Review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Belknap Press, 2014) is the economics publishing sensation of our times, especially in the United States. Currently the number one seller on the US Amazon web site and widely debated in the “blogosphere”, this long book is being favourably compared to the seminal works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx […]

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The IMF and Progressive Economics in Canada

It is interesting to note that the most recent IMF staff report on Canadian economic issues echoes some key concerns of progressive economists. I have reported these for the Broadbent Institute. As noted in this summary, the IMF report that corporate Canada’s cash hoard is the biggest in the G7 and has been mainly amassed by energy and mining companies. […]

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More on Secular Stagnation

Tom Palley has an interesting piece on his blog re differing approaches to the theme of secular stagnation, drawing a distinction between Marxist and structural Keynesian perspectives. As he notes, neo liberals such as Summers  have got on the bandwagon without really exploring in depth the roots of the problem.

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Harper Job Record in 2013

Further to Erin’s post, the Labour Force Survey numbers released by Statistics Canada on December 6 give the lie to the Harper government’s frequently heard claim that our economy is doing well. Over the past year, between November, 2012 and November, 2013, ALL of the net new jobs created in Canada were in the lowest paid and most insecure occupational […]

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Secular Stagnation

I have written a couple of pieces for Economy Lab in the Globe and Mail recently on the issue of secular stagnation. (Links below) The term was coined by the pioneering American Keynesian Alvin Hansen who argued that the US economy of the late 1930s faced a long period of stagnation due to a chronic, structural gap  between aggregate supply […]

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The Entrepreneurial State

 In her important new book “The Entrepreneurial State” which got a rave review from Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, University of Sussex economist Mariana Mazzucato attacks the conventional view that the role of the state should be largely confined to promoting free markets, correcting market failures, and maintaining a low spending, pro free enterprise climate to facilitate private sector […]

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The New Attack on Unions

The latest issue of the York University e journal Just Labour is now available. In addition to three articles on youth and labour, it includes my paper “Up Against the Wall: the Political Economy of the New Attack on the Canadian Labour Movement” and thoughtful responses from Sam Gindin, Ken Lewenza, Maya Bhullar and Patricia Chong. The major issue raised […]

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Margaret Thatcher’s Economic Legacy

Here is my take from today’s Economy Lab in the Globe. To expand a bit on alternatives, my take is that the neo liberal turn at the end of the 1970s was one possible response to the stagflation crisis, which found mainstream Keynesian economics wanting. Left Keynesians such as Kalecki had long recognized that full employment capitalism with strong unions […]

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Who Is Earning Too Much?

  Last week’s publication of the so-called “sunshine” list of 88,412 Ontario public sector workers earning more than $100,000 per year elicited lots of howls of outrage in terms of on line commentary. It should not be forgotten that the whole point of the annual list – which dates back to the Harris days – is to yank on the […]

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Minimum Wage

A lot of debate in the US on Obama’s excellent proposal to hike the minimum wage. John Schmitt of CEPR has put out an excellent paper summarizing all of the research to show that the employment effects of reasonable increases are … Zero, zilch .. Due to various adjustment mechanisms including lower turnover, higher productivity and wage compression. He also […]

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Tax and the Top 1%

Further to Toby’s comments, Miles Corak has posted an excellent commentary on the new numbers on high incomes, together with a spread sheet showing average effective tax rates by income group from the 1980s. The big story is that the average effective tax rate for the very affluent has been stable since the early 1980s as their income share has […]

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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.” Really? The Bank of Canada […]

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Best Books of 2012

Here are, in no particular order, my picks for the four best books of 2012 from a progressive economics perspective. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin. The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. (Verso). I suspect this book will become a classic. It is a rich and highly detailed  account of how states, and above all the […]

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Coyne on Inequality

Letter to the Editor Ottawa Citizen, December 18  Andrew Coyne (December 14) leaps on a study by TD Economics to claim that “income inequality in Canada has remained more or less flat since the mid 1990s” and that the big surge in the rising income share of the top 1% took place before 1998.  As Coyne himself says, “the reigning […]

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The Default Option

Here is an important op ed from the Irish Times by a former senior IMF official, arguing that the most heavily indebted euro countries will have to default on some of their public debt. If they do not, public debt will continue to rise to even more unsustainable levels as unemployment and output losses soar.

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Mulcair on the Economy

Leader of the Opposition Tom Mulcair gave a fine speech on the Budget Bill on October 24 which can be found in its entirety in Hansard. I have posted some extracts of interest to progressive economists below. They echo many of the arguments made on this blog “What is more, the Conservatives are creating an economy where salaries will be […]

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The Limits of Demography

Here is a piece I wrote for today’s Globe Economy Lab re the Department of Finance report on the costs of an aging society. The key point is that the mainstream doom and gloom projections of the costs of falling labour force growth  ignore the positive impacts which can be expected as and when we get to a situation of […]

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Effective Corporate Tax Rate Falling

Further to my earlier post critiquing the recent  Mintz study -  which argued that cuts in corporate tax rates are not significantly denting corporate tax revenues – I looked up the effective corporate tax rate (income tax paid as a percentage of taxable corporate income.) Here is what shows up on CANSIM 180-0003.   2006 – 31.0% 2007 – 29.9% […]

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Selective Amnesia at the Bank of Canada

A guest blog from Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa  In a speech delivered on October 4th to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce (see: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/2012/10/speeches/a-measure-of-work/), the senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklen, has offered some self-congratulatory remarks, by arguing that the near-zero inflation policy pursued by the Bank under the leadership […]

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The End of Men?

The Globe and Mail on Saturday devoted two pages of its Focus section to a discussion of Hanna Rosin’s book, The End of Men. There are a few interesting anecdotes on changing sex roles, but there are no facts cited to substantiate the argument that North America is seeing the rise of a matriarchy as women have displaced men in […]

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