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Archive for January, 2013

Canada’s bloated 1 per cent

Statistics Canada’s release on the escalating incomes of the top 1 per cent gained a lot of media coverage — and also provoked some very defensive reactions by major organs of the Canadian media. This included an almost rabid column by Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran accusing Statistics Canada of engaging in class warfare and, in […]

What Caused the American Civil War?

One hundred and fifty years ago Americans were fighting a most bloody civil war. There were serious persons then and now that blamed the war on Eli Whitney for his invention of the cotton gin in 1794. While Whitney’s gin directly reduced the demand for slaves to separate cotton fibre from the seeds, it broke […]

Albert Hirschman 1915-2012

Albert Hirschman died in December of last year at the grand old age of 97. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but I was an avid reader of his writings and much influenced by them. In the 1950s and 1960s, as the field of economic development emerged within economics, there was a debate […]

Wealth Inequality and Neo Liberalism

I have a commentary posted on the Broadbent Institute web site, arguing that inequality of wealth fundamentally undermines the argument that market rewards are “fair.” http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/blog/andrew-jackson-distribution-wealth-implications-neo-liberal-justification-economic-inequality

Labour Market still weak: Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada released their January 2013 Monetary Policy Report.  Of note, the Bank downgraded its growth expectation for 2013 to 2.0% from 2.3%, and expects the Canadian economy will not reach full potential until late 2014. Several key points in the January MPR reinforce what progressive economists have been saying about the Canadian […]

The dubious case for casinos

I got way off my usual research agenda this morning for a business panel on CBC radio. The topic was the economics of casinos, the result of the City of Surrey voting down a new casino proposal. I have often disparagingly compared stock markets to casinos, but in fact I knew relatively little about the […]

M&A 2012

We knew that the takeover of Nexen by CNOOC was big but I at least didn’t realize how big it was till I saw the Wall Street Journal’s list (Jan.2, 2013) of the 25 biggest M&A deals world-wide in 2012 where it ranked 5th and was the largest deal made by a Chinese company. Canada […]

Guest Blog: David Fairey on the History of the Trade Union Research Bureau

A special event was held at the Vancouver & District Labour Council last week to commemorate the history and contributions of the Trade Union Research Bureau.

GHG Cap & Trade

This is a guest blog post written by Whitehorse-based economist, Luigi Zanasi.  Please feel free to comment.  Also, please note that this was written before Marc’s blog post of Jan. 14 re: BC’s carbon tax. — Towards a fair cap & trade system for GHG emissions In the last two federal elections, the NDP quite […]

Macdonald-Laurier Institute on Dutch Disease

Here is my Economy Lab piece on the study by Philip Cross released yesterday. On close examination, his “expanding sectors” turn out to be low value-added resource processing and his argument that Canadian manufacturing is not in decline does not hold water. The decline in output has been far greater than in the US and […]

Marc’s Enbridge Testimony

Testimony to the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project By Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives January 16, 2013 My name is Marc Lee, and I have served as an economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for more than 14 years. Most recently I have been Senior Economist and […]

Pushback on EI Changes

It has been a week and a half since changes to the definition of suitable employment and reasonable job search have come into effect.  Already, a single mom in Prince Edward Island, Marlene Giersdorf,  has become a symbol of the hardship these changes are likely to have on many Canadians in the coming months. When she […]

NYT study on public subsidies in the US

This is a little old, but it was brought to my attention late and it seems to be of durable relevance. Last month, the New York Times (NYT) published an article chronicling public giveaways to corporations in the United States. What is extraordinary is that the article is the result of ten months – 10 […]

What’s next for BC’s carbon tax?

An oped of mine was published by the Vancouver Sun today: What’s next for BC’s carbon tax? Marc Lee Climate change forced its way onto the political agenda in 2012, as Hurricane Sandy ripped through the northeast United Stages just days before the election. And while action remains frustratingly slow, extreme weather disasters in the […]

Re-defining (Un)Employment Insurance

Several key changes to Employment Insurance came into effect on Sunday.  The EI program is about to get Grinch-ier, especially for who happen to have needed it more than once. What Changed Some of the changes made are reasonable, some are technical, and some are misguided.  Together, these changes go some way toward redefining what […]

What Does the Bank of Canada Do?

The Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada have retained Odgers Berndtson to seek a new Governor, and have placed an ad in the Globe and Mail, the Economist and La Presse. The wording of the advertisement is questionable. First, it states that “the Bank of Canada is the pre-eminent macro-economic institution in Canada.” […]