Electrification and Climate I: Scale of the Challenge

Many elements have to come together if Canada is to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. There is now a technical consensus that “electrification” – the replacement of fossil fuels with electricity as an energy source – is a necessary condition for decarbonization, and that electrification will require that zero/low-emission electricity generation double or triple by 2050. In this […]

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The Anthropocene and the New World

In recent decades all but the wilfully ignorant have had to face two facts: that climate change is taking place and that it is the result of what we humans are doing. The term Anthropocene was coined in 2000 in recognition of that latter hugely important fact. When had this new era began – and with it the end of […]

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An Analysis of Financial Flows in the Canadian Economy

An essential but perhaps overlooked way of looking at the economy is a sector financial balance approach. Pioneered by the late UK economist Wynne Godley, this approach starts with National Accounts data (called Financial Flow Accounts) for four broad sectors of the economy: households, corporations, government and non-residents. Here’s how it works: in any given quarter or year each sector […]

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Rethinking the economics of extreme events

Review of Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance by Frank Ackerman *** Long ago economics was termed “the dismal science,” but in recent years that title has arguably been passed on to climate science, with its regular and dire warnings that humanity needs to rapidly transition off of its use of fossil fuels for energy. In the face […]

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Ten things to know about social assistance in Canada

I’ve just written a blog post about social assistance in Canada. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Social assistance has two contradictory objectives: 1) to give people enough money to live on; and 2) to not give people enough money to live on. -Very few immigrants receive social assistance (relative to the general population). -Several Canadian provinces […]

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New book on the history of Canadian social housing policy

One of Canada’s foremost authorities on Canadian social housing, Dr. Greg Suttor, has just authored a book on the history of Canadian social housing policy. Titled Still renovating: A history of Canadian social housing policy, it’s published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and covers the period from the end of World War II to 2013. I’ve recently reviewed the book. Points […]

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The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008. -Though causation is hard to establish, the following factors likely had […]

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Social Housing in BC, AB and QC (1975-2015)

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation is a transcript of a recent discussion I had with Dr. Maroine Bendaoud. His recently-defended PhD thesis looks at social housing in BC, Alberta and Quebec from 1975 until 2015. Points raised in his thesis include he following: -After Canada’s federal government stopped funding new social housing units in the […]

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How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Leaders in Canada’s non-profit housing sector should think beyond just housing, and think hard about the importance of economic and social factors that have an impact on […]

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Litinerance au Canada: Sa croissance, les reponses politiques, et le plaidoyer

Le 1er février, j’ai fait une conférence sur l’itinérance adressée aux étudiants du séminaire d’études supérieures de monsieur Steve Pomeroy à la School of Public Policy and Administration à l’Université Carleton. Le thème de ma présentation a été l’émergence de l’itinérance au Canada en tant que domaine politique publique pressant dans les années 1980. J’ai parlé la croissance de l’itinérance, […]

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Homelessness in Canada: Its Growth, Policy Responses, and Advocacy

On February 1, I gave a guest presentation on homelessness to a graduate seminar class on housing policy taught by Steve Pomeroy at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. The focus of my presentation was the emergence of homelessness in Canada as a pressing public policy area in the 1980s. I discussed the growth of homelessness, policy responses […]

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Five Things to Know About Pre-1964 Canadian Housing Policy

On November 4, I gave a historical presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. My slide presentation, which focused on pre-1964 Canadian social history, can be downloaded here. Here are five things to know about pre-1964 history that set the tone for important developments in Canadian housing policy: Prior to the […]

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Cinq choses a savoir sur la politique du logement au Canada, avant 1964

Le 4 novembre, j’ai fait une présentation sur la politique du logement au Canada, lors de la Conférence nationale pour mettre fin à l’itinérance. Ma présentation (qui a porté sur l’histoire sociale canadienne avant 1964) illustrée de diapositives, peut être téléchargée ici. Voici cinq choses à savoir sur l’histoire avant 1964, période qui a donné le ton à des développements […]

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Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper,  edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer. Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how far his transformation has gone […]

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(Macro) Econ 101

On December 2, Chris Ragan wrote a column for the Globe and Mail titled “Another (Macro) Defense of Econ 101.”  The link to his column is available here .  My brief reply was published in the Globe and Mail on December 13.  The full version is below: Professor Ragan defends conventional (macro) Econ 101 as a pedagogical tool for training students’ minds to […]

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Economics 101

On October 21, Chris Ragan wrote a column for the Globe and Mail titled “In defence of Economics 101.”  The link to his column is available here. On October 24, Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon and Mario Seccareccia replied to him.  The link to their response is available here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD […]

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Impact of Fur Trade in U.S.

The fur trade in Canada is often said to have been less malign than in the US, and it was, but that doesn’t say much given the extraordinary disruption it is said to have createn in colonial America by the American historian Bernard Bailyn in his recent (2012) book, appropriately titled The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: […]

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Call for Research

“The interpretation of the history of North America in terms of rum and brandy has not been written, but in the fur trade, rum represented the contribution of the West Indies to trade of the Old Empire, and brandy the emphasis on French vineyards and self-sufficienty.” Innis, 1933 So far as I know, still not written Must be willing to […]

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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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Fur trade and tar sands

Here is Joseph Boyden talking with the Globe and Mail last fall about his novel Orenda: “You look at this novel and you think immigration, who you allow in and who you don’t. The Hurons allow in the ones who ulimately destroy them, because the Huron aren’t perfect either. They need the trade, and how much greed was involved in […]

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Neoliberalism in Canada: 3 moments, 3 indicators

The current edition of Canadian Dimension magazine has a fascinating series of articles on episodes of economic transition around the world (more of them bad than good in recent times, of course).  It’s a very thoughtful & informative collection, and I highly recommend it (and every progressive economist should subscribe to CD, by the way). I wrote the article on […]

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