Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato makes the case for a progressive message of shared wealth creation:
A progressive economic agenda must have at its heart an understanding of wealth creation as a collective process. Yes, businesses are wealth creators, but they do not create wealth alone. Workers, public institutions and civil organisations are also wealth creators. Their collective actions can increase the investments required to drive long-run growth and productivity. But this will happen only if the private and public sectors find a way to share the risks and rewards of the 21st century.

This demands moving away from the idea that the public sector merely facilitates the private sector, or picks up the downside in an economy where the risks are borne by a “flexible” workforce and the rewards hoarded by corporate giants. Instead, we must consider how responsibilities can be shared for the bold investments that are needed. The current situation has led to an overly financialised private sector – with company profits being spent not on reinvestment, but on gimmicks to bolster stock options such as share buybacks – and to a public sector that is told to create the conditions for growth and let the private sector do the steering and profit-making.

Some separate economic from societal problems, stating that we must address the former before we can tackle the latter. But the future for progressives lies in advancing the two together. It is through applying our minds to societal and environmental issues that we can lay the foundations for future prosperity. The means is “mission-oriented” policy, where an objective – such as landing a human being on the moon or decarbonising the economy – can offer a fresh direction for the entire economy. Meeting challenges such as climate change by steering the economy in a green direction requires more than a “nudging” mentality. “Nudging” assumes business already wants to invest in new areas and merely requires incentivising through reductions in tax or regulations. But the animal spirits of business must be created, not assumed. This requires a more active market-shaping and market-creating framework that sparks business excitement about new investment.
- George Monbiot is the latest to point out that if we have any hope of meeting the global climate targets set in Paris, we need transition away from extracting fossil fuels immediately. But Derrick O'Keefe reports that the future of our planet hasn't been considered important enough for the Trudeau Libs to hold off on approving a liquid natural gas climate bomb.

- Aditya Chakrabortty writes that the systematic degradation of working conditions and employee rights goes far beyond the sectors where they're most visible.

- Michelle Zilio notes that the recent fabricated controversy over Maryaf Monsef's country of birth serves mostly to highlight how capricious Canada's citizenship laws are. And Ian MacLeod highlights the federal Privacy Commissioner's latest annual report which finds an almost total lack of interest in protecting Canadians' personal information.

- Finally, Catherine Hall discusses how the shameful legacy of slavery is still echoing in the right's efforts to dehumanize minorities around the globe.

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