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Another year, another dead Canadian tech giant. Blackberry was sold yesterday for scrap to the Toronto private equity firm Fairfax. The purchase price of $4.7 billion is essentially valued at its cash of $2.6 billion and the value of its patents. Blackberry’s active businesses are being valued at essentially nothing. If Fairfax can stop the [...]
The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry is a story that has gripped our attention, and not just because it affects so many Canadians. It’s because this tumultuous story has more plot twists than a thriller. Yesterday the company stole the spotlight yet again with news that its future might not be dashed after [...]
Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.) It’s not the first time he’s raised this concern. [...]
Posted by Toby Sanger under Bank of Canada, capitalism, corporate income tax, corporate profits, debt, deficits, economic crisis, financial crisis, household debt, income distribution, investment, progressive economic strategies.
August 23rd, 2012
It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand! From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision. [...]
The just-released OECD Employment Outlook – full text not available on line – has an interesting chapter on the sharp decline of labour’s share of national income in virtually all OECD countries over the past 30 years, and especially the last twenty years. The median labour share in the OECD fell from 66.1% in the [...]
The CCPA today released my report: “The Big Banks Big Secret” which provides the first public estimates of the emergency funds taken by Canadian banks. The report bases its estimates on publicly available data from CMHC, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, as well as quarterly [...]
Posted by David Macdonald under asset backed commercial paper, auto industry, Bank of Canada, banks, capitalism, corporate profits, economic crisis, economic risk, financial crisis, financial markets, financial regulation, free markets, global crisis, income distribution, inequality, recession, Role of government, Uncategorized.
April 30th, 2012
A shorter version of this article appears today at Economy Lab, the Globe and Mail’s on-line business feature. Capitalism has entered an ugly new era, one that may work well for the shareholders of world, but not for the rest of us. I couldn’t help but notice that, on the very same day Caterpillar shuttered [...]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under big business, capitalism, corporate profits, employment, federal budget, globalization, immigration, labour market, migrant workers, taxation, temporary workers, wages.
February 14th, 2012
Larry Summers has contributed to a new Financial Times series on Capitalism in Crisis. It merits a read, as an example of tortured reasoning. Summers is the consummate insider neo liberal Democratic economist. A leading academic, he was chief economist of the World Bank, acolyte and then successor to Robert Rubin as the US Secretary [...]
“Other People’s Money” by Justin Cartwright (Bloomsbury, 2011) is to the novel what the wonderful “Margin Call” is to film – a fictionalized but convincing account of high finance and the crisis of 2008. In this case, the central characters are the old money family owners of a private London investment bank which has incurred [...]
Over a year ago, I posted “What are the Game Changers?“, an attempt at sparking some strategic thinking for the broader left. Now that we’ve had a month of Occupation, building on the original Occupy Wall Street action, I’ve been wanting to put these ideas back on the table, so below I recycle much of [...]
Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers. The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO [...]
Posted by Nick Falvo under capitalism, cities, housing, Ontario, P3s, poverty, prices, privatization, public infrastructure, public services, Role of government, social policy, Toronto.
November 5th, 2011
This is not the stuff of usual protests. Over the past month, a little idea from a Vancouver outfit has mushroomed into a cross-continent movement. Occupy Wall Street, kicked off by Adbusters in July and coming to Toronto this weekend, has already spread to 70 American cities and is going global as protestors challenge society [...]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under capitalism, democracy, economic growth, financial transactions tax, fiscal policy, global crisis, inequality, Occupy Movement, Role of government, taxation.
October 13th, 2011
In search of some background on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, I recently caught up with Rick Wolff. He is a progressive economist and rising alternative media celeb in NYC (you can hear his entertaining weekly radio discussion of economic news at http://rdwolff.com/). He (with others like Stiglitz) among other spoke to the Occupy Wall [...]
On Bloomberg today is a piece by George Magnus, senior economic advisor at UBS, on the relevance of Marxian ideas. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/give-marx-a-chance-to-save-the-world-economy-commentary-by-george-magnus.html Policy makers struggling to understand the barrage of financial panics, protests and other ills afflicting the world would do well to study the works of a long-dead economist: Karl Marx. The sooner they recognize [...]
Today (June 15th) the Toronto Star broke news that the NDP was planning to drop the term “socialism” from its party’s platform. This was a mere formality of what had been in existence for decades: the party hasn’t been “socialist” in any shape or form for a very long time. On the very same day, [...]
I was watching CNBC and happened to see this panel about how the number of Americans killed by natural disasters has declined over time. It was also noted that, in early 2010, fewer people died in Chile’s earthquake than in Haiti’s earthquake. The discussion quite reasonably outlined how improvements in emergency preparedness, building codes, and [...]
PEF members Louis-Philippe Rochon and Mario Seccareccia have organized a conference on “Contemporary Capitalism: Its Financial Circuits, Its Transformation and Future Prospects” on May 31 and June 1 in Ottawa, right before the PEF summer school and Canadian Economics Association conference. Click here for the program. For more information, please contact lprochon2003 [a] yahoo.com
“The already wealthy have emerged from the global recession in an even wealthier position. What does the rise of global elites mean to power and influence at home and abroad?” That’s the blurb from TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the latest Canadian news show to tackle the issue that explains so much of what [...]
It has been fascinating to watch the growing public reaction to the full-court press from Canada’s Big Pipe companies (aka, the telcos and cablecos) for usage-based billing (internet metering). The CRTC has played a corporatist role that has largely been compliant with the demands of industry. Even in the midst of the turning political tide, [...]
Gabriella Moldonado looked like someone who was thoroughly whipped by life. This past October I was standing on the front stoop of her sagging home in Laredo, Texas, interviewing the middle-aged, portly woman for a television documentary about Mexico’s drug cartel wars. Laredo is a city of 230,000 that lies on the Rio Grande river [...]
Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Stephen Gordon argues that capitalists are not rich. Of course, wealth is more or less synonymous with owning things that can be broadly defined as capital. Stephen’s argument is focused on income: “If capital income is concentrated among high earners, then it could still be argued that increasing labour’s share [...]
Can socialism be revived? Does it have a chance to gain some traction ever again? Unfortunately, the two great experiments in socialism attempted during the last century – social democracy and the Stalinist model of state-controlled socialism – are now spent forces. In respect to sweeping capitalism into the dustbin of history, they both failed. [...]
I would venture there are three reasons why social democracy is pretty much kaput: 1) a flawed ideology 2) the power of capital and 3) a propensity for selling out and drifting to the right. 1) Flawed ideology Ever since people have exploited other people’s labour for their personal gain, it’s long been the dream [...]
Rob Ford, a belligerent right-wing serial liar with a proclivity for infantile temper tantrums and drunkenness, was elected mayor of Toronto this past week. Handily. This was after seven years of competent and scandal-free leadership by an NDP mayor, David Miller. The man Miller endorsed to replace him was a long-time NDP councilor renowned for [...]
From time to time, I check out the The Real News Network. I’ve just finished watching a video clip they’ve featured on labour protests in France over the government’s attempt to raise the “pension age” from 60 to 62. The coverage includes a brief look at the impact of the blockades of French oil refineries. I’m struck [...]
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, is an important book. It is not a huge tome, as one might expect from such a broad topic, weighing in at just 265 pages of text (including lots of figures mapping inequality against some health and social [...]
As if there weren’t already enough reasons to eliminate the egregious stock option tax loophole, a column by Eric Reguly in this month’s Report on Business magazine highlights yet another. This reason helps to explain why we had such a booming stock market up to 2008, but little growth in real investment and productivity. First [...]
Posted by Toby Sanger under capitalism, corporate compensation, corporate income tax, economic crisis, federal budget, industrial policy, investment, productivity, taxation.
March 3rd, 2010
Perhaps by now you have seen the TV commercials for Bell touting its much faster 3G network for web phones. Rogers is suing on the basis that Bell is basically making this up. What’s interesting about it, though, is that Bell, Telus and others entering the web phone (or should we just say iPhone) business [...]
On the eve of the Whitehorse meeting of Finance Ministers in December, the Howe released a report co-authored by Bill Robson which charged that the federal government’s pension plan liabilities on behalf of its own employees are greatly under-stated – to the tune of $58 billion. This sum should, he argued, be added to the [...]
I got speak on a panel for the BC Cooperative Association this week after a screening of Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. I thought it was quite well done, and better than I expected. Less of the MM kitsch and a fairly broad sweep over the history and current foibles of American [...]