Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Tea Party North

Last week, Travis noted Terry Corcoran’s strained argument that over-regulation of banks is what ails the global economy. Terry’s next column went even further off the deep end, endorsing the hard-money libertarianism of gold bugs like Eric Sprott. Today’s column is a full-blown defence of the US Tea Party.

I have the following response to the gold-bug column in today’s Financial Post:

Good as gold?
Erin Weir, National Post, August 10, 2011
Re: “Making money as good as gold,” Terence Corcoran, Aug. 5.

Mr. Corcoran claims that “economists and establishment theorists continue to repeat calls for stimulus and quantitative easing.” In fact, bank economists and political leaders have been preaching and practicing the opposite for more than a year.

Canadian, U.S. and European governments have been winding down stimulus programs and enacting spending cuts. Central banks in Canada, Europe and emerging economies have hiked interest rates. The U.S. Federal Reserve has not gone that far, but did end its program of quantitative easing on June 30.

Expansionary fiscal and monetary policies stopped the economic freefall that started in 2008 and supported a modest recovery. A premature abandonment of those policies in favour of austerity has now weakened the recovery and kept unemployment unnecessarily high.

This instability has made gold a good investment in recent years. However, the economic theories of gold bugs like Eric Sprott imply that other prices should also be skyrocketing. If the disease were too much “fiat currency,” the symptom would be rampant inflation. In reality, the inflation rate is only around 3% in Canada and most other advanced economies.

The macroeconomic problem is not too much money, but too little demand. The solution is to maintain, if not increase, public investment in needed services and infrastructure.

Erin Weir, Senior Economist, International Trade Union Confederation, Brussels

Corcoran also claims that Sprott “accurately forecast . . . The U.S. housing bubble, and the collapse of the government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants.” Really?

As noted by The Globe’s Derek DeCloet:

[Sprott] has held the view for years that the United States would endure some kind of financial cataclysm. But when it happened, the Sprott Canadian Equity Fund still lost 43.7 per cent. Why? Because he hadn’t thought that a Wall Street meltdown would translate into a crash in mining and energy shares, which he owned in abundance.

Sprott has acknowledged this error, which Corcoran overlooks in trying to build him up as an economic guru. On balance, I think Sprott deserves credit for having been a successful investor over his career. However, that does not mean he has a coherent analysis of the economic crisis, let alone a viable policy response.

Today’s Corcoran column goes after Canadian-born Republican David Frum, who recently observed:

Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause.

Terry writes:

After seeing the recent poor growth data for the United States, [Frum] singled out as a possible cause “the drift of so many conservatives away from what used to be the mainstream market-oriented Washington Consensus toward Austrian economics and Ron Paul style hard-money libertarianism.”

Putting that quote in context clarifies that Frum views this shift in conservative thinking not as a cause of the recession, but as a reaction to it:

. . . almost all of our thinking has been somehow affected [by the crisis]: hence the drift of so many conservatives away from what used to be the mainstream market-oriented Washington Consensus toward Austrian economics and Ron Paul style hard-money libertarianism. The ground they and I used to occupy stands increasingly empty.

The crisis has discredited the free-market Washington Consensus, underscoring the need for Keynesian macroeconomics and prudential regulation in microeconomics. Rather than come to terms with these lessons, many conservatives have decamped to the Austrian/gold-bug fantasies of Ron Paul and Eric Sprott. Corcoran is leading this intellectual retreat in Canada.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: August 10, 2011, 7:00 am

I see you are in the ‘making friends mode’ today Erin.

Just wanted to add, that as the next wave of the unresolved recession hits the northern shores, we are undoubtedly going to hear a whole lot more of Corcoran and his friends, and they will get louder. Sadly for us Harper takes these guys seriously. Thankfully for the US, Obama kind of has them in a cage right now, although I do think he lieks to let them out once in awhile to keep his base in line, which has been Obama’s downfall so far. Not sure how you the lion tamer can be friends with the lions but Obama has been letting us think it is the best route through the crisis.

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: August 10, 2011, 7:50 am

Marcy Wheeler, aka emptywheel, excoriates the Wall Street Journal today for making similar, absurd, economic judgements:

Write a comment

Related articles