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Archive for 'IMF'

The IMF and Progressive Economics in Canada

It is interesting to note that the most recent IMF staff report on Canadian economic issues echoes some key concerns of progressive economists. I have reported these for the Broadbent Institute. As noted in this summary, the IMF report that corporate Canada’s cash hoard is the biggest in the G7 and has been mainly amassed […]

Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

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.

The Austerity Trap

Below is a recent editorial from the New York Times that does an excellent job of summarizing the failures of austerity policies. The NYTimes also published a very good analysis of how austerity measures have actually increased debt loads in many countries, instead of reducing them:  “Despite Push for Austerity, European Debt has Soared” I made […]

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 […]

Fiscal Austerity and Growth

This may come as a bit of a shock to Andrew Coyne and Jim Flaherty, but even the IMF are warning in their most recent fiscal policy update that  austerity in the advanced economies is going too far, and will dampen growth. Indeed, they even suggest that too much austerity may spook the dreaded bond […]

The IMF and Austerity

Today’s IMF economic update further downgrades growth projections, including here in Canada where growth in 2012 is forecast to be just 1.7%, down from the IMF’s September forecast of 1.9%.  That is well below the just released Bank of Canada forecast of 2.0%, and clearly implies rising unemployment. On fiscal policy they say: Countries should […]

Recovery Demands Increase in Labour’s Share

The just-released 2011 ILO World of Work Report is a must read for progressive economists. Released on the eve of the G-20 meetings, the report underlines the gravity of the current global employment situation and warns of the need to put job creation first if we are to avoid a very extended period of high […]

IMF Hints at Need for Less Fiscal Austerity and a Plan B for Canada

Albeit in a highly nuanced way, the IMF has called on the G-20  to temper short-term fiscal austerity now that the global economy “has entered a dangerous phase.” In their submission to the October 14-15 meetings of G-20 finance ministers, the IMF call for medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to “create more policy space for near-term […]

Global Imbalances

The IMF World Economic Outlook notes that the desired process of rebalancing global demand from countries with large trade deficits (notably the US) to countries with large trade surpluses (notably China) is not going very well. Relatedly, it points out just how difficult it is for increased demand in developing economies to offset stagnant or […]

Gloom and Doom from the IMF

Further to my earlier post on Recession Ahead?, the IMF have today sharply revised down their forecasts of Canadian growth – from 2.9% to 2.1% in 2001, and from 2.6% to 1.9% in 2o12. The downward revisions for Canada compared to June, 2011 are just about the largest for the advanced economies, second only to […]

Inequality is bad for business

In August Canadian Business magazine published my article on why inequality is bad for business.  It is produced in full below. Last week the International Monetary Fund, not known for left-leaning views, released a series of articles entitled “Why Inequality Throws Us Off Balance”. One of the papers is by Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry […]

The Myth of Expansionary Austerity

As the US and Europe turn from stimulus to fiscal austerity, claims are heard that spending cuts actually stimulate economic growth. That is the argument heard, not just from the Republicans in the US Congress, but also from the Obama Administration who have pretty much stopped listening to even mainstream macro-economists. And it is the argument […]

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 […]

Inequality Hazardous to Growth – IMF study

It is now well-known that income inequality is hazardous to human health and a host of other social outcomes, as demonstrated by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book  The Spirit Level and Equality Trust organization (some great resources and slides there, too).  Now a new study by the International Monetary Fund has found that higher rates of income inequality are […]

Financial Transactions aka “Robin Hood” tax campaign

This morning Oxfam launched their “Robin Hood”  (financial transactions) tax campaign in Canada with a press conference in Ottawa and the launch of their website.   Together with Oxfam officials, I spoke in favour of the tax from an economics perspective and Dale Marshall from the David Suzuki Foundation talked about how revenue raised from it […]

Transactions tax on the front page

I was surprised to see the IMF highlighting the potential virtues of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) on the front page of its website.  The Bloomberg news service earlier had a good story about on the background of this idea, tracing it back to Keynes.   This is a proposal that progressive economists and unions have advocated for […]

IMF Says Stay the Course on Stimulus

A press release released at the end of an IMF staff visit to Canada says “it will be essential to maintain a highly accommodative macroeconomic policy stance as intended until the economic recovery is firmly established, in light of risks on the horizon. These risks include weaker-than-expected global growth and a further strengthening of the […]

The IMF is up to its old tricks

The IMF’s reputation took a real beating during the Asian financial crisis more than a decade ago. During a financial panic, it decided to impose contractionary monetary and fiscal policies on countries that came to it needing funds in the short-term. I won’t get into the details but Stiglitz’s Globalization and its Discontents and Krugman’s […]

Gloom and Doom, the IMF and the G20

I happened to listen to the end of week media pundits on CBC Newsworld and CBC Radio late Friday afternoon. Most – especially Don Martin and Joan Bryden on Newsworld – seemed perplexed as to why former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge might have chosen to be distinctly more gloomy abour our economic prospects […]

Spinning the IMF report on Canada

The IMF released the results of its Article IV consultation with Canada, giving us an outsider’s take on how well we are handling the global economic crisis. But it is hard to know what to take away if left to the mainstream press, when the business page headline in the Globe and Mail is “IMF […]