Panel discussion at federal NDP policy convention

Yesterday I spoke on a panel discussion on economic inequality, along with Andrew Jackson and Armine Yalnizyan. We were guests at the federal NDP’s policy convention in Ottawa. The panel was moderated by Guy Caron. Topics covered included the minimum wage, basic income, affordable housing, the future of jobs, gender budgeting, poverty among seniors, Canadian fiscal policy in historical perspective, […]

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NAFTA and Labour Rights

I recently spoke at the Standing Committee on International Trade on their study “Priorities of Canadian Stakeholders having an interest in Bilateral and Trilateral trade in North America, between Canada, United States and Mexico”.  I share my notes with you here, although I did ad-lib a bit in the actual committee meeting. ********************** The labour movement is keenly aware that […]

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How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although regularly updated and renegotiated, is […]

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Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.  Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).  Among other things, I suggest […]

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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. Baskin-Robbins, home of 31 flavours […]

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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 reports from the banks themselves. […]

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Davidson: Efficient Market Theory Vs. Keynes’s Liquidity Theory

Paul Davidson gave a great talk to the Progressive Economics Forum at the recent Canadian Economics Association meetings. Below is a teaser; the full talk is here. ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS OF THE OPERATION OF A CAPITALIST ECONOMY: EFFICIENT MARKET THEORY VS. KEYNES’S LIQUIDITY THEORY by Paul Davidson, Editor, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics Politicians and talking heads on television are continuously […]

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Freedom is Slavery

I cannot believe we are seeing such nonsense in this day and age. The right is now reaching deep into the 19th century for inspiration. Solving the Economic Crisis through a Free Market in Labor (Chicago) Labor will not be entirely free until it can be bought and sold, says a cutting edge new report from the Freedom Institute, a […]

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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 […]

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“A steady invisible hand”

Asked by the Globe what the “ballot question” should be for the upcoming election, Tasha Kheiriddin, Quebec Director of the Fraser Institute says: “It should be all about green – money, that is. With the price of oil dropping, inflation creeping up and the auto sector in tough times, which party can provide the steadiest invisible hand for our economy?” […]

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Social Murder and Conservative Economics

A salvo from University of Manitoba economists, and PEF members, Ian Hudson and Robert Chernomas, based on their new book, Social Murder and Other Shortcomings of Conservative Economics: The Myth of Conservative Economics January 2008 “The government can’t pick winners, but losers pick government.”  Former Canadian Deputy Industry Minister V. Peter Harder cited in The New York Times, August 28, […]

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Stiglitz on Klein

From Joseph Stiglitz’s NYT review of The Shock Doctrine: Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one. There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect […]

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The Shock Doctrine

Yesterday, I picked up Naomi Klein’s new book, The Shock Doctrine. It is something I’d been hearing about for some time, as I work with her brother, and Naomi gave a teaser with the keynote at our annual fundraising dinner this past February (video here). I’ll leave the summary to what is on the website, and point only to an […]

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Competitiveness vs. Comparative Advantage

This post is in response to the following excellent comment from Stephen Moore, the man who will trounce Ralph Goodale in the next federal election (or at least do better than I did): April 2007 testimony before the parliamentary committee on International Trade saw Industry Canada, DFAIT reps and others stress the importance of the SPP (Security & Prosperity Partnership) […]

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Income Trusts and Economic Nationalism

Andrew Coyne makes several good points in today’s column on the economic-nationalist case for income trusts. He is skeptical, but for different reasons than the other Andrew and I. Like most of Coyne’s economic commentary, this column displays what I would characterize as excessive faith in the efficiency of free markets. Interestingly, he does not mention that Dion and May […]

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Thoma: Markets are not magic

After posting a 1959 video interview of Ayn Rand, Mark Thoma rants about the common problems of “free markets”: Markets Are Not Magic … To listen to some commentators is to believe that markets are the solution to all of our problems. Health care not working? Bring in the private sector. Need to rebuild a war-torn country? Send in the […]

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Stiglitz on Galbraith and Friedman

A nice summary of the legacies of Galbraith and Friedman, with a strong plug for Galbraith and what the economics profession lacks due to his death. I should note that the Progressive Economics Forum will be creating a John Kenneth Galbraith Prize at this year’s Canadian Economics Association meetings. Jamie Galbraith has given his backing and will be in Halifax […]

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Greider and Palley bury Friedman

Thomas Palley and William Greider add two (more critical) obituaries for Milton Friedman. Both make the distinction between Friedman as a professional economist and as a public intellectual: Milton Friedman: The Great Conservative Partisan Milton Friedman died on November 16, 2006 at the age of 94. Without doubt, Friedman was one of the most influential (perhaps the most influential) economists […]

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Markets, fairness and bastards

Some fascinating stuff on Economist’s View today. Below are two reposted articles on how notions of equity are deeply rooted in our brains. We may be smarter monkeys but the parallels are all too clear. Also check out this post on neoclassical indoctrination at the Chicago School. Thoma’s condensed version is here and the full pdf from In These Times […]

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Hayek’s role for the state

A fascinating defense of Hayek, in response to Sach’s column (posted here the other day). According to Tim Duy, Hayek was more reasonable than we give him credit for being (thanks to Economist’s View for this one): In Defense of Hayek, by Tim Duy: I feel a need to at least quickly defend Hayek against Jeffery Sachs attacks. Sachs leaves […]

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The Beauty of the Free Market in Action

by Jim Stanford We all know that private companies are efficient, because they are forced to be by the discipline of the free market. Companies which do not operate efficiently will be driven out of business by those that do. This creative destruction will leave us all better off (abstracting from adjustment costs): higher productivity, cheaper, higher quality products and […]

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The Economics of Wal-Mart

I’ve often wondered why Wal-Mart is so singled out for attack. True, Wal-Mart is anti-union with a vengence. And Wal-Mart sources products from countries, China mostly, that do not necessarily have the best interests of workers top of mind. But say these two problems could be rectified with a sweep of the magic wand: would we still be opposed to […]

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Adam Smith the anti-poverty activist

Princeton economist Alan Kreuger provides another take on the “Adam Smith did not wear the Adam Smith necktie” theme, from a 2001 New York Times column, that reviews “Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment” (Harvard University Press) by Emma Rothschild, director of the Center for History and Economics at King’s College, Cambridge: Emma Rothschild … argues that Smith […]

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Adam Smith the moralist

A new book on Adam Smith by James Buchan deepens the case that he did not wear an Adam Smith necktie. Commented on by Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn: Most people these days regard Smith as the founder of free- market economics. He’s the hero of the get-the-government-off- our-backs crowd. He’s the pin-up boy of the flat-taxers and the business-knows-best crew. […]

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