Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- PressProgress highlights the disturbingly large number of Canadians spending more than half their income on a restrictively-defined set of basic necessities. And Elaine Power points out what a basic income could do to end food insecurity and improve public health:
We know from the social determinants of health literature that there is a gradient in health, such that people who live in poverty are much more likely to develop chronic diseases requiring dietary management, such as diabetes and heart disease. Being food insecure makes it impossible to eat properly to manage these conditions. We also have evidence that for those who are precariously food secure, getting a diagnosis of a chronic disease may be enough to tip the household into food insecurity. This may be a result of the extra associated costs of the disease (e.g., paying for blood sugar monitoring equipment) or because of the disruption of the careful management strategies, or some combination.

Canadian research published last summer shows that as food insecurity worsens, health care costs rise. In the most food insecure households, where people were skipping meals, health care costs were 76% higher than in households that were food secure. When the cost of prescription drugs was added in, health care costs were 121% higher in the most food insecure households compared to food secure households. This means that reducing food insecurity, by addressing poverty, will save money in the health care system.
A basic income guarantee could replace social assistance, with all its problems, as well as supplement earned income. An adequate basic income would virtually eliminate food insecurity in this country. This is one of the major ways in which basic income would operate to save us money, by improving health and saving costs in the health care system.
- Kev offers a worthwhile call for togetherness order to succeed as individuals, while Maggie Wente, Michael McClurg and Bryce Edwards discuss Canada's gross underfunding of First Nations as a prime example of how we're falling short of that basic principle.

- Lucy Shaddock writes about the importance of a unified labour movement as the strongest force to reduce inequality. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on organizing among fitness instructors to make employers' actions match their promises, while Drew Millard interviews Tom Slee about how the "sharing economy" in fact grinds down working conditions for everybody.

- Finally, Michael Geist observes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is resulting in massive changes to Canada's intellectual property law long before it's been ratified - and even as the Libs pretend to be interested in hearing from the public.

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