YA GOTTA LOVE INEQUALITY TO LOVE OUR ECONOMY. Canadians for a Modern Industrial Strategy don’t love either. Their new research paper Going Forward sets out why and presents a visionary plan for building a modern economy founded on equality.
“Left to its own devices, the economy simply produces more and more inequality,” says James Clancy, President of Canadians for a Modern Industrial Strategy (CMIS) This is obvious in Canada where work is getting more precarious and will continue to do so into the future unless something is done about it.”
The reality of inequality in Canada grows more and more obvious. Its are effects shocking. For example, 40,000 Canadians die prematurely every year because of inequality.
Going Forward argues only a plan developed by a true partnership between government, labour, business, civil society, and academics can give us the modern industrial strategy we need.
Others are doing it better
Though inequality is growing across the developed world, some countries are still better off than others. The coordinated market economies of Europe have much higher union densities, better social programs, and less inequality. As their name suggests, much of this is accomplished through coordination between government, business and labour. In fact, during the Great Recession, Germany was expected to lose 1.4 million jobs, but instead managed to save them. This has been dubbed a job miracle.
Going Forward sets out strong support for the belief that the path to creating, implementing and maintaining a modern industrial strategy requires a change in how we perceive the economy in general and who gets to decide its future.
“We must move past the ideas of laissez-faire economics,” says Clancy “and instead focus on a plan. Like Germany, we need stronger labour to ensure that good policies are created and wealth fairly redistributed.”
Going Forward points out strengthening unions involves some obvious changes. Improving workers’ capacity to organize through card check procedures and reversing anti-union legislation is an easy and meaningful first step. A more radical and potentially game changing move would be to organize precarious workers.
Unions lead the way
Going Forward argues for broad policy changes to fight inequality and the proliferation of precarious work. Increasing access to education and reversing inefficient and ineffective privatization would help. Most importantly, learning from our past and the successes of other countries teaches us that empowering labour empowers countries to fight inequality
James Clancy reminds us: “If Canada had a modern industrial strategy we’d be talking about how to put people to work in sustainable, decent jobs, not forcing them to take whatever is left at the end of the day. Without one, we are left wondering what the government plans to do about inequality, if anything.”
The positive role of coordination was clear in times past and is just as clear today in countries like Germany.
Canada needs a modern industrial strategy built on a foundation of a true partnership between government, labour, business and civil society to plan a future with less inequality.
Hopefully this can happen before the next Great Recession.
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