The Staple Theory @ 50: Duncan Cameron

We are nearing the end of our series of special commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversay of the 1963 publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.”  Here is a fascinating historical retrospective on the influence of Innis and Watkins on Canadian political-economy by Duncan Cameron, President of rabble.ca, former President of the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Capital Gains and the Incomes of the Wealthy

Yesterday’s release from Statistics Canada on the income share of the wealthy generated some interesting coverage and commentary.  It reported that the top 1%’s share of total income in Canada remained steady in 2011 in Canada, at 10.6 percent — but still significantly higher than in the 1980s. Most observers did not mention, however, that this oft-cited income share statistic does NOT […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Marjorie Griffin Cohen

The latest entry in our continuing series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” we present the following contribution by Mel’s long-time collaborator, Marjorie Griffin Cohen.  Marjorie considers the gender dimensions of staple analysis. Staples Theory: Its Gendered Nature Marjorie Griffin Cohen Feminism was the unlikely route […]

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Good Time to Rethink Corporate Tax Cuts

Canada’s macroeconomy continues to be lethargic at best, and there is growing recognition that the continuing sluggishness of business capital spending since the 2008-09 crisis is a big part of the reason why.  Governments are in austerity mode; consumers are maxxed out and cautious about new spending; our exports are restrained by an overvalued dollar and uncertain demand in our key markets.  […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Alberto Gago

Here is an entry from the Global South in our continuing series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.”  Dr. Alberto Daniel Gago teaches political economy at the National Universities of San Juan and Cuyo-Argentina.  He is a long-time collaborator of Mel’s, and has written extensively about the challenges of development […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Daniel Poon

We continue our special series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” with the following contribution from Daniel Poon.  Daniel is one of Canada’s leading experts on the theory and practice of industrial policy, and the successfull industrialization experience of East Asia. He is an economic affairs officer with […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Thomas Gunton

Here is the latest installment in our continuing series of commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.”  This commentary is from Mel’s long-time collaborator Thomas Gunton, Director of the Resource and Environmental planning Program at Simon Fraser University.  Gunton’s submission, supplemented by an extensive bibliography, applies staples analysis […]

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Staple Theory @ 50: Daniel Drache

As part of our continuing series of commentaries marking the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we present the following submission by Daniel Drache, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University, and prolific writer on the nature of Canadian political-economic development.  Here Daniel considers whether the so-called “Northern model” […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Hugh Grant

As part of our continuing series of special commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we present the following contribution by Hugh Grant from the Economics Dept. at the University of Winnipeg.  Grant is a former student of Mel’s, and an important chronicler of the history of Canadian economic […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Marc Lee

As part of our continuing series of commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” we present the following commentary by Marc Lee, economist with the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  Marc considers the implications — both economic and environmental — of the current infatuation with export LNG in […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Brendan Haley

As part of our continuing special series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we present here an innovative and provocative commentary by Brendna Haley, Ph.D. candidate at Carleton University and author of several recent works on green industrial policy.  Haley argues there is an intersection between the “staples […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Dan Ciuriak

As part of our special series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we present the following commentary by Dan Ciuriak.  Dan was the co-author of a provocative IRPP paper earlier this year on the need for a modern, revitalized industrial policy capacity in Canada.  Here he imagines how […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Gord Laxer

The next installment in our special series of commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article on staple theory, focuses our attention on the latest staple boom to remake Canada’s economy: the bitumen sands of northern Alberta.  The author is Gordon Laxer, founding Director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta.

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Hugh Grant and David Wolfe

For the next installment in our special series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we provide excerpts from the preface to an edited collection of Mel’s writings assembled by Hugh Grant and David Wolfe, which provides some great personal perspective on Mel’s personality and passion. Mel Watkins as Teacher, Scholar […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Abe Rotstein

Here is the first contribution to our special series of commentaries marking the 50th Anniversary of the publication of “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” by Mel Watkins, in the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science.   The author, Abe Rotstein, was a colleague with Mel at the University of Toronto, and a founder of the Committee for an Independent […]

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The Staple Theory @ 50: Introduction to a Special Blog Series

In my job as economist for Unifor (and before that the CAW), I have had a long-time interest in more sustainable and sensible policies for managing Canada’s resource wealth. The challenge, given the lucrative but fleeting nature of resource booms, is to leverage Canada’s resource wealth in a manner that stimulates a more diversified, inclusive, and sustainable economy. Market-driven approaches, […]

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A Fine Balance: GDP Growth by Sector and the Impact of Austerity

The second-quarter GDP numbers confirm that Canada’s continuing “recovery,” such as it is, is still balancing very precariously on a knife-edge between expansion and contraction.  The various sources of growth vary widely in their current momentum.  The overall net balance is barely positive.  And coming austerity in the public sector could very much push the balance into negative territory in coming […]

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Can Canadians Really “Buy Into” Mexico?

A recent investment advice column in the Globe and Mail (by David Milstead, August 3) highlighted some surprising facts about Mexico’s economy. The bullish author suggested Mexico will be a global economic powerhouse in future years thanks to pro-business policy shifts (like the new plan to open up the petroleum sector, 65 years after nationalization, to renewed foreign ownership), and […]

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Canada Sinking Fast on Global List of Job Creators

The federal government never tires of boasting that Canada’s labour market has performed better than most other countries through the financial crisis and subsequent recession, and that the number of Canadians working today is greater than it was before the recession hit.  That means we have fully recovered from the downturn, and the Tories are good economic managers, right?  Wrong.

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Remembering Lukin Robinson

I attended a lovely memorial service this week for Hugh Lukin Robinson, long-time labour economist and progressive activist in Ontario who passed away a few months ago at the ripe old age of 96.  The memorial service was organized by his family (including his son Michael) at the Park-Hyatt Hotel, and was attended by friends and colleagues from Lukin’s very […]

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C-377: A Chance for the Senate to Prove Its Worth

There’s a hilarious piece in today’s National Post by Dean Beeby, who cleverly used an access to information request to ferret out a copy of the training manual they use for the summer students who guide tourists around Parliament Hill.  Anticipating critical questions about the role of the Senate in our modern-day democracy, the students are primed to highlight its virtue […]

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Will CETA Help Tories… Or Hurt Them??

With Prime Minister Harper making the diplomatic rounds in Europe, media interest has heightened this week regarding the potential free trade agreement which his government is trying to negotiate with the European Union. Several deadlines to reach that deal have come and gone, but the Conservatives are still heavily committed to reaching a deal as a centrepiece of their economic […]

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Dutch Disease is Dead … Long Live Dutch Disease!!!

In the hyper-polarized context of Canadian energy policy debates, even suggesting that there might be a downside to the untrammeled energy boom centred in northern Alberta is enough to get you labelled a traitor or an economic illiterate — or both.  Conservative political leaders in both Ottawa and Edmonton, backed by energy-friendly think-tanks and the Sun media chain, have tried […]

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