Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Murray Dobbin connects a pattern of economic trends which has seen more and more wealth concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people to the elimination of public discussion about work life:
The neo-liberal revolution of the 1980s proposed unfettered capitalism -- privatization, a downsized state, deregulation, free trade, low taxes and last but not least so-called "labour flexibility." That convenient euphemism simply means reducing the power, and independence of labour through cuts to EI and welfare and maintaining high unemployment levels that suppress wages. All of these initiatives were driven by globalization -- the hyper-competition of a voracious capitalism driven by finance capital.

But globalization is in its death throes and national economies are back. Those countries able to take advantage of robust domestic economies will fare better than those still trying to compete in a world of ever-increasing trade which no longer exists. Domestic economies thrive on high wage jobs and citizens who actually have money to spend and savings to fall back on when things get tough. They thrive when workers thrive -- when they feel valued, have enough leisure time to rest between work days, and are able to fully separate work from family life and, of course, when they have access to child care and elder care.
The days of ever-expanding trade are over but suddenly that strong domestic economy -- a safety net at a time of global recession -- has been severely weakened. Corporate CEOs and governments show no sign of having figured this out so the misery is likely to continue. Unions are scarcely any more attuned. Perhaps they should base their organizing and bargaining efforts more on work-life balance issues and demonstrate that they, at least, understand the problem.
- But then, Dr. Dawg notes that another problem has contributed to our continued corporatist drift - and it will take far more discussion about what we can do better (rather than merely what we're trying to preserve) to truly motivate citizens who have tuned out petty squabbles over what slightly different corporate-friendly options are available.

- And Sheila Pratt reports on Environics polling showing both that conservative economic messages have little resonance with the public at large, and that a strong majority of Canadians support protest movements to ensure citizens' needs are better reflected in public policy.

- Meanwhile, Bill Tieleman points out that continued poverty and inequality are antithetical to the spirit that should animate the Christmas season.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt laments the selection of Luka Magnotta as Canada's newsmaker of the year.


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