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Archive for 'capitalism'

Why France’s Economic Problems Matter

I’ve had the good fortune to live in France for the past 10 months on a year-long sabbatical and therefore been able to witness firsthand the travails of the Socialist government as it wrestles with the country’s economic woes. Indeed, the unpopularity of president Francois Hollande was exposed a couple of weeks ago after nation-wide […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 4: Bernard Vallageas

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 4 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Bernard Vallageas Vice-président de l’Association pour le Développement des Etudes Keynésiennes […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 3: Mario Seccareccia

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 3 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Mario Seccareccia Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa Editor, International […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 2: Louis-Philippe Rochon

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 2 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University Founding co-editor, […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 1: Marc Lavoie

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 will follow in subsequent blog posts. – Marc Lavoie Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa […]

Why the Minimum Wage Debate Isn’t Going to Go Away

Yesterday I tweeted this: <blink> Gap will raise minimum hourly pay Walmart “looking” at support of min wage raise In honour of the momentum, I am posting the piece I wrote for Economy Lab a while back, and including the numbers that drive the chart that attracted quite a lot of attention. There is a […]

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 […]

The Blackberry mess and what Canada needs

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 – the story that just won’t quit

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 […]

Dead Money

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. […]

Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream

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. […]

Labour Losing to Capital

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 Big Banks’ Big Secret

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 […]

In the Wake of the Crisis: Bully Capitalism

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 […]

Capitalism as a Matter of Faith and Twisted Logic

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

“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 […]

Challenging capitalism: a 12-step program

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 […]

The Privatization of Social Housing

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 […]

First We Take Manhattan….. What Occupy Wall Street Could Mean

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 […]

Occupy Wall Street

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 […]

Money Runners for Marx

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 […]

Is Capitalism Terminally Ill?

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, […]

Does Capitalism Save Lives?

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 […]

Contemporary Capitalism Conference

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 Rise of the Global Elite

“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 […]

Laying pipe in Canada

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, […]

The Lumpenization of the Global Economy

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 […]

Poor Capitalists?

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?

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. […]

Is Social Democracy Dying? – Part 2

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 […]