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The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for August, 2006

The US Inequality Debate

Brad DeLong makes the definitive summary of the positions and evidence being put forward about inequality in the US of A. This is the blog-o-sphere at its best: real-time expert debate, in this case among top American economists – and in full public view, contributions welcomed, rather than in a classroom at an academic conference, […]

Paging Dr. Day

In the Brian Day vs. Jack Burak fight for the presidency of the Canadian Medical Association, why is Day just described as an advocate for privatized health care, as it this were just a policy matter. Day operates a private clinic in Vancouver, one that was opened, perhaps ironically, during the tenure of the NDP […]

The Beauty of the Free Market in Action

by Jim Stanford We all know that private companies are efficient, because they are forced to be by the discipline of the free market. Companies which do not operate efficiently will be driven out of business by those that do. This creative destruction will leave us all better off (abstracting from adjustment costs): higher productivity, […]

The Economics of Wal-Mart

I’ve often wondered why Wal-Mart is so singled out for attack. True, Wal-Mart is anti-union with a vengence. And Wal-Mart sources products from countries, China mostly, that do not necessarily have the best interests of workers top of mind. But say these two problems could be rectified with a sweep of the magic wand: would […]

Another Statscan error, a big one

On the front page of today’s Globe and Mail, it was reported that Statistics Canada’s estimates of the Consumer Price Index had been miscalculated by a weany one-tenth of a percentage point since 2001. I know of a more pressing problem with Statscan data, and so do they: conventional surveys are vastly understating the incomes […]

Cheques in the mail

A few weeks ago, the Canada Revenue Agency sent my family our 2006 Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) paperwork. At the time, what struck me was no mention whatsoever of the new Harper government’s “child care” allowance. This seemed a major omission and I wondered if we would have to fill out some more paperwork […]

Should Canadians care about poverty?

Writing in the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s Policy Options magazine, York University’s (and PEF member) Dennis Raphael comments on poverty in Canada: In modern industrialized nations such as Canada, poverty is best understood as a barrier to citizens, communities and entire societies reaching their full potential. Living in poverty limits participation in a […]

Stiglitz: Arrested development

Starting with the collapse of the Doha Round, Joseph Stiglitz beats up on US agriculture subsidies that distort world trade and undermine the position of farmers in the South. From The Guardian: The failure hardly comes as a surprise: the United States and the European Union had long ago reneged on the promises they made […]

BC’s poverty amidst plenty

My latest column for The Tyee: Without any fanfare a report popped up on the web site of Human Resources and Social Development Canada this past month. No press release, no communications strategy at all. Just another statistical report on poverty in a society that thinks of itself as middle class. But this is not […]

Shaking the Invisible Hand

Browsing at a used book store in Vancouver, I picked up some classics on the cheap. Someone must have dumped their economics books, thinking them passe. I’m keen to revisit those classics – the more I learn, the more I get out of them. So I got a 1964 edition of Keynes’s General Theory of […]

Canadian R&D spending is weak

Today’s Daily from Statscan points to a new short review of Canadian R&D spending, 2002 to 2006. They report: Spending on industrial research and development (R&D) will edge up this year, according to reported intentions. Canadian companies will spend an estimated $14.9 billion on R&D, up 1.3% from the preliminary figure for 2005. Manufacturers will […]

The R Word

That sinking feeling is coming on. The US economy is slowing and several well-respected economists have made their call. Leading off, Paul Krugman: The key point is that the forces that caused a recession five years ago never went away. Business spending hasn’t really recovered from the slump it went into after the technology bubble […]

Latin America watch

Mark Weisbrot of the Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research looks to recent political developments in Latin America, and sees the end of an era of neoliberal policies. His article, forthcoming in the International Journal of Health Services, begins: The changes that have taken place in Latin America in recent years are part […]

The World Upside Down

by Jim Stanford I’ve now been in Melbourne Australia for one month of my 12-month sabbattical. It’s always interesting for an economist to live somewhere else and compare the micro-minutae of life. It’s a sure-fire way to drive your travelling partners nuts. Here are my main impressions of economic life on the bottom side of […]

Defending Sweden

The Globe and Mail’s Neil Reynolds does a hatchet job on Sweden. Alas, conservatives have called for the end of the Swedish welfare state for a long time, and this smear job may postpone the day that Canadians start looking at Sweden as a model we may want to emulate. Truth be told, I have […]

Fear of Sharing

All of this equalization talk has Preston Manning worried. While Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would have just told the rest of us to keep our grubby hands off Alberta’s wealth, Manning and his co-author Fred Kerr take 1200 words to explain to us that Alberta is already sharing as much as it can. Let’s take […]