My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring). This week: Tax-shaming and the real shirkers, climate change, disability month and happiness.
So who are the real shirkers and scroungers? Shuvo Loha has it that it’s businesses that pay less than a living wage, forcing us to top up tax credits; and the private landlords who take extra earnings from housing benefit subsidised rents.
The retail sector is big on not paying living wages – even as many of them make far more profit than is required to cover the extra pay necessary. Although they’re not afraid to give that extra pay to those at the top. So this week saw the farce of Starbucks offering to pay $20million tax voluntarily as they feel the heat of Tax-Shaming. Jackie Ashley feels that governments need to act on the multi-nationals with their screwing of our tax-systems (good to see David Clark pressing on that locally).
After politicians expenses and media phone hacking the next big scandal in the UK should be corporate black-listing, with what Keith Ewing, professor of public law at King’s College London, calls the “worst human rights abuse in relation to workers” in Britain in half a century.
It’s now clear that workers across Britain have been systematically and illegally forced into unemployment for trade union activity – often on publicly funded projects and in collusion with the police and security services – by some of the country’s biggest companies, using secret lists drawn up by corporate spying agencies.
The climate isn’t getting any better in Doha, as carbon emissions continue to rise steeply. It is now looking nigh-impossible to keep temperature rise below 2C, even as many low-lying nations protest that their future depends on that. On the plus side the USA’s so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ may well result in them taking a world leading carbon-tax as a way Republicans can raise taxes without raising taxes – and as extreme weather events mean Americans slowly accept Climate Change is happening.
It’s Disability History Month in the UK, where they are looking at the many figures in history who we’ve forgotten they were disabled because they were so successful. From Tamerlane (from Timur the Lame) – perhaps the world’s greatest conquerer – to Admiral Nelson, the Blind Venetian Doge to Franklin Roosevelt, and many more.
Finally Happiness – and why are we happy in our childhood and youth and again in our old age but miserable in mid-life?