Showing posts from June 15, 2015

Native American tribes tackle diet and health woes with businesses built on traditional foods

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["Across the US, Native Americans are reclaiming their cultural cuisines to produce healthy and sustainable nutrition options within their communities." The Pine Ridge reservation is one of the worst pockets of poverty and suicide in the United States. It will be hard work to get Aboriginals to change their eating habits, but the Western fast-food diet is killing them. *RON*]

Autumn Spanne, The Guardian, 13 June 2015
For many residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, getting to a supermarket requires a two-hour drive to Rapid City. It’s an expensive trip for people living in the third poorest county in the US. Many residents have no access to transportation, leaving only one option: on-reservation convenience stores that stock processed, long-shelf-life foods.

To combat these poor nutrition options, many tribes are reclaiming traditional foods as a way to correct severe health and economic disparities. All across the count…

'Jurassic World' just eclipsed the annual GDP of these 7 countries in one weekend

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[From the Seriously Messed-Up Priorities Department. This movie has been described as Sharknado with dinosaurs. *RON*]
Elena Holodny, Business Insider, 15 June 2015

"Jurassic World" had a huge opening weekend at the box office.

The film brought in an estimated $511.8 million worldwide — an estimated $204.6 million in North America and $307.2 million overseas.

That's literally greater than the annual gross domestic product of these seven countries, according to the 2013 figures from the World Bank:
Tonga — $466.3 millionFederated States of Micronesia — $316.2 millionSao Tome and Principe — $310.7 millionPalau — $247 millionMarshall Islands — $190.9 millionKiribati — $168.95 millionTuvalu — $38.3 million It just fell short of Dominica, which has a GDP of $514.8 million.

Harper's voter suppression plan: Coming soon to a polling station near you

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[More strides forward for Canadian democracy plutocracy, courtesy of Stephen Harper. *RON*]
By Linda McQuaig,, 15 June 2015

Stephen Harper's re-election strategy depends on a lot of you not voting. And if you mess with his plan by showing up at the polling station on Election Day, he's prepared for that, too: he's made it a lot harder for you to vote.

The prime minister has made it so much harder that "many tens of thousands" of Canadians may be denied their constitutional right to cast a ballot in the upcoming federal election, according to Harry Neufeld, former chief electoral officer for British Columbia.

In fact, the number of disenfranchised Canadians could actually be much higher, based on the evidence from a pilot project run by Canada's chief electoral officer, Marc Mayrand.

The evidence on privately funded health care and wait times

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[Corporatocratic health. "Evidence?!" says Stephen Harper. "I deny your reality and replace it with my own!" If we permit more private health care will this reduce waiting times? The evidence suggests otherwise. *RON*]

Vanessa Brcic,, 15 June 2015

Current public dialogue is full of questions about what kind of innovation or "revamping" the health system needs. In this context, as a physician, I am compelled to apply principles of evidence-based practice to the public vs. private debate: Will Brian Day's plan to expand privately funded health care in B.C. shorten wait lists and improve the system?

Evidence indicates it will do the opposite. Of the Canadian provinces, B.C. has the most privately funded orthopedics services, and the longest waiting lists for this specialty. Evidence indicates that privately funded health services and long public wait times go hand in hand, and that growth in private payment…

How better transportation can fight income inequality

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[A good point, pertinent to the current local debate on funding public transit. *RON*]

By Wade Henderson and Angela Glover Blackwell, The Hill, 15 June 2015

As strategies to combat income inequality make their way into the national dialogue and into the talking points of presidential hopefuls, one crucial factor for economic opportunity isn’t getting nearly enough attention: transportation.

Too often discussions of our nation’s transportation infrastructure and rising income disparities remain siloed, but these two issues are indelibly linked: long-term investment in transportation is a critical part of increasing economic opportunity and reducing poverty.

As a recent New York Times article highlighted, a lack of reliable and efficient transportation is often an almost insurmountable barrier for low-income people trying to build better lives for themselves and their children. In a national, long-term study, researchers at Harvard found commute…

Growing Wage Dispersion Increases Income Inequality

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[This posting gets at the precise point missed by the preceding Wall Street Journal analysis. The total share of national income going to labour is declining, but the share going to capital is rising, along with income inequality. So it is not just a matter of whether an economic policy encourages growth, whose pockets the fruits of that growth wind up in matters even more. *RON*]

Carlos Mulas-Granados, Economic Monitor, 15 June 2015

In the past five years, concerns about increasing income inequality have been at the center of economic policy debates. There is one area though that has remained relatively unexplored. This is the area that deals with the relationship between the labor share of income and personal income inequality. Income inequality refers to the personal distribution of income, and the labor share refers to the remuneration of employees in total factor income (value added) in a given year. When one looks at these two series, the v…

The Mythical Link Between Income Inequality and Slow Growth

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[Wall Street squeaks up: "From 2011-13, the five most 'unequal' countries in the OECD grew nearly five times faster than the others." Note that, at base, the argument simply defends the idea of the rich getting richer. The vested interests are, perhaps, feeling a little defensive? This analysis cherry-picks some data points and dates that work better for them, then accuses the OECD of the same thing. *RON*]

Matthew Schoenfeld, Wall Street Journal, 14 June 2015
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently published a report, “In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All,” that claimed rising income inequality from 1990-2010 depressed cumulative growth across its member countries by 4.7%. The OECD’s suggested solution: government-led redistribution, funded via tax increases on “wealthier individuals” and “multinational corporations.”

“By not addressing inequality,” OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurria told …