Showing posts from June 1, 2016

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation and a new political economy

Click here to view the original article.

[I'm wending my way through Polanyi's The Great Transformation at a rather stately pace. It's a very interesting book on the emergence of the market economy, early economics, societal attitudes and government policy toward the poor. Here's a review of some of the concepts involved; Polanyi is well worth the read. The more I get into it, the more I think he is especially relevant today to how the World Bank is cramming economic liberalization on to the developing world. *RON*]

Matthew Watson, Christopher Holmes and Ben Clift, Warick University, News and Events, n.d.

The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The economic historian’s great work holds a compelling and alternative understanding of the economic and financial crises affecting the economy today. Matthew Watson, Christopher Holmes and Ben Clift explain why The Great Transformation is a great alternative to the ideas of John Mayn…

As union membership has fallen, the top 10 percent have been getting a larger share of income

Click here to view the original article.

[Class wars. It seems like an obvious thing, but it's well worth documenting the fact that, as the bargaining power of labor drops, inequality grows. Likewise, "To boost wages for working people, policymakers need to intentionally tilt power back to working people by strengthening their rights to stand together and negotiate collectively for better wages and benefits, raising and improving labor standards, and achieving persistent low unemployment." *RON*]

Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, 24 May 2016

As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015 (not shown in the figure). The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earlie…

Think TTIP is a threat to democracy? There’s another trade deal that’s already signed

Click here to view the original article.

["If you needed proof that trade agreements are just an excuse to hand big business power at our expense, look no further than Ceta, a deal between the EU and Canada." Because 2008 evidently taught us nothing whatsoever about handing the reigns of government over to corporations. I agree with one reader's comment: "Mr. Trudeau isn't much different than Mr. Harper on trade matters and regrettably he is still riding too favourable a wave of trust. I do think Mr. Trudeau will respond better to opposition than Mr. Harper, so by all means give him lots of insightful opposition." *RON*]

Nick Dearden, The Guardian, 30 May 2016
As the great powers gathered in Japan for last week’s G7 summit, a series of massive trade deals were under attack from all sides. And yet, from Donald Trump to Jeremy Corbyn, there is a recognition that “trade” has become little more than a synonym for big business to take ever more control of society.

Why The Very Poor Have Become Poorer

Click here to view the original article.

[Hard to imagine: "4.3 percent of American households with children reported living on less than $2 a day per person for at least one month." The ranks of the poorest of the poor have doubled since 1969, and are doing worse now then they were more than forty years ago. Inequality has risen, even among the poor. *RON*]

Christopher Jencks, New York Review of Books, 9 June 2016 ISSUE

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 210 pp., $28.00
According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in poverty is higher today than it was in the late 1960s. Last year I argued in these pages that these “official” poverty statistics are extremely misleading.1 When the United States first explicitly defined an official poverty line in 1969, it was supposed to be adjusted every year to ensure that it represented a constant standard of living. However, two problems a…

Preparing for a Beautiful End

Click here to view the original article.
[An old piece, done up in a somewhat sweet-smelling style, but discouraging all the same. More blatantly, I watched a news program just the other day about "Preppers" in Poland and Slovakia. They're living in the bush, starting fires with flint and chewing on bark - waiting for the final conflict with Russia, or The West, or ISIS, or the refugee invasion, or what-have-you. *RON*]

Josiah Neufeld, Geez Magazine, Winter 2014 Issue, 14 January 2015
Sunlight streams through the second-floor windows of a duplex on a tree-lined residential street in Victoria.

In the kitchen, Carmen Spagnola is simmering a pot of rabbit meat on the stove while her husband, Ruben Anderson, Googles techniques for making sauerkraut. Their home looks commonplace enough: bookshelves line the walls, a vase of lilies adorns the dining room table. Outside, the lawn is getting a little ragged around the edges, there’s a pile of chopped firewood in the driveway, and s…

Clark's Donation Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Click here to view the original article.
[Corruption and nepotism: there's seemingly no end the the dreck being unveiled about the Clark government. Take your pick: Clark government returns $25 million to B.C. schools following public outrage ("a Vancouver School Board trustee chalked it up to "pre-election panic"), Latest Manifestation Of Political Mindset Should Worry British Columbians. *RON*]
Sarah Miller, Huffington Post, 30 May 2016

John Horgan didn't hold back while questioning Premier Christy Clark on a rather puzzling $150,000 donation that ended up indirectly benefitting her brother.

A donation that appears to have no paper trail, policy, or even a record that the request for the donation was ever made. The donation went to a First Nations school in Haida Gwaii that oddly enough is under federal responsibility, not provincial, to complete a feasibility study on building a new gym for their school.

It's also worth noting that there had already been tw…