Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Morning Links

Miscellanous material for your Monday reading.

- Will Hutton recognizes that an unregulated market can lead to disastrous results for everybody concerned - and that conversely, effective regulation can help to ensure the success of businesses which best meet the long-term needs of their workers and customers:
What the Paterson worldview has never understood is that effective regulation is a source of competitive advantage. If Britain had a tough Food Standards Agency, it would become a gold standard for food quality, labelling and hygiene. British supermarkets and food companies could become known for their quality at home and abroad, rather as "over-regulated" German car companies are, rather than first suspects when something dodgy is going on. Capitalism does not organise itself to deliver best outcomes, whatever rightwing American thinktanks might claim. There has to be careful thought, law and regulation about the obligations that accompany incorporation and ownership, how supply chains are organised and how companies are managed and financed. Otherwise disaster awaits.
- Frances Russell notes that as a result of limited direct federal powers, equalization is the most important means to ensure that entire provinces aren't left behind - making it all the more insidious that the Canadian right is attacking equalization at every opportunity.

- Caroline Fairchild points out a Centre for Economic and Policy Research study on the minimum wage - showing that if it had kept pace with productivity, U.S. workers would make a minimum of $21.72 per hour. But perhaps more jarring is the fact that by at least some accounts, the average U.S. wage level is now lower than that productivity-adjusted minimum wage.

- Mike de Souza reports that Joe Oliver has been well aware for some time of dangerous contaminants spreading from the tar sands to Alberta groundwater. No word yet on Oliver's eagerness to take a tasty drink of the samples involved - but the fact he hasn't been interested enough to withdraw his claims that he'd happily encourage people to consume tar-sands byproducts speaks volumes about his government's lack of interest in healthy water.

- Finally, from the department of people I'd like to hear from more often...
The early surveys show as many as a quarter of those who remembered seeing the (Con's "Action Plan") ads in 2009 took some action, such as registering for a home renovation credit.

But that number steadily declined in 2010 and 2011, and by April 2012 only about seven per cent of people who said they saw the ads did something as a result.

One of the actions described by respondents in last year's survey included "expressed my disbelief."


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