Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford points out that the Harper Cons' already-dismal economic track record is only getting worse. And Nora Loreto notes that even on the Cons' own estimates, the Trans-Pacific Partnership looks to result in Canada paying more in compensation to industries hurt by another corporate rights agreement than we'll see in economic impacts.

- Ritika Goel discusses Canada's desperate need for a federal housing strategy, which is promised by the NDP alone among our major political parties - meaning we can add one more item to CUPE's list of areas where the Libs' platform falls short. And David Macdonald compares the progressivity of the party platforms on offer in the ongoing election campaign.

- Jill Treanor reports that half of the world's wealth is now officially in the hands of the 1%, while Canadians for Tax Fairness reminds us that fair taxes should be a key demand as we decide how to vote. And Katie Allen writes that greater inequality is leading to an ever-less-fair playing field for children not born into wealth and privilege.

- But lest we think there's no hope for improvement, George Monbiot points out that people are generally predisposed toward unselfish values - only to act based on the belief that others don't share that outlook:
A study by the Common Cause Foundation, due to be published next month, reveals two transformative findings. The first is that a large majority of the 1,000 people they surveyed – 74% – identifies more strongly with unselfish values than with selfish values. This means that they are more interested in helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness and justice than in money, fame, status and power. The second is that a similar majority – 78% – believes others to be more selfish than they really are. In other words, we have made a terrible mistake about other people’s minds.
The effects of an undue pessimism about human nature are momentous. As the foundation’s survey and interviews reveal, those who have the bleakest view of humanity are the least likely to vote. What’s the point, they reason, if everyone else votes only in their own selfish interests? Interestingly, and alarmingly for people of my political persuasion, it also discovered that liberals tend to possess a dimmer view of other people than conservatives do. Do you want to grow the electorate? Do you want progressive politics to flourish? Then spread the word that other people are broadly well-intentioned.

Misanthropy grants a free pass to the grasping, power-mad minority who tend to dominate our political systems. If only we knew how unusual they are, we might be more inclined to shun them and seek better leaders. It contributes to the real danger we confront: not a general selfishness, but a general passivity. Billions of decent people tut and shake their heads as the world burns, immobilised by the conviction that no one else cares.

You are not alone. The world is with you, even if it has not found its voice.
- Finally, John Milloy suggests we should be somewhat relieved - though not rendered complacent - by the justified backlash against the Cons' politics of division. And Peter Russell and Doreen Barrie argue that the Cons' lack of respect for the rule of law represents yet another reason to demand change.

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