Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Just Society? Really? For Whom?

There is an excellent column in the Star today by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council: Corporate greed is eroding foundations of a just society

There has been a lot of discussion about income disparity recently, as we are recreating the conditions just prior to the Great Depression.

Cartwright reminds us of how this is affecting the working class, when 'corporate culture demands that pension plans be gutted, benefits weakened and jobs outsourced.'

Brian Topp wrote a piece yesterday on Don Cherry and his recent nonsense at the inauguration of Toronto's new mayor Rob Ford. One millionaire speaking up for another millionaire.

But as Cartwright points out: 'Rob Ford promises to outsource city cleaning services to contractors who pay poverty wages. And he claims to be “standing up for the little guy.”'

So while Topp rightfully suggests that the millionaire Cherry is pretending to speak for the "little guy", he is actually complicit in the demise of that "little guy."

All the more reason to contact CBC and complain.

There is a group of prominent and progressive Americans calling for action, demanding that Obama get back on track.

I mean tax cuts? Really? He should be talking tax increases for those who have benefited the most from a series of misguided tax cuts, that helped to create this enormous disparity.

Some of the wealthiest are pledging to give away their fortunes to charity, but the antagonism of that statement is "charity". They made their fortunes only because the working class was burdened with most of the taxes, yet the first to hurt when things got tough.

This is not "charity" but the paying back of a debt.

So if millionaires like Don Cherry really want to help, they might want to get off their high horse and look around them.

Because the only ones really speaking up for the "little guy" are us "left-wing Pinkos".


  1. snip snip: These two British academics argue that almost every social problem, from crime to obesity, stems from one root cause: inequality.

    And, they say, it's not just the deprived underclass that loses out in an unequal society: everyone does, even the better off.

    Because it's not absolute levels of poverty that create the social problems, but the differentials in income between rich and poor.

    The US is wealthier and spends more on health care than any other country, yet a baby born in Greece, where average income levels are about half that of the US, has a lower risk of infant mortality and longer life expectancy than an American baby.

    "It became clear," Wilkinson says, "that countries such as the US, the UK and Portugal, where the top 20% earn seven, eight or nine times more than the lowest 20%, scored noticeably higher on all social problems at every level of society than in countries such as Sweden and Japan, where the differential is only two or three times higher at the top."

    What is it about unequal societies that causes the damage? Wilkinson believes the answer lies in the psycho-social areas of hierarchy and status. The greater the differential between the haves and have-nots, the greater importance everyone places on the material aspects of consumption; what brand of car you drive carries far more meaning in a more hierarchical society than in a flatter one. It's the knock-on effects of this status anxiety that finds socially corrosive expression in crime, ill-health and mistrust.

    Reducing inequality fits in with the environmental agenda; it benefits the developing world, as more equal societies give more in overseas aid; and most significantly, everyone is fed up with the corporate greed and bonus culture that have caused the current financial crisis, so if ever a government had the electorate's goodwill to act, it's now."

  2. Thanks Nadine. I just read it. Governments really have to change their focus.