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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Sport grows in popularity as workplace control declines?

Though professional sport has been with us for a long time its rise to saturation prominence in daily life and the media has been a long time coming. And that this comes at a time when, if obesity rates are anything to go by, more and more everywhere are watching more and doing less deserves maybe a few moments of reflection, not even the fourteen minutes of exercise being relentlessly promoted on TV by one of the many new get fit quick gadgets. The attraction,as argued by a recent book [National Pastime by Stefan Szymanski] on football (aka soccer), the world's most popular professional game, may well be that as our lives get more controlled, sports is one of the few areas left where a degree  of surprise is still available for free.

The "degree of"  here is important given the  rampant fixing of games like tennis recently reported. But the modest surprises provided by sport -  modest because the  same bunch of  teams usually win, and lose [classsic example, Toronto's own remarkably unsuccessful Maple Leaf hockey team] - should  serve as a wake-up call about arguably the only truly sustaining source of excitement and fulfilment in life: self-determination. And given that most of us in 2016 spend much, if not most, of our time at work, that means workplace determination. The number  of  workplaces in North America with serious worker participation, let alone worker control, especially as rates of unionization have been dropping  for over 30  years, is very small. Unless participation grows, the need for vicarious control and distraction through sport is likely to become more addictive  and, like most addictions, ultimately self-defeating as need grows and benefits tank.                      

Sunday, 24 January 2016

TorontotheBetter recognizes Duca Credit Union for support to Goodwill Industries' workers


Duca Credit Union Ltd.
Congratulations to DUCA Credit Union, a community based social  enterprise, like the many in TorontotheBetter's online  directory at www.TorontotheBetter.net (see under banking or finance), for a donation announced by CEO Richard Senechal [www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/great-sense-of-relief-as-goodwill-announces-it-will-pay-back-wages/article28336091] to redress some of the the lost wages of Goodwill workers whose Toronto locations closed their doors on January 16. For workers like Goodwill's, victimized by corporate actions, emergency help like DUCA's in this case, is critical to their short-term well-being. But beyond emergencies we believe the long term prosperity of Toronto workers and all citizens will be best served by social economy enterprises dedicated to social benefit, not only in what they do but how they do it.   


     

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The myth of a-social "Free" markets exposed in new book by Cambridge University economist Ha-joon Chang

"Free-market economists have told  us that active (or intrusive, as they put it) governments are bad for economic growth. However, contrary to common perception virtually all of today's rich countries used government intervention to  get rich..." p.261 in Chang's 2010 book "23 Things  They Don't Tell  You About Capitalism". More about Chang's contrarian and witty (a witty economist!) book along with our other social  economy news will follow soon in the first TorontotheBetter Bulletin of 2016. Like all books referenced in this space Chang's book  is available for purchase from TorontotheBetter at a discounted price. And we are unionized too, unlike the obese Amazon.