A squeeze is on working people in the United Kingdom, the States and Canada. The calculus of personal pressure and hard times described in this piece from The Guardian website is certainly reproduced in the Greater Toronto Area. Such difficulty seems to be a big part of what it means to be a working person in these societies. Mentioned in this piece is the weak economics of wages for a couple with a young child in Glasgow where a call-centre job really just doesn’t cut it. The weight of this at the societal level is also discovered via this article. Recent data from a UK university is linked concluding a crap job is often much worse for your mental health than the stresses of full on unemployment.
Crazy stuff indeed. The late nineteenth century industrial economy was fuelled on coal. Our early twenty-first century digital economy is fuelled on human stress.
Having a bad job can be worse for your health than being unemployed
image: Flood G. via Flickr/CC
Full frontal Fascism, that dreadful Twentieth Century affliction, never had occasion to catch on with the Canadian people. Be thankful for that, though it doesn’t mean our history is without blemish. There has been a string of interest in Fascism in Canada that leads back decades.
In the globalized present, there is plenty to worry about. Influences arrive in Canada from a dysfunctional and unhappy America by the day. They combine with local conditions and still other global influences. The results are full of unhealthy potential.
Inside Rebel Media
The threat of far-right extremism in Canada
The unwitting role of Canadian media in marketing hatred
Tracking the ‘alt-right’ in Canada
Neo-nazism in Canada
image: Adrien Arcand in 1933. Arcand was a Montreal journalist who led a series of fascist/antisemitic political movements in Canada between 1929 and his death in 1967
(public domain via Wikipedia).
Any discussion of economic relationships and the character of society needs to fully consider the reality of prostitution or it remains incomplete. Initially, this can be a fraught undertaking but the honest citizen observing social difficulty with a conscience is obliged to make an effort given the implications of prostitution and human trafficking for women, youth and children within what is a very large, global business.
The essence of prostitution is the purchase of temporary access to the body of another, mostly by a man, for the purposes of penetration and gratification. While such a transaction seems simple enough it is usually accompanied by a societal smokescreen of ignorance, opinion, financial interest and emotionalism such that the reality remains obscure with a subsequently frustrating effect on creating a general perspective, let alone helpful social policy.
With this difficulty in mind we are lucky to have a generation of individuals giving us their efforts and words. Some of their urgency about prostitution is a response to recent legalization efforts in a number of countries. While considered sensible and well-intentioned at first these legalization efforts appear to be resulting in more harm than good. Prostitution seems to become industrialized where it is legalized.
Simple legalization ignores the direct reality of selling one’s body and little accounts for the behaviour of the male buyer. This blog recently came across the work of three women activists that offer a high-level starting point for considering this topic. Their Twitter accounts are a quick way to find and learn from their articles, websites, activism and books. Natashe Falle is in Toronto (see also her site Sex Trade 101). Rachel Moran and Julie Bindel are in Ireland and the UK respectively with Caitlin Roper Australia-based.
Through varied paths these women seem to have arrived at a common appreciation for what needs to come after legalization of the kind seen in New Zealand and Germany as well as other countries.
Here is a recent item from the website of UK magazine The Spectator by Julie Bindel with a podcast and other links.
Over sixty percent of Canada’s reported human trafficking activity takes place in the Greater Toronto Area. This CBC piece describes a recent case in Mississauga. The dull image of a row of motels on Dundas Street, a major artery used daily by a huge number of motor vehicles, gives no indication of the human risk encountered by trafficked women and youth in such places. While most of North America’s sprawl does not have ‘traditional’ red light districts like those of Amsterdam, for example, these communities are still home to sexual exploitation, pimping and prostitution.
‘Anyone can be a victim’: Canadian high school girls being lured into sex trade. Toronto-area teenager recounts how she was recruited into sex work by peers at 16
Recent attention to the so-called Nordic Model in which the criminalizing of paid sexual activity is transferred to the male buyer has generated enthusiasm and backlash. Canada is considered a Nordic Model country but it would seem there is still plenty of work to do on all of this.
Taken. I was a teenage runaway struggling to survive when I met a man who promised me love and security
On prostitution, can Canada learn from the Nordic Model?
The new era of Canadian sex work
vice.com (video 34:41)
image: Victory of the People via Flickr/CC
Let us explain…
Mansplaining the city. Why are men driving the conversation about the future of our neighbourhoods?
image: Shaun Wong via Flickr/CC
A video-based piece from Strong Towns that really nails it at the highest level. Everything we’re doing out here is new, expensive and more fragile than we know.
Today was a sunny, pleasant one and good for some clear thinking on basic income. We like the ‘and stop being oversold’ part as much as the part where it is not all about money and poverty.
A basic income really could end poverty forever. But, to become a reality it needs to get detailed and stop being oversold
Fraser Institute’s Calgary Herald op-ed used ‘BS’ data to attack raising the minimum wage
German minimum wage – not just the money
If the poor are less likely to vote then they won’t do much to advocate for themselves in the form of activism, letter writing or calling elected representatives either, will they?
In Ontario there is an opportunity to lift up the status of the working poor. This is a moment when a push from the electorate could make a difference.
Advocates: Ontario plan to overhaul labour laws, boost minimum wage step in the right direction. Labour advocates applaud sweeping labour reforms and Ontario’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but say it needs to happen soon
UK-based academic research confirms what many have suspected for years; that low-income people have little faith in the system.
How poverty makes people less likely to vote. It is not surprising that so many of the poorest people choose not to vote. Theirs is not an act of apathy – for they are often intensely political – but of disgust
image: duncan c via Flickr/CC
A podcast with author Ellen Rupel Shell about the implications of low end retail.
The high cost of buying ‘cheap’
npr.org (2009 podcast 29:43)
image: rene_beignet via Flickr/CC