Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Mark Gongloff takes a look at social mobility research from multiple countries, and finds that there's every reason for concern that inheritance is far outweighing individual attributes in determining social status. And Left Futures notes that the problem may only get worse as our corporate overlords become more and more sophisticated at cannibalizing our commonwealth for profit.

- Speaking of which, Jake MacDonald offers an insightful (if maddening) review of how farmers are suffering from the demolition of the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board.

- Andrew Jackson comments on the Cons' glaring failure to do anything to combat child poverty. And Cameron Dearlove discusses why we shouldn't pretend that child welfare is merely a family matter:
Child poverty should be of concern not only to parents and those who work with children, it must be of concern to the whole community. The experience of poverty has detrimental impacts on any individual, but when it's experienced through childhood development, the impacts are even more acute. 

Not having enough to eat, or not being able to afford healthy foods, impacts a child's concentration in school and can lead to lower academic achievement, along with negative effects on physical health. The stresses of poverty affect psychosocial development, with higher rates of behavioural problems and emotional and mental health challenges. 

The connection between a poorer diet and poorer health are obvious, but research has shown an even larger association with poverty's impact on cognitive development. One study of children entering kindergarten found 72 per cent of the non-poor children were proficient in recognizing words, compared to only 19 per cent of children experiencing poverty. These differences are shown to compound throughout life into adulthood. 

The impacts of poverty on development are not equal across ages. The detrimental effects of poverty are most severe in early childhood brain development, when future cognitive, social, and emotional functions are being shaped. This makes early intervention in childhood poverty even more pressing.
- Theophilas Argitas reports on new polling showing that while the tar sands may be the Cons' one and only priority, Canadians on the balance would prefer that we not focus on developing them further. Bruce Johnstone links that public concern with the inherent dangers of resource reliance as reason for concern about our economic direction. And Jon Queally writes about Kinder Morgan's failed injunction against the people seeking to defend Burnaby Mountain.

- Finally, Haroon Siddiqui points out how the Cons' exploitative mindset fits with Canada's historic colonial attitude toward First Nations and the environment they rely on. And while Diane Francis is a bit too focused on profits, she too recognizes that it's long past time to stop shirking our responsibilities.

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