Reflections on the Social Democratic Tradition

The Broadbent Institute and Douglas-Coldwell Foundation have just published a paper of mine as part of a larger project on social democratic renewal, The paper is mainly retrospective, and touches on social democracy as an approach to economic policy. Comments are most welcome. The link is here: http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/reflections_on_the_social_democratic_tradition 1.0 Executive Summary: The purpose of this paper is to provide a […]

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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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The Novel Observations of Jean Tirole?

French economist Jean Tirole has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on industrial organization and regulation, in particular his insights into oligopolies.  “Who is Jean Tirole?,  many non-economists and some economists are asking today.  The MIT-educated, Toulouse-based professor is a key figure in the New Industrial Organization (IO) movement.  The movement, with its roots in the […]

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Mike McCracken: Winner of the 2012 Galbraith Prize in Economics

The Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) is proud to announce that Mike McCracken, Chair and CEO of Informetrica Ltd. in Ottawa, has won the 3rd biennial Galbraith Prize for a lifetime contribution to economics and social justice in Canada. Congratulations, Mike! Mike co-founded Informetrica in 1972, after working at the Economic Council of Canada, where he helped build the Council’s CANDIDE […]

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Can cooperatives humanize our economy?

Book Review of Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital, by John Restakis, New Society Publishers, 2010. The economy is about business, right? Sure, we have a dynamic mixed economy, and most people support decent social programs and government intervention to protect the environment or to improve living conditions for the poorest. In fact, the countries who have […]

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Remembering My Gordon

Prof.  Myron Gordon was an economist, a long-time member of faculty at the Rotman School of business at the U of T, and a founding member of the Progressive Economics Forum.  Sadly he passed away in Toronto on July 5 of this year. My Gordon was very influential with me, and I know with many other independent-minded economists in Canada.  In 1998 […]

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Risk, Uncertainty, and Black Swans

In 2009, in the midst of the financial and economic crises, Robert Skidelsky, the acclaimed three volume biographer of Keynes, added a fourth, Keynes: The Return of the Master. It is a radical and provocative assessment of economic theory since Keynes, insisting that at its core Keynes’ s Keynesianism was about uncertainty, about the irreducible uncertainty that cannot be cast […]

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Great Minds Think Alike

Serge Coulombe, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa, has a great op-ed in today’s Financial Post: The Fraser report looks at the change in the contribution of government expenditures to the GDP growth between the second and the third quarters, and the third and the fourth quarters, of 2009. This approach is problematic since it focuses on the […]

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How Markets Fail

If you want to be reminded of the myriad of ways in which markets fail, you will welcome the new and timely book by John Cassidy titled simply How Markets Fail. Cassidy is not only an economist but a rare one who can write. Indeed, he writes so well that he is a regular contributor to the writerly The New […]

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Do Economists Have a Country?

We do, but many of us, particularly of  the orthodox persuasion, do our best to hide it in our work. Where we live is “content” but the models we use, we insist, are universal. But that begs the question of where the models, which do not fall from the sky, come from. The answer is that they come from particular […]

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Paul A. Samuelson 1915-2009

Paul Samuelson was the greatest economic theorist of the 20th century. If we see Leon Walras, with his general equilibrium theory, as the Newton of economics – which I think Samuelson did – then Samuelson was its Einstein. In his Foundations of Economic Analysis in 1947, he laid out the fundamental mathematics that underlay the ideal market economy. For the […]

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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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The Future of Capitalism

Some weekend reading: Amartya Sen, that other voice of sanity among recent Nobel laureates in economics, draws lines between the current economic crisis and the history of economic thought (with an emphasis on Smith, Keynes and Pigou), and what that all means for a “new capitalism”. Then, over at the Financial Times, a whole series looks at the future of […]

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Fresh water and salt water macroeconomics

Angry Bear has an excellent synopsis of the state of macroeconomics, and its relationship to the central monetary and fiscal policy debates of today. The post plays on a division of US economists into right-wing “fresh water” economists (epitomized by Chicago) and left-wing “salt water” (Princeton, MIT, Berkeley) that is perhaps a bit simplified (for example the Post-Keynesians at U […]

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Cutting to Zero

The Bank of Canada should announce a target interest rate of 0% on Tuesday. This move would match the action taken by the US Federal Reserve a month ago. Recent experience suggests that the chartered banks would not pass along the entire cut. But such a dramatic announcement by the Bank of Canada would place strong pressure on the chartered banks to noticeably […]

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Confessions of a Newspaper Economist

Declan picks up on Stephen’s suggestion that economists were too diffident to raise concerns about the real estate bubble: How to square the group of economists in the front pages of the paper offering a series of right wing prescriptions supported by neither fact nor theory with the economist unwilling to point out a housing bubble because it doesn’t fit […]

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Life After the Economic Crisis

Much has been written on this blog about immediate responses to the crisis. We have analyzed proposed measures in depth and advocated for bold novel solutions. But it seems to me that we haven’t spent much time looking forward a little past the here and now. Last week, I was contacted by a Montreal-based journalist, Alex Roslin, who was looking […]

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The Affluent Society

Since Galbraith has appeared in two recent posts, a timely salvo came to me from Christopher Nowlin: I happen to think that Galbraith’s 1958 classic, The Affluent Society, speaks more loudly to today’s social, economic, political and environmental troubles in North America than it did to post WWII America’s.  I even gave a public talk to this effect in April of this […]

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Stock Markets vs. The Real Economy

In Saturday’s Globe and Mail, Brian Milner summarized Vitaliy Katsenelson’s historical analysis of American stock markets. He distinguishes “bull markets” from “range-bound markets”: . . . growth patterns may be similar. What separates the two are stock valuations, which soar to such unrealistic heights during raging bull periods that it takes years for them to come back down to normal […]

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Adam Smith did not wear an Adam Smith tie

A theme I’ve posted on many times before but perhaps worth repeating once again, thanks to this post: How Laissez Faire was Adam Smith?Greg Whiteside writes in The Condo Metropolis Blog (7 December) here: “ADAM SMITH MUST BE ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE RIGHT NOW” “Arguably the father of modern economics, Adam Smith was a proponent of a Laissez-Faire style […]

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PEF in The Globe and Mail

Several of us regularly provide media commentary through our jobs at the CCPA, CAW and CLC. Once in a while, reporters quote statements posted on this blog in that capacity. However, the Progressive Economics Forum itself rarely receives media coverage. The excerpts below are from page L4 of today’s Globe and Mail. This story drew upon my “Levitt’s Been Thunderstruck” post.   For […]

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