Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Hamilton Nolan interviews Branko Milanovic about inequality on both a national and international scale - and how there's little reason to take heart in reductions in the latter if it's paired with increases in the former:
Gawker: Is it fair for people to ask what good the reduction in global inequality is doing them, if within their nations inequality is on the rise? 

Milanovic: Global inequality is such an abstract concept, simply because there is no global government. Telling people in rich countries who have had no increase in real incomes, stagnant median wages and so on, that on the other hand global inequality is going down because people who are much poorer than them are getting richer—it’s something that maybe they would like in an abstract sense, because everyone is happy there are fewer poor Chinese, but you may not be as happy if these Chinese are taking your job. So I don’t think a politically reasonable defense of the current situation is to tell the people who feel they’ve been losing economically within their own country that, on the other hand, they are contributing to some greater good externally.

Gawker: What do you think the wisest move is, for those who are not the highest earners, to mitigate inequality? 

Milanovic: If the solution were simple, we would have done it. But if you agree with that sort of description of the perils of populism and plutocracy, then the answer is really greater attention from the winners of globalization towards those who are dissatisfied. Because the well understood self-interest at the top would tell them that you cannot just continue with policies forever if you have a significant pool of people who are unhappy. So the self-interest would say, “let’s see what we can do to make their position better.” It could be higher tax on the top incomes, closing down the loopholes they have at the top that lobbyists have been very successful at making, encouraging small shareholders—broadening the ownership of capital, which is very heavily concentrated...

This is not a short term solution, because whatever change you make now is going to take five or ten years to make an impact. But you cannot just ignore it forever.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Coyne examines how a basic income could work in Canada.

- Anjuli Patil reports on a move among municipalities to resume providing services directly as they learn about the higher cost and lower effectiveness of privatization. But Andy Blatchford writes that rather than taking the public's interests into account, the Trudeau Libs are looking at large-scale plans to turn public assets into private profit engines. And Brent Patterson points out just a few of the problems with that course of action.

- Daniel Tseghay and Samantha Ponting point out that actual workers have been almost entirely excluded from a federal review of the temporary foreign worker program.

- Jason Warick reports on Roy Romanow's new role as co-chair of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

- Finally, Marie-Danielle Smith highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change on First Nations communities. And Reid Southwick reports on new research showing the growing health gap between First Nations people and other residents of Alberta.

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