Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Branko Milanovic discusses how our current means of measuring inequality may leave out the most important part of the story in the form of wealth deliberately hidden from public view:
(T)here are at least two problems. First, the rich especially, but everybody else as well, have a clear interest in minimizing their incomes to reduce taxes they pay. Second, the rich engage, as we have seen in the Panama Papers, in massive schemes to hide their assets and income. Thus, despite our best efforts to uncover the full extent of top incomes we are only at the beginning of a long road.

So it is perhaps the right time to think how fiscal data should be improved, how fiscal and household survey should be made more compatible, and most ambitiously, whether better administrative data (like the world register of wealth proposed by Piketty and Zucman) should be created, both to tax wealth and to combat fiscal evasion. We are already moving to the next stage of methodological development where the concern with incomes of the rich, partly because they have become so much richer than the others, partly because they wield huge political power, and partly because they are hiding their assets, may take center stage.
- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood notes that even free-trade cheerleaders such as the C.D. Howe Institute can't spin the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a light that would result in any meaningful economic benefits to offset democratic losses.

- Liam Richards reports on the Conference Board of Canada's finding that Saskatchewan is the worst jurisdiction in the developed world when it comes to environmental policy.

- Evgeny Morozov examines how major tech firms are well on their way to taking monopoly control over the data underlying most of private lives. [Update: See also Ian Welsh on the effects of the latest and most pervasive technological changes.]

- Finally, Alison reviews what a week of "real change" looks like for the Trudeau Libs, while Aaron Wherry notes that omnibus budget bills are just one more carryover from the Harper Cons. And John Manley's shilling for the sale of arms to human rights violators offers a reminder of the Libs' general priorities.

[Edit: fixed link as per comment.]


  1. The second last link, "Alison reviews", does not work. I would like to read the article. Thanks.