Friday, February 23, 2018

The Guardian Meets Charles Dickens

When it comes to my daily scour of the news it always starts with a quick scan of the CBC website and then on to the serious stuff, beginning with The Guardian. While there are those who take jabs at it as the "nanny paper" I find it the best mainstream paper for a progressive take on the day's events.

The Guardian offers what you don't find in most papers. It has a dedicated environment section and recently it has introduced a section on the worsening problem of inequality.

There's an item, albeit from last month, detailing how our governments' obsession with short term growth has produced historically high levels of inequality and, in particular, greater generational disparity. Put simply, our political caste is (probably inadvertently) pursuing economic policies that are failing to protect future generations - our kids and our grandchildren. Quelle surprise!

the WEF report warns that both rich and poor countries are failing to protect future generations – highlighting high levels of public debt and economic drivers that depend on a high rate of carbon dioxide emissions as two key factors.

Even in countries with the strongest economic growth in terms of GDP, such as the US, the report found evidence of “inclusion” (where increased wealth and opportunity is being shared more widely) to be lacking.

It's true. For the sake of short-term prosperity we are offloading on our young generation the butcher's bill of climate change impacts most of us can't really imagine while ensuring they'll be burdened with the tax load of servicing our deficits and therefore less than ideally positioned to deal with those impacts. And the blame for that rests as much with Obama as it does with Trump and with Trudeau as much as it does with Harper. Of the Ten Commandments of Neoliberalism, that might just be Number One.

Then there's a global comparison of inequality by country. It's broken into five tiers. Tier One, the most equal societies, is the preserve of certain European countries, the Ukraine on top - who knew?, plus, of course, the Scandinavians. Canada, along with most of Western Europe, Australia, India and the Asia Pacific nations occupy Tier Two. Tier Three is dominated by the United States, China and Russia along with a smattering of countries in South America and Africa. The U.S. seems to be the only representative of the Western World in Tier Three.  Tier Four, where it must be really ugly seems limited to Brazil and a couple of African states. America isn't there - yet.

There's a piece on the Death of the American Dream. It revolves around a report showing America's poor are 20 times less convinced that hard work will bring them prosperity than their counterparts in Latin America. Ouch.


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