The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “policy

Automating Poverty

Posted on February 19, 2019

Most of us remain thankful for modern technology and how it has speeded up processes and transactions, mostly by letting us carry out such procedures online and at home. Nevertheless, we are more than aware that something human got lost along the way to such efficiencies.   So it is with those struggling through poverty in all its many forms.  Recent studies are showing that many in low-income situations are seeing less and less of human caseworkers and more and more of online forms, lengthy wait times to reach someone on the phone, and a lengthy array of paperwork just to get through the process of getting assistance. It’s even the subject of a compelling book.  In her Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor,…

The Devastating Ironies of Our Global Food System

Posted on June 14, 2018

People have to eat, so it’s everywhere.  The massive global food industry, powered and frequently controlled by only five international conglomerates, touches virtually every nation and most markets.  It’s so big that even the late Anthony Bourdain noted that he couldn’t get his head around it.  And because food and water are the basic elements of all life, we are affected in ways we hardly understand. And there is a price to pay for that ignorance.  We want food everywhere and demand vast varieties and quantities at the same time.  It seems to just appear in supermarkets, restaurants, and now increasingly online.  It just is– immediate, relatively cheap, and in copious amounts.  That familiarity and ease of access comes at a cost – a…

The “Terrible Simplifiers”

Posted on April 17, 2018

Robin Sears’ article, posted in Sunday’s Toronto Star, was a cogent warning on the implications of extreme populism.  Titled “The Fatal Attraction of the Politics of Confrontation,” the column reminds us of what inevitably happens if we opt for leaders who would rather attack democracy as opposed to reforming it: “But the problem with those who bellow their promise to confront the swamp denizens, or to clean up City Hall is this: they always fail, and they leave a large mess for their successors to struggle through their first term trying to clean up.” As with the current Syrian conflict or the circus that is now Washington D.C., what we have isn’t war, but many wars.  By electing what Jacob Burckhardt calls the “terrible…

When Our Global Food System Becomes Broken

Posted on June 21, 2017

As a scientific model it was intriguing, but the results were more troubling than anyone expected. Designed and developed by a team from the Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, the model assessed how the world’s food system would look if a business-as-usual approach was taken up until the year 2040. The findings, as presented by institute director Dr. Aled Jones, were almost apocalyptic in scope: “The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.” The chief culprit in all this is climate change, and it…

Election 2015: The Politics of Everywhere

Posted on September 1, 2015

THE MORE ONE EXAMINES IT, the easier it is to conclude that politics of the heavily partisan nature is quickly losing its appeal to the average citizen living in a community and just desiring a good place to live and opportunities for their children. Previously we let political parties formulate their policies on various parts of the political spectrum and then citizens could select their priorities and vote from there. In many ways it all functioned well: communities were offered choices, parties drew on supporters, and politics involved rigorous debate that clarified the issues. What we have been witnessing in the past two decades is the breaking down of that model for two key reasons. The first arises when people don’t really know what…