Capital Top-selling book calls for a global tax on wealth

A 685-page book by a French economist has achieved unlikely success, rocketing to the top of both the New York Times and Amazon’s best-seller lists. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has received rave reviews and breaks new ground in economic analysis. He argues that the post-World War II period of strong economic growth and greater equality was an exception. The norm under capitalism is more concentration of wealth and power, increasing inequality and slower economic growth. Piketty calls for a global tax on wealth and other measures to reduce inequality and stimulate economic growth.

Inequality Study illustrates wealth distribution in Canada

Is Canada really a fairer, more equitable nation? It doesn’t look like it anymore. The richest 86 Canadians now have the same amount of wealth ($178 billion) as the poorest 11.4 million Canadians. It’s all in a new study published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. These 86 richest Canadians each have an average wealth of over $2 billion. That’s about the same amount as over 130,000 Canadians, or the population of Saint John, NB. The study says removing the preferential tax rate for capital gains and other loopholes would help reduce these inequalities.

Wages Harper government cuts wages to minimum

The federal government is now paying minimum wages to thousands of its temporary and contract workers, even for positions requiring three years of experience, bilingualism, or specialized education. Staffing agencies estimate that the federal government has cut some wages by 50 per cent. These cuts follow Harper’s elimination of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act in the 2012 omnibus budget bill. 

Robotics Baxter enters the job market

Meet Baxter the Robot, who may be coming to a workplace near you soon. Baxter is the world’s most humanoid, adaptable and affordable production line robot. At a height of 5’10” (adjustable to 6’3”) and weighing 306 lbs, Baxter easily learns and performs repetitive tasks at a human pace. And for just $25,000, Baxter is being promoted as a way to reduce offshoring, though perhaps not as a great way to save jobs. Only available in red and black (so far) and no word yet on whether it has developed the skills to negotiate collective agreements.