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AltAusterity Digest #117 October 24-30, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Nov 01, 2019

A 12-acre area of Toronto’s waterfront has been tentatively approved for development by Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Waterfront Toronto, the group charged with overseeing the areas development, has agreed to the privatization after imposing several conditions. One such condition is that all data generated will be treated as a public asset. The 12-acre space is also much smaller than Sidewalk Lab’s initial bid for 190 acres. The project is controversial and has been critiqued for its potential to allow a tech company to govern a part of the city. A final vote on whether to approve the project is set for March 2020.

The UK Treasury has refused to publish the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent check of public finances as speculation mounts that the fiscal situation is much worse that anticipated. Estimates figure that the government deficit will be £16bn higher than forecast and the Resolution Foundation, a UK think tank, has warned that the £27bn of fiscal space created to cope with Brexit shocks has evaporated. The estimated budget shortfall is £43bn or 3% of GDP, which will break the deficit cap of 2%.

Alberto Fernández and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have won power in the first round of Argentina’s presidential election. The election has largely been framed as a referendum on austerity, as President Mauricio Macri has faced backlash after his fiscal reforms failed to deliver any of the promised results. Poverty under Macri increase by approximately 10 percent, annual inflation rose by 50 percent and the public debt is at 100 percent of GDP. Kirchner was president from 2007 to 2015 but has run this time as vice-president due to deep popularity among many voters.

The Chicago Teachers Union reached a deal on Thursday ending an 11-day strike in the U.S.’ third largest school district. The deal includes a 16% pay raise over five years, a new committee to investigate and enforce reductions in class sizes, and the funding and hiring necessary to put a social workers and nurse on site in every school each day. Aside from the improvements to working and learning conditions, the negotiations were noted for brining in social justice issues such as affordable housing, trauma counselling for students and support for homeless students.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation.