Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Maude Barlow and Sujata Dey point out that the job promises linked to CETA and other new trade agreements are no more plausible than the false ones made in previous rounds of corporate rights giveaways. And the Canadian Labour Congress discusses the secrecy surrounding the new set of deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Meanwhile, the International Labour Organization documents the connection between collective bargaining rights and greater equality. And lest anybody think there's a tradeoff to be made between equality based on labour rights and growth based on corporate control, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research finds that "flexible" labour markets do nothing to improve productivity or output. (Which, if course, isn't to say that the Cons plan to do anything but stomp on workers for the sake of stomping on workers.)

- Peter Fleming comments on the eroding relationship between productivity, social utility and pay for workers. And in a particularly stark example of how the system is rigged against workers, Chris Thompson reports on the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario's findings about an employer who used the leverage provided by the temporary foreign worker program to sexually abuse employees.

- Stephen Kimber writes that corporate charity ultimately serves only the purposes of the businesses who get to dictate terms to recipients - meaning that we should refuse to eliminate public supports in favour of private handouts.

- And finally, on that front, Duncan Cameron makes the case for a more fair tax system which both reduces inequality and ensures we have the revenue to take care of everybody:
Today, accepting that the rich should pay a fair share of taxes would constitute progress. Through tax cuts, money is being returned to corporations and the wealthy. Personal tax cuts enacted by the Chr├ętien Liberals in the 2000 budget put one-third of the benefits in the pockets of the richest five per cent of taxpayers.

Economists can be found arguing that taxing the rich reduces incentives to create wealth. True-believing right-wingers argue that the rich are entitled to whatever money they have, regardless of how that money is used or how it was obtained. Cynics simply observe that through provincial sales taxes and the GST, it is possible to soak the poor, always more numerous than the rich.

With greed being presented as a virtue, even the idea that all individuals benefit from redistributing resources through taxation to provide education, health care, recreation, and access to cultural activities for the entire population can seem counterintuitive. Yet the principle that each should contribute to society according to ability to pay retains its power.

Whoever knows financial success already reaps more material benefits than others, and should be called upon to contribute accordingly. Wealth and high income confer rewards; such resources provide the fortunate a greater responsibility for collective endeavours. 

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