Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Evening Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- George Monbiot discusses the effect of inegalitarian and austerian policies imposed by the UK Conservatives:
(T)he neoliberal programme has closed down political choice. If the market, as the doctrine insists, is the only valid determinant of how societies evolve, and the market is dominated by giant corporations, then what big business wants is what society gets. You can see this squalid reality at work in Cameron's speech last week. "We have listened to what business wants and we are delivering on it. Business said, 'We want competitive tax rates,' so we are creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20 and the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G7 …". What about the rest of us? Don't we get a say?

The neoliberal hypothesis has been disproved spectacularly. Far from regulating themselves, untrammelled markets were saved from collapse only by government intervention and massive injections of public money. Far from delivering universal prosperity, government cuts have pushed us further into crisis. Yet this very crisis is now being used as an excuse to apply the doctrine more fiercely than before.

So where is the economic elite? Counting the money it has stashed in unregulated tax havens. Thirty years of neoliberalism have allowed the super-rich to detach themselves from the lives of others to such an extent that economic crises scarcely touch them. You could see this as yet another market failure. Even if they are affected, the rich are doubtless prepared to pay an economic price for the political benefits – freedom from democratic restraint – that the doctrine offers.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson points out the Canadian Tax Journal's feature on tax-free savings accounts as a gratuitous giveaway to the wealthy.

- Alice takes a look at the fund-raising trends for Canada's political parties, with perhaps the most interesting development coming in some of the names showing up on the NDP's donor list:
(A) quick scan of the party donor lists hints at another part of the explanation. With names like Louise Arbour (if it's the same person, once touted as a potential Liberal leader), and that of a former national campaign director for the Green Party showing up on the NDP's return, it suggests the strategic voting / contributing card is being played by the NDP for a change.
- Linda McQuaig laments the fact that climate change is apparently being treated as something less than newsworthy even in the midst of a summer loaded with extreme weather.

- Finally, Jason Kenney and his staff are coming up with news ways to try to silence anybody who actually cares about the well-being of refugees in Canada. But thankfully the Law Society of Upper Canada wasn't willing to play along with a frivolous complaint which could have served as a precedent to silence professionals across the country.

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