Friday, September 06, 2019

Musical interlude

Metric - Risk

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Giri Savaraman and Jim Stanford point out the importance of a more collaborative and inclusive economy, even as Australia's right-wing government pushes in the opposite direction:
The problem has not been an absence of productivity growth: our productivity can always be improved, but real wages already lag far behind what productivity growth is occurring. The bigger problem is the failure to share the fruits of productivity growth. And the international evidence is clear that stronger worker rights and collective bargaining also tend to result in a better distribution of income, both among workers and between workers and firms. In other words, better worker rights lead to a larger economic pie that gets more evenly distributed.

The Coalition and its business allies would turn the clock back to a labour market even more dominated by the unilateral power of employers to hire and fire, unilaterally set wages, and take maximum advantage of the desperation of an underutilised, precarious workforce.
Countries with more collaborative, balanced IR systems are eating our lunch in international competition. The solution to that challenge cannot be to suppress wages even further, to disempower and fragment workers even more. If we really want to build a collaborative, innovative, inclusive, dynamic economy, the reforms we badly need in labour law are exactly the opposite of those advanced by the suddenly-vocal warriors of the business community, and its friends in this government.
- Meanwhile, James Meadway writes that it's a good sign that UK Labour's plans to share control and ownership over economic resources with workers is earning the ire of the privileged few seeking to keep a stranglehold on them. And Kate Aronoff discusses the need to take on fossil fuel barons head-on in order to achieve any progress in averting climate disaster. 

- Matto Mildenberger and Erick Lachapelle examine the strong public will for climate action in Canada - including majority support in every riding in the country. But Charlie Gardner and Claire Wordley point out that we need to convert awareness and support into action, rather than counting on captured governments to do what's right. And Nathalie Baptiste notes that climate gentrification is well underway as the wealthiest people try to buy an escape from the damage they're doing to our planet.

-  Finally, Alex Usher writes about the implications of relying on tuition - and particularly inflated levels for foreign students - as the primary funding mechanism for universities. 

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ian Welsh discusses the reality as to how economic decisions are made - and how we've allowed corporate control to remain in place even after it's failed even on its own terms:
All systems have to do only one thing: whatever is required to keep the system in power.

That’s all they have to do. Whether or not human welfare is advanced or not; whether or not we care about animals or nature is irrelevant to the raw calculus of power and staying in power, until it effect staying in power.

If the hoi polloi can be kept from revolting or demanding (remember demands are based on “or else,” they are not requests) well then, the powerful will not do anything that does not increase their power or money. They will only care about human welfare outside of their own group if they feel they must, or if, as happens occasionally, they see their group as being something other than the elite group.

Right now elites don’t care about other humans enough to reshape the money and political systems (the same thing, ultimately) to prioritize human welfare, avoid a great-die-off, or stop climate change. This is clear. It is not arguable, it is a fact, based simply on their actions.
...Capitalism requires both outside management and an insistence on market discipline. It is most important that market discipline be on the large actors, not the small ones, because the large ones set the terms of the market and make most of the allocative decision. When you offer people too cheap loans, they will take them, but you are the one offering them: you are the one in the wrong.

Price signals must encourage doing the right thing. When those with market power either misbehave or mis-allocate money, they must lose their power to do so.
- And Rebecca Leber reports on Elizabeth Warren's recognition that we can't avert a climate breakdown while allowing the fossil fuel sector to pretend that large emitting industries and energy sources aren't the bulk of the problem.

- Cat Hobbs examines (PDF) the value of public ownership and democratic decision-making in ensuring that everybody has climate-friendly housing. And Bridgette Watson offers a reminder of the importance of stable housing in allowing people to recover from addictions.

- Julia Lurie examines how Purdue Pharma developed an astroturf "movement" to increase the sale of addictive pain medication.

- Finally, Tom Sigurdson highlights how a strong organized labour movement helps all workers.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kate Aronoff asks how much destruction is needed before we'll start taking climate change seriously - though the answer at this point looks to be that no amount of damage will be enough to move a substantial number of politicians off their insistence on putting fossil fuel extraction ahead of human well-being.

- Andrew Leach highlights the contrast between the real problems with Alberta's oil sector, and the Conservative talking points insisting that a dirty and costly industry will boom again if only people clap louder for it.

- David Climenhaga discusses how Jason Kenney has laid the groundwork to slash and privatize Alberta's health and education systems to fund corporate tax giveaways. Ricardo Tranjan maps out the per-student cuts faced by Ontario's schools under Doug Ford. And PressProgress notes that Brian Pallister's self-proclaimed achievements include saddling Manitoba with Canada's second-worst ER wait times even while slashing the number of emergency rooms accessible in the first place.

- Finally, P.E. Moskowitz writes about the far right's attempt to squelch all views other than their own in the name of "free speech".

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Perched cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Krugman weighs in on the scam that is trickle-down economics, particularly in the form of tax-free zones which encourage domestic tax evasion.

- Timothy Taylor writes about the changing nature of work - while highlighting that workers who value secure and stable employment are seeing few opportunities. Paul Willcocks examines the deterioration of work over time, while noting that political choices are responsible. And Pilita Clark questions the spread of extreme work hours which add nothing to an individual's contribution or development.

- Anna Mehler Paperny discusses how necessary mental health care is available only to the rich in Canada - though the NDP of course plans to change that.

- Finally, Stephen Maher rightly challenges Joe Oliver's attempt to treat a global climate breakdown as a positive for Canada:
Oliver is echoing a view from the most strident Canadian oil executives, who argue that because Canadians produce a small share of global emissions, we would be foolish to do much to cut them. (They never mention, by the way, that we have among the world’s highest emissions per capita.)

This is a fallback position. They previously argued, and Oliver seemed to agree, that the cause of  climate change was unproven, just as cigarette manufacturers long argued that there was no conclusive evidence that smoking caused cancer.

As the tobacco industry gave up on the pro-smoking argument and started instead warning the public about the dangers of tobacco taxes, the fossil industry is now abandoning the scientific debate and making arguments about what we should do about the situation: not much.

(H)ow hard-hearted do you have to be to look at the biggest ecological and humanitarian disaster in history and think of the economic upside? Only the most flinty-eyed analyst can relish the opportunities created for Canadian farm producers if heat and water shortages make much of India uninhabitable, creating new opportunities for pulse exporters once our Indian competitors have been forced out of business.

Oliver’s arguments are so thin, his conclusions so predictable that he risks losing the respect traditionally accorded to statesmen opining on matters of public importance...

Monday, September 02, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Labour Day reading.

- Hassan Yussuff discusses what's at stake for Canadian workers in this fall's election campaign. And Binyamin Applebaum and Damon Winter rightly point out that while one job can be difficult enough, there are added stresses where workers need to try to satisfy more than one employer in order to scrape by.

- Alyssa Battistoni and Thea Riofrancos write about the importance of a Green New Deal oriented toward economic as well as environmental justice. And Matt Bruenig examines how UK Labour's inclusive ownership funds would serve to keep some wealth in the hands of the workers who generate it, while Jim Pickard and Robert Shrimsley take a look at Jeremy Corbyn's plans for a more fair economy and society in general.

- Trevor Tombe calls out a few of the more glaring falsehoods behind Jason Kenney's separatist messaging.

- Finally, John Michael McGrath offers a reminder that neither the Libs nor the Cons has any reason to brag about their record on same-sex marriage.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- David Lazarus writes about the fundamental dishonesty needed to keep purveying trickle-down spin in the face of all evidence. And Richard Rubin discusses how U.S. Democrats are having a serious discussion about the merits of progressive income and wealth taxes - even as Canada's two corporate parties treat anything of the sort as being off the table.

- Carlito Pablo notes that alongside its basic failure to address the supply and affordability of housing generally, the Libs' tax credit for home buyers is flat-out unavailable in the most expensive housing markets where the need is most acute.

- Doug Cuthand points out that the burning of the Amazon rain forest represents a particularly stark - but all-too-familiar - example of colonial disrespect for land and the Indigenous people who rely on and protect it. And Kendra Pierre-Louis points out that fires are becoming more frequent and severe around the globe as a result of our ongoing climate breakdown.

- Diana Yoon and Ian Borsuk make the case for Canada to stop validating Jair Bolsonaro's exterminationism. And Simon Tisdall notes that far too many governments are looking to exploit the effects of climate chaos rather than lifting a finger to prevent it - with Donald Trump's musings about buying a melting Greenland as just one of the more glaring examples.

- Finally, David Thurton reports on the Libs' lack of any plan to deal with the Arctic region after a full term in government.