Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David Cay Johnston observes that the U.S.' extreme inequality goes far beyond money alone. And Jesse Myerson notes that a basic income can be supported based on principles held across the political spectrum, while making the case as to how it should be developed to serve as a counterbalance to the abuses of capitalism:
The engine fueling capitalism’s indefinite tendency to expand is mass dependence on the market to secure the means of subsistence. Because the majority of us have to work in order to afford the trappings of dignity, the market is able to impose its imperatives on all of society. Ellen Meiksins Wood articulates these drives clearly: “the compulsions of competition, profit-maximization, capital accumulation, and a relentless imperative to improve the productivity of labor so as to reduce costs in order to reduce prices.”

The way to break from this market subjugation is to guarantee material security as a human right, providing everyone with an “exit” from the job market. (Any good libertarian must concede that exit opportunity is a necessary precondition for a market to be “free.”)

While rights-based income wouldn’t stop capitalism’s advance, it would take the cinderblock off the gas pedal. It would also provide two critical tools to those trying to hit the brakes: social adjustment to the guaranteed right to a dignified life, and the provision of extra free time and cash to those motivated to defend and expand it. More patriotically, a basic income aimed at divorcing work from pay would provide the conditions for what the Declaration of Independence promises: the freedom to pursue happiness, however elusive.
- The American Heart Association discusses the social factors which stand in the way of reducing heart diseases (among other illnesses).

- Armine Yalnizyan points out that the Cons' economic track record is unimpressive even on their narrow choice of metrics and international comparators, while looking even worse from the standpoint of secure work for Canadians. And Mark Huelsman argues that the path to growth in the future involves making education readily accessible and affordable, rather than burying generations of workers under massive student debts.

- Amanda Connolly writes that travel bans like the one being peddled by the Harper Cons are standard fare for authoritarian governments, while the National Post concludes that there's no way around the fact that it has everything to do with politics rather than security. Michael Harris comments on Stephen Harper's cowardly retreat from anybody who hasn't been pre-vetted for his political convenience, while Don Lenihan writes that we shouldn't trust a government which so thoroughly distrusts the people it governs. And David Beers assembles a thorough list of the Cons' abuses of power.

- Finally, Tara Lohan points out that the U.S. is shifting more and more to renewable energy due to cost alone. But Zak Markan reports on yet another of the Cons' steps to avoid having the real costs of the oil industry paid by the people who stand to profit from it, as Shell's offshore drilling plan (approved by the Cons) allows it to leave any subsea blowout to spill oil for up to 21 days.

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