Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Barbara Ellen questions the positive spin the right tries to put on poverty and precarity, and writes that we're all worse off forcing people to just barely get by:
In recent times, there has been a lot said about those people who are “just managing”. They are neither rich nor poor, but usually working in low- to medium-income jobs, scratching a living, surviving from one month, week, day, or minute to another.

A narrative has emerged of plucky, cheerful sorts who soldier on, just about making ends meet, but “can’t complain, guv”, which has the effect of rebranding a permanent grinding state of poverty as something really plucky, gutsy and wonderfully, quintessentially British. Those just managing types, what sports they are about being poor. Gawd bless ’em! Back in the real world, maybe the just managing can and do complain, but nobody wants to listen?
If people are regularly reduced to borrowing just to keep a roof over their head, then they’re evidently not managing. Since when was this defined by stacking up dangerous amounts of debt just to avoid being made homeless? At what point did it become normal for people to drown in repayments just to keep up with basic utilities?

It could be that a lot of these people are not remotely managing – they’re being ground down by debt in a way that’s either ignored, normalised or, increasingly, sanitised.
- Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan write about dental care as a glaring example of the disparity in treatment based on wealth. And Rory Carroll highlights LAX's new, exclusive terminal - featuring an opportunity for the rich to entertain themselves with the comparative discomfort of everybody else.

- Elizabeth McSheffrey points out how pipeline backers largely took over the Libs' much-trumpeted consultations with First Nations. Michael Geist discusses the PBO's conclusion that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe will cost Canada hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty giveaways to big pharma. And Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler suggest that it's time to name and shame the individual executives behind tobacco-related diseases and deaths - which would seem a sensible plan for any corporation which puts the public's well-being at risk to serve its own ends.

- Marshall Steinbaum notes that Thomas Piketty's work in identifying and challenging inequality and economic unfairness is being papered over within the field of economics.

- Finally, Alan Freeman discusses the lack of long-term preparation and planning that results in floods (and other disasters) doing far more damage than they should. 

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