberta NDP and other parties to offer a clear path toward a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and the risks in both political outcomes and policy results if they fail to do so.

- Peter Hotez writes about the damage being done to people's lives by the anti-science movement and its right-wing adherents and enablers around the globe. And PressProgress reports on the social conservative takeover of the Cons' national council as a vivid example of organized ignorance translating into substantial power. 

- Marc Lee writes about some of the ancillary policy changes which may help public and non-profit housing developments to succeed. And Kate Bezanson, Andrew Bevan and Monica Lysack note that when it comes to child care, funding is the primary hurdle standing in the way of a national system.

- The New York Times' editorial board points out how third-party verification of business income could go a long way toward ensuring that corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of taxes. 

- Finally, Andrew Jackson reviews Mark Carney's new book - and highlights how it only confirms the strict limits of neoliberal politics in which the role of elected governments is merely to shape the distribution of private capital:

It is refreshing to see recognition of the limits of private ownership and markets by such a prominent establishment figure, especially when it comes to dealing with financial excess, the climate crisis and rising economic inequality. However, Carney, while recognizing the need for government regulation and a non market sphere, emphasizes most the need to shift to stakeholder capitalism and socially responsible investment. Indeed he does so to the point of naivete.


Realists will doubt with good reason that stakeholder capitalism and social investment amount to much more than corporate PR. One can readily point to manifestly predatory corporate behaviour when it comes to price gouging monopolies, speculative finance, corporations undermining health and safety standards and promoting dangerous goods and practices (as in the opioid crisis), or profiting from intellectual property ownership of medically necessary vaccines and drugs, denial of labour rights and standards and resistance to unions, wilful denial of climate change by large energy companies over many years, pervasive corporate tax evasion, systemic discrimination in employment, and so on.

In fairness, Carney does not deny the need for government supervision and regulation to balance corporate capitalism with broader social goals. But his faith in socially responsible capitalism is excessive.

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