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Archive for May, 2007

The Olympian Spirit, Copyright Style

While we’re all breathlessly awaiting the federal government’s long-promised revisions to the Copyright Act, interested parties may want to check out Bill C-47, the federal government’s proposed legislation to grant extra special intellectual property right protection for the Olympic movement and its related symbols.  For a summary of the legislation, check out the Library of […]

Goldman Sachs and the World Bank

The Independent’s take on Zoellick as new World Bank kingpin: Goldman Sachs marches on with Bush’s candidate for World Bank By Leonard Doyle in Washington Published: 31 May 2007   … Mr Zoellick, 53, is a senior executive of Goldman Sachs, who until recently was the deputy US Secretary of State. Before that he was […]

TILMA and Investor Rights

In this month’s Fraser Forum, Robert Knox attacks the critics of TILMA. Knox, who was one of the folks leading the charge for the Agreement on Internal Trade, mostly takes aim at legal interpretations by Ellen Gould and Steven Shrybman that contemplate areas where TILMA’s broad scope could lead to perverse rulings by trade panels. […]

Economists weigh in on “hip heterodoxy”

A torrent of discussion in response to Hip Heterodoxy (blogged here) has come up at TPM cafe. The full discussion page, which includes posts by Paul Krugman, Mark Thoma, Max Sawicky and others, can be viewed here. For RPE, I will stick to the self-interest of the PEF, and include only James Galbraith, who is […]

Rate hikes & Conflicts of Interest

Arun DuBois signing in after a long absence. I’m breaking radio silence because (a) I suddenly have a bit more free time (how do the rest of you do it? You folks are machines!); and (b) my righteous indignation has been stoked to full throttle this week after reading one too many Globe and Mail […]

Bank of Canada sends wrong signal, labour says

May 29, 2007 OTTAWA – The leaders of Canada’s most important unions and of all the provincial and territorial federations of labour, meeting in Ottawa today as the Executive Council of the Canadian Labour Congress, adopted and issued the following statement: “The soaring Canadian dollar is one of the major factors behind the loss of […]

Laxer: Canada’s missing energy policy

Fresh off of getting cut off mid-presentation by an uptight Conservative, who we discovered later was only following orders, Gord Laxer makes his case: Easterners could freeze in the dark GORDON LAXER … while Canada, as part of our bilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership initiative, supports U.S. efforts to wean itself off Middle Eastern oil, […]

How can the feds support innovation?

Asks David Crane in today’s Toronto Star. Between the lines I read that the feds need to stop listening to whining corporate elites, whose cries inevitably come back to tax cuts, deregulation, more “free trade” (investor rights) deals and reduced public services as the means to “competitiveness”. Crane suggests a federal approach based on a […]

Alberta and BC elect more Conservatives than Ontario

In today’s column, Andrew Coyne examines the Conservative government’s decision to increase parliamentary representation in line with population growth for Alberta and BC, but not for Ontario. He suggests that this move is designed to appease Quebec, while steering clear of the obvious motive: additional Alberta/BC ridings are far more likely than additional Ontario ridings […]

Postal Workers Respond to Coyne

Today’s National Post features a stinging reply from Deborah Bourque to Andrew Coyne’s critique of Canada’s postal monopoly. I have no expertise on comparative international postal systems, but the facts outlined by Bourque seem to do serious damage to Coyne’s argument. At this point, the debate appears to pit hard evidence regarding Canada Post’s low […]

Up With Corporate Taxes

Progressives often present corporate-tax cuts as having transferred billions of dollars from the Canadian government to big business. This characterization is largely correct, but neglects the fact that many foreign-based corporations operating in Canada are also taxed on a worldwide basis by foreign governments. To the extent that corporations in Canada are affiliates of American […]

The Nation: Heterodox economics peeks through the cracks

A week before the Canadian Economics Association meeting, the article in the Nation looks at the plight of heterodox economics south of the border. There are a lot of parallels to Canada, but some differences, too. At the CEA meetings, Progressive Economics Forum sessions have generally been very well attended (we’ll see how this year […]

Immigration and Wages

A study released by Statistics Canada today concludes that “Immigration has tended to lower wages in both Canada and the United States.” Of course, immigration is but one of many influences on wages and class divisions are of far greater economic significance than any supposed conflict between immigrant and non-immigrant workers. Nevertheless, this issue has […]

China and the end of neoliberalism?

Sachs’ article below suggests that China’s growing influence on the world stage may well signal the end of neoliberalism. That ideological framework of monetarism, liberalization, deregulation and privatization was imposed through structural adjustment programs, mostly in Latin America and Africa, with terrible results. Meanwhile, most Asian countries flouted those policy prescriptions en route to steller […]

Reflections on the “fiscal imbalance”

A year ago, I was concerned that the Harper government, in the name of “fixing” the “fiscal imbalance”, would endorse ideas coming from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the CD Howe Institute for a radical decentralization of fiscal federalism. This would have entailed eliminating the non-equalization transfers to the provinces (that fund health […]

The Saskatchewan NDP on TILMA

The Saskatchewan NDP Caucus has just posted an appropriately critical description of TILMA followed by a catalogue of the Saskatchewan Party’s support for this agreement. The Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly will soon begin public consultations on TILMA, but the material posted makes it fairly clear that the governing NDP will not sign the agreement.

We Are The Champions! (Except for Iceland)

Having just finished arguing that inequality is an inevitable result of personal marriage decisions, William Watson has declared Canadians the “strike champs” of the OECD in today’s Financial Post. A new British study suggests that labour disputes cost about 200 days per 1,000 workers per year in Canada, which is apparently far more than in […]

And they call it homogamy

The educational homogamy meme has put a burr under my saddle. While I do think it is an important element in understanding inequality trends, what concerns me is the insinuation that this explains most of the rise in inequality, a position taken by Margaret Wente and William Watson to sound off that there is nothing […]

On esoteric favours and public companies

It seems pretty simple to me: if you do not want to have to deal with pesky shareholders and all of their questioning your personal use of the company’s private jet and New York condo, take “your company” private. Then you can fill your boots on the company account as much as you want because […]

The Taxpayers Federation Gets its Hands on the Reins of Power

Larry O’Brien’s train wreck of a mayoralty, which continues to play out on the Ottawa Citizen’s front pages, is an instructive microcosm of how things might look if the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) were running a government near you. O’Brien’s Chief of Staff is, of course, Walter Robinson, the CTF’s long-time Federal Director. UPDATE (May […]

Black, Asper and Canadian capitalism

Based on conversations among Canada’s top capitalists (and their heirs), the Conrad Black trial revealed this interesting insider look at their rather incestuous dealings. Much of the article is written around takes on then-PM Chretien, but I find most interesting what this tells us about the real economics of media empires (original here). In the […]

Saving the environment through gas price gouging

Hugh Mackenzie’s piece on gas price gouging set off a chain reaction in the mass media. The oil execs were scrambling to come up with any and all excuses to justify their outrageous abuse of market power, and their even more outrageous profits. The lame response essentially boils down to this: it’s just market forces. […]

There’s blood on the factory floors: where’s Ottawa?

For once the headline-writers at the Globe gave my latest column (on continuing job losses in manufacturing) a better headline than the one I suggested (which in this case was a bland one: “Why manufacturing matters” zzzzzzzzzzz). Mind you, even their “blood on the floor” headline was not as eye-grabbing as Philip Cross’s year-old quote […]

Dubious competition in the cell phone market

Back when I worked for Industry Canada in the mid-1990s, I sat on an internal panel that reviewed the applications for digital cellular telephony (what was then called PCS, or Personal Communications Systems). It was an interesting experience, including getting fingerprinted by the RCMP to get Secret security clearance. We basically chose to license a […]

PEF at the CEA 2007

The Canadian Economics Association annual conference is just ten days away. Writers are furiously writing up their papers for presentation (or like me, are procrastinating until the pressure builds); discussants are plotting clever things to say in response to those papers; and others are just figuring out where they will be sleeping in Halifax. As […]

Krugman: Fear of Eating

Paul Krugman takes on deregulation in the US, sounding a lot like a CCPA research associate. In a research paper released last year, Bruce Campbell and I contemplated deregulation in the Great White North (dubbed “smart regulation” by the previous Liberal government) and a current obsession of our policy elites, regulatory harmonization (dubbed “cooperation”). We […]

Business Week: The Poverty Business

While William Watson and Margaret Wente are shrugging their shoulders at growing inequality in Canada, and endorsing policies that would make our income distribution more like that of our southern neighbour, concerns in the US about rising inequality are actually getting a better hearing. An example is the following article in Business Week (The Poverty […]

The Dubious Quality of New Jobs

I spent the better part of this morning sifting through the latest release of Statcan’s Employment, Earnings and Hours release to get a bit of a fix on what’s happening to all of those displaced manufacturing workers. We in the labour movement tend to see a big shift from reasonably good manufacturing jobs to bad […]

Our Economy – The Real Story and the Plan We Need

http://canadianlabour.ca/index.php/Our_Economy__The_rea Here’s the link to a popular pamphlet produced by the CLC for a series of community forums leading up to a national event at the end of the month,

Family Income Inequality

    Further to my earlier post re Margaret Wente on Inequality  http://progecon.wordpress.com/2007/05/15/margaret-wente-and-inequality/ the  Ottawa Citizen ran two letters today, from Armine Yalnizyan and myself, responding to Bill Watson’s similar view that  we can’t do anything about inequality since it is driven by personal marital choices.   The Ottawa Citizen Tuesday, May 22, 2007 Re: […]