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Do pandemic income supports encourage people to stay off work? Of course — and that could be a good thing

Friday, June 4th, 2021

… this could really shake up capitalism for the better. How? If workers choose to stay in bed, employers might (rationally) choose to entice them back with higher wages… Higher pay though would also narrow the equality gap… People just don’t like bed that much. In fact, they like work, especially if it involves some satisfaction.

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Spare some pity for right-wing premiers in the time of COVI

Friday, December 11th, 2020

… a global pandemic isn’t the best circumstance for invoking libertarian individualism and the all-purpose value of the private sector, then standing aside. Active government has its problems, but someone has to do something right now, not just wait for the invisible hand to generate profitable solutions… Doug Ford… more a right-wing populist than an ideological conservative… is about “the little guy,” by which he means small business owners, never their employees.

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Doug Ford’s love-hate relationship with the nanny state

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

If there’s any time not to demean “the state” in utterly clichéd terms, it’s now. He’s clueless enough to unsheathe the nanny-state weapon at the very moment when governmental action is the only recourse, in a time of virtual — and literally viral — war. There is no substitute for the state in a war.

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It’s not an ‘affordability crisis,’ it’s a class conflict

Friday, August 30th, 2019

It’s not an affordability crisis, it’s a class conflict. It requires redistribution of wealth, not population… But they pin it on affordability, as if it’s a virus that calls for bed rest, rather than on the rich and their agenda since the 1980s, starting with with the panic over “deficits,” a word that came out of nowhere, too, so that public spending had to be slashed and taxes cut since “it’s your money and you should keep it” — as if you can build your own schools and public transit, once you’ve got a few more bucks in pocket.

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Paul Ryan re-ignites old collectivism vs individualism debate

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

16 August 2012
… take the Internet, which is shredding hard-won dogmas about individual property and ownership created during capitalism’s three or four centuries. Just when you get rid of those pesky proletarian revolutionaries, along comes a new, essentially collectivist technology making similar trouble… Given the undeniable (it seems to me) collective underpinning of all our lives, what’s astounding isn’t claims for “collectivism,” which simply describes what we are; it’s the emergence of individuals and even individualism from such a powerful collective base.

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Referendums at heart of Swiss political system

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

July 21, 2012
… referendums aren’t just an aspect of Swiss democracy, they’re its most distinctive, beloved element. On a national level they’re usually held four times a year, with multiple items each time. On cantonal (provincial) or local levels, they’re even more common… there, voting happens constantly. Not just voting, but weighing and debating. “The whole society is in a constant state of discussion… The process has a moderating rather than radicalizing influence, leading to what’s called a negotiation or consensus democracy

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Political obsolescence is in the eye of the beholder

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Mar 29 2012
Now, labour-hostile governments are all anyone under 40 has seen… I don’t blame the neo-liberals (also known as neo-cons) for having taken their shot… Their formulas turned out to lead directly to the crash of 2008 but, in the manner of true believers in all eras, they said we hadn’t done enough of what they prescribed. Our lack of faith in their creed was the problem; it was time for more austerity, deregulation etc… It suggests an opening for something different and genuinely new. Like what — activist, redistributive government?

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Jason Kenney’s immigrant song sounds strangely off-key

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Mar 08 2012
This is the Harper version of multiculturalism. They couldn’t have copied the outright anti-immigrant, anti-multiculti stances of admired figures like Germany’s Merkel or France’s Sarkozy…. Jason Kenney appears at (almost) every ethnic gathering yet sounds negative and hostile in most of his policies: denouncing levels of fraud in getting citizenship, changing the test, banning veils at the ceremony and this week attacking “birth tourism.”

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The decline of deference [and the internet]

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Dec 29 2011
That sense of an alternative way to run things is what the Internet may have implanted. In its early years, flame wars and other epidemics of egomania obscured its potential for collective, lateral decision-making. But now there’s Wikipedia and it works. You don’t need the Encyclopaedia Britannica and its stable of authorities. Or at least: you needn’t defer to them; they’ve become another resource. The discovery of new ways to decide leads to a diminished need for authority… The power of authority diminishes when you can hear credible, contesting voices.

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The Bible and ethical economics

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Dec 22 2011
In his book, Economics of Good and Evil… Sedlacek says, a moral thread runs through economics until the modern era, based on a sense of mutual human responsibility. With that moral element now eliminated, you wind up bailing out (“forgiving”) the biggest, most powerful debtor/sinners, i.e. the banks, but doing nothing for the poor and destitute, who were supposed to inherit the Earth… Nobody uses econometrics to calculate gifts they give or gratitude they feel. The whole process is uneconomic — but only in the withered, current sense.

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