Plausible Socialism

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a widespread sense that liberal capitalism had triumphed in the battle of ideas, and that socialism as a plausible alternative was pretty much dead. But the many crises of contemporary capitalism – obscene levels of economic inequality, looming ecological disaster, the rise of the racist and anti democratic populist right, the […]

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Socialism For Realists

I recommend reading Sam Gindin’s paper “Socialism for Realists” to be found in the current issue of the relatively new socialist journal, Catalyst. Sam spent most of his working life as a union economist and assistant to the President of the CAW, and writes often with Leo Panitch, most notably as co-authors of The Making of Global Capitalism.   I […]

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Budget Fails to Crack Down on Private Corp Tax Shelter

The federal Budget changed the rules a bit re the taxation of passive investment income in private corporations, but falls well short of what was promised in terms of extra revenues and more tax fairness. The “small business” lobby helped the wealthy big time. http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/andrew_ajackson/wealthy_get_off_lightly_from_budget_2018_changes_to_the_private_corporation_rules    

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The Working Poor and the Working Income Tax Benefit

Here is a short research paper I wrote for the Broadbent Institute. https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/broadbent/pages/7073/attachments/original/1519312305/Canada’s_Working_poor_and_the_Working_Tax_Benefit_-_Report.pdf?1519312305 And here is a short summary: The Liberal government have promised to make progressive changes to the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) in next week’s budget. Let’s hope that they deliver. The increased insecurity of work and low hourly wages for many workers mean that many Canadians […]

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Extreme Wealth Inequality Persists

There was little or no media coverage of the release of data on the distribution of the wealth of Canadians in 2016 last week, perhaps because there has been little or no change since the last Survey of Financial Security in 2012. The top 20% of Canadians own 67.3% of all net worth (assets of all kinds minus liabilities), almost […]

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The NDP and Old Age Security

NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh has proposed (with few details) to reform the current Old Age Security system by integrating Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS.) “A Jagmeet Singh-led government will implement the Canada Seniors Guarantee to ensure that no Canadian senior has to live in poverty. The Canada Seniors Guarantee will combine a number of […]

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Canada Lags in Job Quality

The 2017 OECD Employment Outlook provides an assessment of member country performance in terms of the quantity and quality of employment as judged by a new set of key indicators. Overall, we do well in terms of job quantity. The employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with jobs) stands at 72.5% compared to an OECD average of […]

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Income Inequality Surged Under Harper

Just as Conservatives gathered to elect a new leader, Statistics Canada released income data for 2015. These allow us to look at trends under the full term of the Harper Government from 2006 to 2015. Average after tax income of economic families rose over this period – from $68,200 to $76,900 in inflation-adjusted dollars. But the gains were very unfairly […]

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Reflections on the Social Democratic Tradition

The Broadbent Institute and Douglas-Coldwell Foundation have just published a paper of mine as part of a larger project on social democratic renewal, The paper is mainly retrospective, and touches on social democracy as an approach to economic policy. Comments are most welcome. The link is here: http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/reflections_on_the_social_democratic_tradition 1.0 Executive Summary: The purpose of this paper is to provide a […]

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Post Capitalism

Here is a link to my review of an extremely interesting new book by Guardian economics and political columnist Paul Mason. “Paul Mason is a leading British economic journalist, currently a columnist for The Guardian. He is also a long time left political activist. His new book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. New York. 2015) […]

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New Study on Positive Economic Impacts of Public Infrastructure Investment in Canada

A five-year $50-billion public infrastructure spending initiative would generate a return on investment to Canadians over the long term as high as $3.83 per dollar spent, trigger significant private sector investment and stimulate wage increases, according to a new study by an independent economic modelling firm. The Economic Benefits of Public Infrastructure Spending in Canada, authored by the Centre for […]

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Job Vacancies

Congratulations to Statscan on the occasion of the first release from the National Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, with data for the first quarter of this year. The survey received funding from HRSDC to put some hard numbers on job vacancies, and the first tranche of data are impressively granular, providing detail on vacancies at a detailed occupational level and […]

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Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper,  edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer. Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how far his transformation has gone […]

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Harper Conservatives vs the IMF on Deficits

Here is an extract from my column on balanced budgets in the Globe ROB today. “When it comes to balancing the books, the Harper government is seemingly more Catholic than the Pope. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF), hardly big fans of high government spending, argue in their latest Country Report released in January that the federal government should ease […]

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More on Secular Stagnation

Here is the link to a piece I wrote for the Globe on line this week re an interesting new eBook on secular stagnation.  I am struck by the fact that several eminently mainstream economists, mainly in the US but also Blanchard at the IMF,  see a need for public investment to drive growth, given the fact that loose monetary […]

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Is r>g in Canada?

Here is a little bit of rainy day economic doodling that may be of interest. Piketty famously argues that there is a tendency for r – the rate of return on capital- to exceed g- the rate of growth of income. If r>g, wealth and income inequality will grow inexorably since ownership of capital and claims on income from capital […]

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