Do Canadians need more direct democracy?

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

March 6, 2012
… voting is a critical component of any functioning democracy, but it is certainly not the only one. Equally important is the presence of political discourse, public debate and consultation, and accommodating citizen demands. The problem with this, though, is that so few opportunities exist for ordinary citizens to participate directly in the political process – especially when it comes to actually influencing or shaping public policy and political decisions.

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The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Nov. 7, 2011
The findings… are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves… They show that traders and fund managers throughout Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin… Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations… This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills.

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Posted in Equality Policy Context | 1 Comment »

The real effect of ‘Reaganomics’

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Monday 7 February 2011
In Reagan’s caricature, the central divide between progressives and conservatives is that progressives trust the government to make key decisions on production and distribution, while conservatives trust the market… In reality, the right uses government all the time to advance its interest by setting rules that redistribute income upward… There is no way that government interventions will reverse a rigged market. For some reason, most of the people in the national political debate who consider themselves progressive do not seem to understand this fact.

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May Toronto’s G20 be the last

Monday, June 28th, 2010

27 June 2010
The fact that so much attention has been directed towards the policing is largely due to the lack of anything newsworthy coming out of the summit itself… If the Canadian experience has taught us anything, it is that such meetings are simply not worth the candle. There are more than enough forums already available for national leaders to discuss the key issues of our time, and almost every one of them has a greater claim to openness and inclusivity than the G20. Now is the time to end the charade of these summits once and for all.

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The way we live now

Monday, June 21st, 2010

March 14, 2009
The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet’s resources.

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The roots of poverty and the importance of long-term records

Monday, June 14th, 2010

14 June 2010
The anti-poverty target requires the government to increase the lowest incomes until no child lives in a household with a net income less than 60% of the median. This can be achieved when the government chooses to raise minimum wage rates and tax credits for those who work for poverty wages (more than half of children in poverty live in working households), and all the benefits for children and those who cannot find work or who are not able to take it.

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Thinking the truly unthinkable on poverty and inequality

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

June 10, 2010
When a small group is holding the rest of the country to ransom, whether it is the union barons of the 1970s or the company directors of today, it has ceased to be part of the solution and has become part of the problem. Something, as they say, must be done.

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Canada, cuts and communities

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

9 June 201o
The lesson from the “Canadian-style star chamber” of the 1990s is that it is brutally easy to make swingeing cuts to public social expenditures, but that those cuts have deep and long-term consequences for people, communities, the entire society and the economy.

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How a bill of rights could challenge policy [UK]

Monday, June 7th, 2010

07 Jun 2010
It is widely recognised now that poverty is about much more than low income – it reflects poor health and education, deprivation in knowledge and communication, and the inability to exercise political rights. Conversely, socioeconomic or “anti-poverty” rights – the right to health, housing or food – are increasingly recognised as a tool for empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty… There is little point addressing one without the other. But it takes a brave politician to admit it.

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Focusing on child poverty was always a dead end

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

27 May 2010
The reality is that the public sector grew because the private (or privatised) sector had already failed… The important thing is to concentrate really hard on backing people and ideas that can generate appropriate earned income for the people who need it most… Shrinking the state will not, in itself, inflate the private sector. That’s a myth. But socially responsible inflation of the private sector must be nurtured, right now, or the inevitable cuts in public services will leave millions abandoned.

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