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Archive for 'Europe'

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 […]

Tony Blair and the Corporatization of Social Democracy

Tony Blair, by any sensible yardstick, is a douchebag. Recently, The Guardian, under the headline “Toxic”, detailed Blair’s “downward spiral”. This included the revelation that he may have been having an affair with Wendi Murdoch, the now ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Blair was once good pals with Murdoch and Wendi and is godparent […]

Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade

I have the following letter to the editor in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald: Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade In their letter of Dec. 3, Darryl Hickie and other Sask. Party MLAs back away from his previous claim that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) would be […]

Canada’s Trade Deficit with the EU Doubles

On last night’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange, I debunked the claim that the trade deal between Canada and the European Union (EU) will create 80,000 Canadian jobs. The conservative panelists did not even try to defend this figure (see this CBC video, starting at 15:45). As Jim Stanford has previously explained on this blog, the […]

Housing Policy Under Harper

Today I gave a presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the European Network for Housing Research.  Points raised in the presentation include the following: -Fiscal context, more so than which party has been in government, appears to have shaped federal housing policy in Canada over the past two decades.  Program expenses […]

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 […]

The Default Option

Here is an important op ed from the Irish Times by a former senior IMF official, arguing that the most heavily indebted euro countries will have to default on some of their public debt. If they do not, public debt will continue to rise to even more unsustainable levels as unemployment and output losses soar.

$12 bil CETA GDP Claim from SimCity, not Real World

This week’s edition of Embassy newspaper contained a very interesting briefing insert on the Canada-EU CETA talks.  Below is a commentary from me critiquing the ubiquitous but unbelievable claim that free-trade with Europe would boost Canada’s GDP by $12 billion, create 80,000 jobs, and life incomes by $1000 per family.

Just How Stupid is Niall Ferguson? Very Stupid.

“But the real point of me isn’t that I’m good looking. It’s that I’m clever. I’ve got a brain! I would rather be called a highly intelligent historian than a gorgeous pouting one” – Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, Sept. 2011. One of the predictable habits of the mainstream media is to seek out opinions on […]

Another push for jobs by shifting the tax burden on workers…

… in Portugal. Portugal’s Prime Minister announced on Friday that the government would raise workers’ social security contribution rates from 11% to 18% (about one month’s salary)… and decrease companies’ contribution rates from 23.5% to 18% in the same breath. The usual need for job creation is invoked as justificaion for the move… an interesting […]

The ECB and the Euro Crisis

Here is an excellent commentary by Andrew Watt on the new ECB commitment to buy bonds without limit to reduce interest rates on the government debt of troubled members of the Euro zone. While an important and necessary step, this still means that deflationary austerity will continue, and that there will be no offsetting stimulus […]

Canada, the IMF and the G20

The Harper government decided to attack Thomas Mulcair on the issue of Canadian support for additional IMF resources to deal with the euro area crisis, implying that Canadian taxpayers should not be asked to “bail out” a rich area of the world. As recounted in Macleans here, on June 8, “Before QP yesterday, the Conservatives […]

The Davos Speech

The Prime Minister’s speech at Davos was, I would bet, written by Stephen Harper himself. It  bore the stamp of his long standing contempt for the European welfare state. He all but said that the Europeans had brought the crisis on themselves through trying to live beyond their fiscal means:  As I look around the world, as […]

The Next Euro Debate

An astute piece from Andy Watt. He thinks that we shall indeed soon see what markets are anticipating – the long deferred grand bargain, in which the ECB backstops euro bonds  (thus averting a banking and sovereign debt crisis), in return for which euro countries agree to  much enhanced surveillance of national fiscal policies. That […]

Apocalypse Soon?

The OECD’s new assessment of the macro-economic situation makes for pretty grim reading. And their forecast of very sluggish global growth (just 1.6% for the OECD area in 2012) is based on an increasingly incredible view that the Eurozone will “muddle through”and experience only a mild recession. They do not seem to have convinced even […]

A New Round of Euro Austerity

The Euro deal at least averted an immediate banking crisis and induced temporary market euphoria, but it is not going to provide a lasting solution to the euro sovereign debt crisis because it will block  any lasting recovery for the euro economy. It is worth reading the text of the deal,  which represents a major […]

The Euro Crisis

I don’t have much new to add to what is surely the key economic issue of the hour beyond pointing to useful commentary by Larry Elliott  in the Guardian and Martin Wolf in the FT. I think Wolf is right that the key to resolving the crisis is to make the ECB the backstop for […]

What CETA Would Mean for Canada’s Auto Industry

Canadian free trade negotiators are going all-out to get a deal with the EU on a new free trade agreement. The Harper government wants a deal badly for largely symbolic and ideological purposes, to show that the free trade agenda is back on track under this “stable majority government.”  Many valid concerns have been raised […]

Who’s Bailing Whom? Challenging the Private Credit System

The time since 2008 has been a crucial historical moment for progressive economists to pull back the green curtain that surrounds the operation of the for-profit banking system, and expose that system for what it is: a government-protected, government-subsidized license to print money. The problem is, as soon as you start saying things like that, people […]

The Eurozone Crisis

There is a cogent commentary from Martin Wolf in today’s FT.  It is scary indeed that averting financial collapse demands structural changes in the euro area which seem to be politically impossible to achieve.

Hurricane Trichet Hits Jackson Hole

After watching Jack Layton’s state funeral, I noticed that Jean-Claude Trichet’s speech from Jackson Hole is online. The European Central Bank president does not seem to get it. Far from acknowledging that last month’s interest-rate hike was premature, he touts “price stability.” His main theme is that the economic divergence between Eurozone countries is comparable […]

Mythologies: Money and Hyperinflation

In an earlier post, Marc Lee mentioned in passing the German hyperinflation episode of the 1920s. It’s remarkable that this event still holds such sway over the popular imagination despite other more recent instances of hyperinflation. Certainly, the imagery is powerful: German citizens pushing wheelbarrows full of worthless paper money around for everyday purchases, banknotes […]

Japanizing the World Economy

This guest post is from PEF members Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia, both of whom are full professors of economics at the University of Ottawa. The “Japanization” of the World Economy Over the last twenty years, the Japanese economy underwent a long period of economic stagnation that some economists have characterized as a protracted “balance-sheet […]

C. D. Howe’s Overnight Moves Need Work

Less than a month ago, the C. D. Howe Institute released Michael Parkin’s paper, “Overnight Moves: The Bank of Canada Should Start to Raise Interest Rates Now.” The next day, its Monetary Policy Council called on the Bank to increase the overnight interest rate. This call was terrible. The following week, Statistics Canada reported June’s […]

Social Europe Journal

For those of you out there who have not seen it, I recommend Social Europe Journal.  There is a lot of good progressive economic commentary by leading European economists and policy types of a social democratic persuasion, as well as frequent commentary from Stiglitz, Reich and other US economists. Some good recent columns and blog […]

“Time to Reduce Exposure to Europe”

CBC National News reconvened their “Bottom Line” economics panel (including yours truly) last night to discuss the twin debt crises (Europe and America) that are currently roiling financial markets.  Here’s the link to the webcast for aficionados. In the last segment, Pater Mansbridge asked all the panelists how the debt problems should affect individual Canadians’ personal […]

TILMA by Stealth

A month ago, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments volunteered to be directly sued by investors under the Agreement on Internal Trade. This quiet announcement from Brudenell, Prince Edward Island, seems to have gone almost unnoticed. But it is a huge step toward imposing the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) on all Canadian […]

New CAW Film About the Economics of CETA

The CAW has just released a 20-minute video featuring none other than yours truly giving a short lecture about the economics of the proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement (a.k.a. CETA). This link takes you to the film, which can be downloaded for free and shown at information meetings or any other organizing events.

Municipalities, Procurement and Canada-EU Trade

There is an excellent post by Scott Sinclair at the CCPA blog.

Do Wages or Profits Lead Growth?

Earlier this month, I served as the discussant for a presentation by Engelbert Stockhammer, an economics professor from Kingston University in London. He was speaking at a conference organized by the workers’ representation to the International Labour Organization (ACTRAV). Stockhammer reviewed two antithetical strategies for economic growth. The pro-labour strategy aims to increase wages by […]