If two reports, one private and one governmental, are to be believed, Canada’s federal government is shorted to the tune of fifty billion dollars a year in taxes that don’t get collected. This loss includes aggressive tax evasion and questionable offshoring of assets. Ouch!
For starters, ten per cent of that money would get a nice housing program off the runway pretty quick.
A really strong piece from a Finnish source on how necessary and amazing basic universal income will be.
It’s not just about automation and robots…
Basic income and the new universalism
The Next Era tulevaisuustalo.fi
image: Adventures Into the Unknown/Tom Simpson via Flickr/CC
The World Economic Forum, that big playa convention at Davos, saw some discussion of basic income. That’s kinda incredible. The elites must be getting nervous about inequality, populism and automation. They ought to be. Livestream content from the WEF featuring UK academic and basic income champion Guy Standing is available HERE (52:02).
After having read the recent non-fiction bestseller Evicted we feared no good news about housing could ever come out of Milwaukee barring a full scale miracle. Then we read a little about a sensible undertaking in that US city that seeks to answer to the problem of the ‘missing middle’. Nice.
For more about the types of housing it might behoove North Americans to look into a little more assertively:
So, here’s a bright idea from Sweden designed to cut carbon emissions, resource consumption and garbage production. We think it might be a poverty fighter as well. Basically, Swedes should soon see a worthwhile tax break to fix their stuff. Those with a sense of thrift should get a lift from this policy. Canada needs this.
Waste not want not: Sweden to give tax break for repairs
image: TomD. via Flickr/CC
Prince Edward Island has joined the growing roster of places taking action to test out basic income. A Green Party initiative has received unanimous political support in the provincial legislature. Nice PEI, nice.
A new medical school in Texas takes aim at the societal underpinnings of poverty and social difficulty. And get this, it does so with support from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
In Texas, cross-sector partnerships to fight suburban poverty
image: Jeremy Keith via Flickr/CC
Who better than the Scots to lead us all in a ferocious charge right for the throats of neoliberalism and austerity? None.
Subdivided. City Building In An Age of Hyper-Diversity
Jay Pitter & John Lorinc, editors
2016. Coach House Books, Toronto
279 pages. $20.95 CAN
This collection of essays was much tougher reading than we expected. After nearly six years blogging about social difficulty in the suburbs we don’t expect to be unnerved by our topic. Subdivided unnerved us.
The good old days of multiculturalism, in which eastern and southern Europeans (and maybe a few other groups), found Toronto adjusting to, and eventually welcoming, them are long gone. In its place, we now see an ever bigger and richer Toronto home to newcomers in a living arrangement of hyper-diversity. This infinitely more complex Toronto is by turns depressing, ugly, unjust and unequal despite recurrent commentary about its peacefulness, high socio-cultural potential and general awesomeness.
Subdivided delivers unto us many a less-than-comfortable truth. There’s too many people here in isolated lives centred on a combination of shit jobs and lacklustre housing. Reading Subdivided made us feel like Toronto’s diversity is the stuff of an Adam Curtis documentary, another nightmarish expression of the global economic machine and its operating system, neoliberalism.
That toughness of presentation is what makes this collection of essays so amazing, so real. It’s hard to think of any other such wellspring of direct, sustained observation of what it is really like to live here. A chapter on Brampton, for example, brings forth a wave of nausea faster than a jar of expired mayonnaise. ‘Browntown’ is next door to suburban-poverty.com’s backyard, we can attest to the truth of what is said here about Brampton. Same for another entry on Mississauga, which is literally our backyard. You’d almost wonder why Canada bothers attracting new residents to its Sprawlvilles. Except perhaps as a cycnical ploy to increase domestic markets and the tax base and to fulfill some corporate/ideological role in the global economy.
What to do? Good transit, a strong social safety net, higher wages, police reform, and affordable housing would help us toward a healthy, cross-connected society according to the essays in Subdivided. None of these things will be achieved quickly or cheaply, though.
We better get busy before something really awful comes of the present lame and indifferent regime of city building in greater Toronto. Stress is not good for the indivdual or the community. Stress and reaction brought us Rob Ford, the scale model mock up of Donald Trump. Who knows what the stresses of race and class we are leaving in place will inflict on us? We aren’t Milwaukee yet but how much longer will we sleepwalk into this?
We suggest future editions of Subdivided include a stamped, pre-addressed thank you card readers can mail to the one percent.