Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson offers his prescription for Canada's economy in the face of plunging oil prices and a sinking dollar. And Murray Dobbin argues that the Libs' handling of trade agreements reflects a fundamental economic choice between a socially-oriented economic outlook which has worked in the past, and a neoliberal one which hasn't:
Even if these agreements actally enhanced trade, international trade will almost certainly remain in the doldrums for the foreseeable future. This is the case not just because of the slowdown in growth in China but because most developed countries are struggling and following neoliberal policies of austerity and suppression of wages -- the same deadly combo Canada has experienced. It all adds up to chronic low demand and diminished world trade.

One can only hope that Trudeau and his advisers will conclude that when approaching economic growth they should focus on the things they can change and avoid those they can't. Between 75 and 80 per cent of our economy is domestic: good and services produced and consumed here. If the government actually wants to grow the Canadian economy it has to find a way out of its trade straightjacket and stimulate the domestic economy. The country that rejects the ideological extremism of neoliberalism first will have a huge advantage over the next 10 years.

But to do so requires an actual rejection of some key neoliberal policies -- including, of course, rejection of any more investment protection agreements. Additionally, as I argued in a recent column, a return to fair and robust taxation sufficient to bring the government share of the economy back to 1980 levels -- levels necessary to permanently stimulate the domestic economy.
- And in a similar vein, David Lane makes the case for market socialism as an alternative to neoliberal economic assumptions.

- Maude Barlow writes that nobody wins when businesses are able to dictate public policy on all sides of a trade deal. And PressProgress points out the absurdity of reopening the CETA to slightly reduce its level of corporate control while refusing to do the same with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Bruce Cheadle reports that the Harper Cons' political attacks on charities are finally being wound down, though it's not clear whether the Libs are willing to reverse the damage already done. And Richard Murphy discusses how the UK's tax authorities are inexplicably allowing Google to bargain away its tax obligations - leaving the public to pick up the tab.

- Finally, Susana Mas notes that the Cons' attempt to sell Canadian residency to plutocrats has run into a lack of interested buyers.

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