The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “government

Information Isn’t Knowledge

Posted on April 10, 2018

On a recent Freakonomics Radio podcast, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had to confess that he has struggled with the platform’s effect on democracy, politics and citizenship: “We’ve been focused on making the world more open and connected.  And I always thought that that would be enough to solve a lot of problems by itself.” Okay, to a point, that’s fair enough.  There was a lot of excitement at the launch of various social media platforms.  Political dysfunction seemed everywhere.  Citizenship appeared on the rise.  And the belief that we could solve our own problems was causing us to abandon institutions and history in favour of interaction, innovation and inclusion. But the problem has become just as Zuckerberg stated it on the podcast: “The world today…

If You Want to Fix Poverty, Fix the Economy

Posted on April 5, 2018

This is from a post I wrote a few years ago (October 2015) and it still seems as relevant today.  We’re still not making the choices necessary to attain serious poverty reduction.   He awoke from a deep slumber a couple of weeks ago to the sound of phone ringing incessantly, but when he answered he didn’t mind. Angus Deaton was being informed by someone on the other end of the phone that he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Interestingly, it was how he shed new light on persistent poverty that earned him the credit. Or as the Nobel committee put it: “To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. Angus…

Entertained to Death

Posted on February 21, 2018

In high school, like so many other students from that time, I was intrigued by George Orwell’s short novel 1984. His vision of Big Brother seemed more to cast aspersions on the dark Soviet Empire of my youth than anything else.  But Orwell (his real name was Eric Arthur Blair) was too smart for that.  Dying of tuberculosis, he worried that the Western world he was leaving was giving too much power and sway to its political leaders.  By time he died at 46 in 1950, many began viewing his writings as prophetic. 1984’s nation of Oceania was a dystopian nightmare in which citizens traded their freedom for the empty promises of security and material goods, and ended up in a modern kind of…

No Time For Easy Tears

Posted on January 9, 2018

My wife and I leave in a few days to lead a humanitarian team into South Sudan (casscanada.ca).  A trek we make every year at this time, this coming visit is occurring during a time of dramatic challenge in South Sudan specifically, and Africa in general. In various African nations, youth are increasingly coming onside for democracy.  Foreign Policy magazine cites examples from numerous nations where younger generations are making their desire for a better life a premise for change. “Their optimism has been buoyed in part by the rise of an aggressively independent media, the maturing of institutions such as the judiciary, and by the explosion of nongovernmental organizations fighting to hold governments accountable despite increasingly restrictive conditions … Never in Africa’s independent…

For 2018, Boring is Better

Posted on December 26, 2017

Journalists can be forgiven for growing jaded over time. Covering politics can prove to be a deep struggle of getting facts from those seeking to shelter them. More often than not journalists know they are being played. “The media are less a window on reality, than a stage on which officials perform self-scripted, self-serving functions,” wrote Thomas Sowell, and there’s a strong element of truth in it. Given what’s going on in places like America, Venezuela, Russia, Britain, Spain and China, Canadian news at times can seem outright boring. Yet it says something about this country – our politics, our citizenry, our economy, our institutions. Closing out 2017, we as Canadians understand that our pliability is a blessing. There are numerous challenges existing at…

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