Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Vancouver Sun interviews Andrew MacLeod about his new book on inequality in British Columbia. And Tanara Yelland talks to Guy Standing about the need for governments responsive to the needs of the precariat:
One central demand Standing makes is for the establishment of a universal basic income. Having the Canadian government provide all citizens (or all residents regardless of citizenship status, if you want to get really radical) would allow people to live without fear of things like starvation and homelessness, and would actually, according to research done on the subject, lead to low-income people working more. 

The current employment insurance system in Canada, which pays a portion of a person's last salary but ends payments once they've found work paying 20 percent more than their benefits, disincentivizes people from accepting work that might be temporary or with unstable hours. Getting a meager yet reliable amount from the government makes far more sense than taking a job whose hours you can't depend on—especially when you know that should your job end, it will be a month or more before you see any new benefit money coming in.

"In effect," said Standing, "the system for the precariat has a huge disincentive for people taking low-wage jobs and punishes them for doing so. That is thoroughly unfair."
- Meanwhile, Sarah Kendzior discusses how payday lenders exploit unstable work and unreliable income.

- Ian Welsh offers an important suggestion as to how the left needs to respond to the UK's election of a Conservative majority, while Gerard Di Trolio sees the NDP's emergence in Alberta as a prime example as to how challenges to corporate orthodoxy can be as politically beneficial as they are socially necessary. And Roderick Benns writes that Naheed Nenshi and Don Iveson are among the emerging group of politicians willing to tackle burgeoning poverty and inequality head-on - while noting that other levels of government will need to participate to develop truly effective policies.

- Peter Beinart proposes a name-and-shame approach to the outsized influence of the filthy rich in U.S. politics.

- And finally, Maude Barlow studies the Harper Cons' concerted effort to stifle citizens' voices in Canada.

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