Surveillance capitalism is a large undertaking. A technical one. Sensors in our homes and on our bodies connect to towers and cables running to massive computer centres doing the data processing. A built world meant to collect, command and control our habits, and vested in a few companies.
Illustration by Eagleclaw Bunnie
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Illustration by Michael George Haddad
A decade after the worst financial crash since the Great Depression, a fragile recovery is obscuring threats—some new, some as old as capitalism—to Canadian workers and the broader economy. In this first part of a two-part feature on the fallout of that crisis, the Monitor looks at the financial flows, government revenue shortfalls and austerity plans that undermine our ability to handle another sudden shock. Here's a sample of what you'll find inside this issue:
Since last November, Sierra Club Canada’s John Bennett has been raising the alarm about the appointment of Ted Menzies, the former Conservative cabinet minister, as president and CEO of CropLife Canada. Menzies announced his new job a mere week after resigning as MP for the Alberta riding of Macleod with a note to say he was “moving on.”
Imagine a job that requires you to leave your family for up to eight months at a time. Picture yourself speaking a different language than your boss. Consider living where you work and never being able to leave or receive visitors without your boss’ permission. Imagine knowing that should you raise any concerns you could lose your job and be sent home.
Look up "patent" in your dictionary and you'll find "plain and evident" among its definitions. But because patents seethe with contradictions, questions surrounding them are hardly plain, and their answers hardly evident. Patents shrink one public domain (by granting exclusionary rights to inventors) while expanding another (by requiring inventors to disclose their designs).
Public debates over controversial biotechnologies often revolve around questions about who will control them and what values will guide their development. Because patent policies shape the social, economic and legal environment for technological innovation and application, those concerned with the ethics and social implications of biotechnology have a significant stake in intellectual property issues.