The Inequality Trap: A Meaner Canada

Un Dimanche après-midi à la Grande-Jatte (G. Seurat)

“Inequality is corrosive. It rots societies from within. The impact of material differences takes a while to show up but in due course competition for status and goods increases; people find a  growing  sense of superiority (or inferiority) based on their possessions; prejudice toward those on the lower rungs of the social ladder hardens; crime … Continue reading

Crazy Ideas: Overton’s Window and the Political Imagination

A small argument about whether the government should be raising taxes broke out at a recent dinner party, quite possibly in response to something I said. Some argued that tax increases were just a terrible idea given that Canadians were already suffering tax fatigue and many were struggling from paycheck to paycheck, not to mention … Continue reading

Double Movement: the resurgence of neoliberalism and inequality

Neoliberal soulmates: Reagan and Thatcher

This is the month for taking stock of the year that passed and imagining what the year before us may hold.  For me, two broad and contradictory trends have emerged which just might shape politics and policy in 2011: the extraordinary resilience of neoliberal ideology and the reemergence of inequality as a defining public issue. Recall … Continue reading

Equality

Equal, by Mustafa Celikel

What would you think if someone could show that they knew just what it would take to improve our physical and mental health, reduce crime and violence, increase civic trust and participation, reduce teenage pregnancy and drug abuse?  What if they could show you that this was also the recipe for greater upward mobility based … Continue reading

The Role of the State: the Couchiching Panel

Alex at Couch

This past Friday at Couchiching, Tom Flanagan, Armine Yalnizyan and I discussed what the financial meltdown can tell us about the role of the state.  Better than my trying to capture the nuance of each of the speakers, and recognizing my predisposition to favour some views at the expense of others, I strongly urge you … Continue reading

Couchiching: Fun to Say and Fun to Visit

Lake Couchiching

Attended my first Couchiching Conference this past weekend and got a glimpse of what political debate could look like if we could only squeeze out some of the more pathological aspects of partisanship and ideological conflict that have become business as usual in Ottawa.  The crowd of about 250 people was diverse, students and professors, … Continue reading

“Give Me Back My Compulsory Long Form Census Questionnaire.”

Census taker 1930

Although we are in the later innings of this controversy, I still want to add my thoughts on Canada’s very own census flap. With no fanfare the government announced that it would bring to an end the compulsory census long form and substitute instead a voluntary version. I doubt that the Government imagined for a … Continue reading

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