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Archive for 'Adam Smith'

Poverty and BC’s high cost of housing

BC Stats put out a release on poverty lines as they relate to BC, with an important finding: BC’s dubious position as having the highest poverty rates in Canada may in fact be worse than the statistics show. This finding is buried in the piece and the title, “Low Income Cut-Offs a Poor Measure of […]

The Future of Capitalism

Some weekend reading: Amartya Sen, that other voice of sanity among recent Nobel laureates in economics, draws lines between the current economic crisis and the history of economic thought (with an emphasis on Smith, Keynes and Pigou), and what that all means for a “new capitalism”. Then, over at the Financial Times, a whole series […]

Trading on Thin Ice

It is amazing to see the charged responses to the idea of a made-in-Canada policy for procurement related to infrastructure stimulus spending. Perhaps it is just that all economists are supposed to accept free trade as the One True Policy. But what I am seeing are largely moral arguments for free trade in the abstract […]

Adam Smith did not wear an Adam Smith tie

A theme I’ve posted on many times before but perhaps worth repeating once again, thanks to this post: How Laissez Faire was Adam Smith?Greg Whiteside writes in The Condo Metropolis Blog (7 December) here: “ADAM SMITH MUST BE ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE RIGHT NOW” “Arguably the father of modern economics, Adam Smith was a […]

Adam Smith and progressive taxation

Some of the knee-jerk commentary in response to my paper has been about what an ideal, or fair, tax system should really look like. These people question progressive taxation. To them, I quote Adam Smith from The Wealth of Nations (from Wikipedia): The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find […]

Adam Smith the anti-corporate activist

Thanks for Harper’s for reminding us what the grandfather of economics thought about groups like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, the Recording Industry Association of America, PhARMA and all of the other thousands that are part of the “business industry”: The proposal of any new law […]

Poverty in Canada and its Newspapers

As Marc noted, the Toronto Star is waging a journalistic “war on poverty”. The editorial in Monday’s National Post chastised “The Toronto Star’s poverty scam” for using the Low-Income Cut-Off, a relative measure, as an indicator of poverty. Today’s National Post includes the following letter from yours truly: In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, the […]

Shaking the Invisible Hand

Browsing at a used book store in Vancouver, I picked up some classics on the cheap. Someone must have dumped their economics books, thinking them passe. I’m keen to revisit those classics – the more I learn, the more I get out of them. So I got a 1964 edition of Keynes’s General Theory of […]

Adam Smith the anti-poverty activist

Princeton economist Alan Kreuger provides another take on the “Adam Smith did not wear the Adam Smith necktie” theme, from a 2001 New York Times column, that reviews “Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment” (Harvard University Press) by Emma Rothschild, director of the Center for History and Economics at King’s College, Cambridge: Emma […]

The Distorted Priorities of Mainstream Economics

Writing in the Toronto Star (link lost), economists Arthur Donner and Doug Peters reflect on economics, employment and inequality: The Distorted Priorities of Mainstream Economics Arthur Donner and Douglas Peters, May 2006 There has been a monumental shift in mainstream economics over the past forty years. When we studied economics in the 1960s, economists and […]

Adam Smith the moralist

A new book on Adam Smith by James Buchan deepens the case that he did not wear an Adam Smith necktie. Commented on by Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn: Most people these days regard Smith as the founder of free- market economics. He’s the hero of the get-the-government-off- our-backs crowd. He’s the pin-up boy of the […]

Adam Smith did not wear an Adam Smith necktie

OK, so this is not about the Canadian economy. But I woke up this morning with that phrase about Adam Smith ties in my head and had to track it down – the Adam Smith tie being the burkha of free market fundamentalists, and as a result, a fitting gift to guest speakers at Fraser […]