Showing posts from March 29, 2014

Canada Gives Human Rights the Cold Shoulder: Disgraceful Response to UN Human Rights Review Contains No New Commitments

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[A piece from six months ago, but well worth reviewing now that Harper is grandstanding to the UN, demanding immediate action in support of Ukraine. *RON*]
Amnesty International, September 19, 2013

In presenting a deeply disappointing report today at the UN Human Rights Council, outlining Canada’s response to a review of the country’s human rights record carried out in April 2013, the Canadian government has squandered a valuable opportunity to move forward in addressing important national human rights concerns and to demonstrate human rights leadership on the world stage.

Canada was reviewed under the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process on April 26 and 30. Other countries, including many of Canada’s closest allies, highlighted a wide range of concerns and made recommendations to Canada regarding steps to improve human rights protection in the country.

“Governments raised critical, concrete recommendations touching on numerous human rights shor…

Canada’s transformation under neoliberalism

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[Characterizes the neoliberal shift in Canada as involving three steps: shifting monetary policy, the growth of free trade, and reliance on resource extraction and export. *RON*]

Jim Stanford, Canadian Dimension, March 29th 2014

Even before that transformation began, Canada was hardly a model of inclusion, equality, and democracy. But in the latter years of the postwar expansion, Canada progressed both economically and socially. Living standards were improving quickly for most—fueled by rising real wages (which doubled in a generation) and a dramatic expansion of the social wage (including the introduction of national Medicare, unemployment insurance, and the Canada Pension Plan within six remarkable years, from 1965 through 1971). We were catching up to the US economically and surpassing it socially. And we carved a unique and somewhat independent role for the country in global economic, political, and military affairs. This confidence, hope, a…


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[Piketty is getting big press now that his book has been translated into English. He's getting a lot of credit for being a key figure in bringing charts about The 1% into popular awareness. *RON*]

In this week’s magazine, I’ve got a lengthy piece about “Capital in the Twenty-first Century,” a new book about rising inequality by Thomas Piketty, a French economist, that is sparking a lot of comment and debate. (Brad DeLong has a useful summary of some early reviews.) I’ll go further into that discussion in future posts, but first I thought it might be useful to portray the gist of Piketty’s story in a series of charts.

The charts aren’t merely illustrative: they are an essential part of Piketty’s contribution. Fifteen or twenty years ago, debates about inequality tended to be cast in terms of clever but complicated statistics, such as the Gini coefficient and the Theil entropy index, which atte…