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 to that between American states. […]

Read more

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 used as wallpaper, or dramatic […]

Read more

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 recession”. The period has been […]

Read more

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 significant drop in inflation – […]

Read more

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 posts on the European sovereign […]

Read more

“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 strategies and behaviour.  (My answer […]

Read more

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 jurisdictions and inserting investor-state provisions […]

Read more

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 promoting collective bargaining, raising minimum […]

Read more

PEF Conference 2011

The Progressive Economics Forum has the following line-up of sessions for this year’s Canadian Economics Association conference on June 3-5 at the University of Ottawa. Thanks very much to Nick Falvo for coordinating our conference activities and putting this schedule together. We are also hosting a summer school the day before and announcing our essay contest winners at the conference. […]

Read more

Industry Canada Pans Free Trade?

Shortly before I left Canada, Canadian Business magazine contacted me for a story on productivity. It highlighted a presentation by Industry Canada economist Annette Ryan. I was struck by slide 40 (41 of 44 in the PDF): In an endogenous sunk cost model, opening free trade and intensifying competition leads to a divergence in innovation paths. Firms in the less […]

Read more

Lessons from the Eurocrisis: If the fire marshal is saying that you shoulda had a fire detector, it might already be too late.

In the current battle against an all-out conflagration in Euroland, markets are twitchy about European (and other) banks in the event that the firefighters don’t get ahead of the blaze.  If markets lose confidence in those large banks exposed to the problems in Europe (or anywhere else, for that matter), the next chapter in the financial crisis will be a […]

Read more

ECB vs. the speculators

I’d get popcorn to watch ECB vs. the speculators, if the whole sorry story weren’t so sickening. The European Central Bank is meeting today to figure out what the bleep to do about this mess in Europe (the press conference is happening as I write). In the lead-up to the ECB announcement, non-core bonds (like Spain’s) were doing well in […]

Read more

Out of Equilibrium: Why EU-Canada Free Trade Won’t Work in the REAL World

The Canadian and EU governments are working toward a free trade agreement that would comprehensively liberalize trade in goods and services, government procurement, foreign investment, and other important economic interactions between the two parties.  Canada enters these negotiations with a notable disadvantage in terms of both quantitative trade flows, and the qualitative composition of trade.  Canada currently incurs large bilateral […]

Read more

Taxes and Economic Growth

The term “Austrian economists” usually refers to the likes of Hayek, Menger and von Mises. But I recently met some rather different economists from the Austrian Chamber of Labour. Austrian law requires that union members pay dues to the Chamber of Labour, so it is very well-funded for a progressive think tank. Similarly, all Austrian businesses are members of the […]

Read more

Beer With Weir

Now that I am working for the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels, I have some observations about life here. Rather than pollute Relentlessly Progressive Economics with a bunch of goofy anecdotes, I have started a new blog: Beer with Weir. Check it out!

Read more

Hungarian Crisis?

The Austrian School is a venerable tradition in economics, albeit one antithetical to this blog’s perspective. But it became apparent this morning that we should instead have been studying Hungarian economics. As far as I can tell, a vice-chairman of Hungary’s right-wing governing party (not a government official) made some loose remarks about public finances being so bad that the […]

Read more

The Euro Crisis

A lucid analysis from Andrew Watt,  chief economist with the European Trade Union Institute “Angela Merkel may have got just about everything else wrong, but she was right to tell the German parliament that urgent action is needed to save the euro area, otherwise the future of Europe is at stake. Europe’s reaction to the sovereign debt crisis has been […]

Read more

The Greek Crisis

Greece is being played in the media as a morality play in which a profligate government is brought to account by the  bond market and forced to submit to stern – but justified – austerity measures.  While Greek economic governance before the socialists recently returned to power was not without huge flaws, this account misses out on some key fronts. […]

Read more

The Opposite of a Buy Canadian Policy

Last week, the Minister of Finance announced his aspiration to unilaterally eliminate Canada’s few remaining tariffs on imported machinery and equipment. Saturday’s Globe and Mail quoted me doubting this proposal given the severity of Canada’s offshore trade deficit in that area. I elaborate my case in the following op-ed, which is printed in today’s Financial Post with Terry Corcoran making […]

Read more

London Calling

I’m just back from visiting family in England, and got to have a first-hand look at how the economic crisis is playing out on the other side of the Atlantic. Suffice it to say, it is the dominant story. Before we left, the Bank of England cut short-term interest rates by 1.5% and it was revealed that they had contemplated […]

Read more

Milton and the Meltdown in Iceland

I was intrigued by what is happening in Iceland, so the following is a piece I’ve written on it.  It has some introductory macro-economics in it, which I think it is good to keep in perspective as we consider the frantic attempts being made to prevent an economic depression. The economic and financial collapse of 2008 is shaping up to be […]

Read more

Liberte, Fraternite and (deleted)

In a column written before this weekend’s presidential run-offs, Mark Weisbrot unspins the misleading numbers behind the French elections: Economic Misinformation Plays a Major Role in French Election The elections in France demonstrate the power of faulty economic analysis, and more generalized problems with arithmetic, to shape ideas and possibly the future of not only a nation, but a continent. […]

Read more

Air travel and climate change

Air travel is a beast for the climate change file, one that is going to be difficult to tackle as we move ahead. For consumers, it is  deeply entrenched as a means of getting around the globe, and may be particularly hard to reduce because it would require strong international collaboration. In Monbiot’s book Heat, he argues we need to […]

Read more
1 2 3