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Archive for 'industrial policy'

Indigenous Workers in Canada

Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is less often included in most labour market analysis, and […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Jim Stanford

Winter is now officially upon us, and so it is time to conclude our autumn-long series of special commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development.” To wrap up the series, I would like to throw my own views into the brew.  I argue here that Watkins’ […]

The Entrepreneurial State

 In her important new book “The Entrepreneurial State” which got a rave review from Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, University of Sussex economist Mariana Mazzucato attacks the conventional view that the role of the state should be largely confined to promoting free markets, correcting market failures, and maintaining a low spending, pro free enterprise […]

Industrial Policy, Manufacturing Employment, and the Loonie

The Institute for Research on Public Policy has published a very interesting overview study on the resuscitation of “industrial policy” in economic policy circles.  It points out that industrial policy levers are used widely by countries around the world–despite hypothetical efforts (through trade deals and other institutions) to limit their application. 

Closing the Loop: Zero Waste, GHG Emissions and Green Jobs in BC

Below is the summary for our latest Climate Justice Project report, Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Creating Green Jobs through Zero Waste in BC (I recommend checking the much prettier full paper, stand-alone summary, and awesome infographic by Sam Bradd on the website). Closing the Loop was a complex and challenging project that made my head spin, […]

Canada: Land of Mines and Banks

Just in time for Canada Day, the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business issued its annual Top 1000 rankings of the thousand largest publicly traded companies (by assets) in Canada (ranked by profit).  I blogged about this last year as well.  It’s such an interesting snapshot of Canadian business it’s worth perusing. Once again, this listing […]

Clean electricity, conservation and a zero-carbon future

Today we released a new Climate Justice Project report, Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting our energy needs in a zero-carbon future, co-authored by John Calvert and myself. The report is central to the vision we have been developing of a zero-carbon BC, with a focus on the need to transition off […]

A Green Industrial Revolution

Today the CCPA released a new big picture report by myself and student researcher Amanda Card calling for a Green Industrial Revolution. The report builds on work done for the BC-focused Climate Justice Project, bringing to bear a national analysis of green and not-so-green jobs. We take a close look at GHG emissions and employment […]

Upstream Supply Chain as Sector Development Strategy

My column in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail suggested that Canada implement a “Buy Canadian” strategy associated with major natural resource developments, with the goal of enhancing Canadian content in the overall value chain.  Can we utilize our strong foothold in resource extraction, and try to leverage greater investment and value-added upstream in the value chain (for […]

Drummond’s Productivity “Puzzle.”

Don Drummond confesses that he has been wrong to believe that changes in public policies – such as free trade, cuts to corporate taxes, low inflation, the  introduction of the GST, balanced budgets and reductions to inter provincial trade barriers (aka the neo liberal agenda) – are the key to improving Canada’s dismal productivity record. […]

Federal R&D Panel Report

In a week when business lobby groups are appearing before the House of Commons Committee on Finance and calling for more tax breaks, the federal R&D Panel appointed a year ago released a very good report saying Canada’s very generous system of R&D tax incentives haven’t been effective and what we need instead are more direct grants […]

How To Fund Innovation

Just over a year ago, I wrote an opinion piece about the federal government’s “innovation strategy” and its impact on the post-secondary education sector. In the piece, I argue that the strategy has resulted in significant funding increases for university R&D. But I also argue in the piece that the strategy creates winners and losers–i.e. a “world class” doctoral student […]

Use University Research to Increase Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing jobs have been declinining as a percentage of total jobs in most OECD countries for several decades, with Ontario being especially hard-hit as a jurisdiction. At the end of the Second World War, manufacturing jobs accounted for 26% of all Canadian jobs; by 2007, this figure had dropped to just 12%. And as I’ve […]

Another Indicator of Canada’s Deindustrialization

I recently came across a fascinating working paper from the good folks at the Levy Institute, which provides some new data on Canada’s rather subservient role in world commerce: “Product Complexity and Economic Development,” by Arnelyn Abdon, Marife Bacate, Jesus Felipe (corresponding author), and Ustav Kumar.

Climbing Down the Value Ladder

There’s a shockingly honest and accurate article about Canada’s deteriorating trade performance in today’s Globe and Mail by Barrie McKenna. It notes that Canada’s trade balance improved dramatically in November (almost completely closing October’s $1.5 billion).  However, it cited some Bay Street economists lamenting that this was for the “wrong reasons”: namely, a sharp slowdown […]

The Sell-Off of Corporate Canada

The announcement this week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not going to intervene in the sale of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan to the Australian conglomerate, BHP Billiton Ltd., speaks volumes about how Bay Street  and its servants in Ottawa are so willing and eager to sell off Canada’s corporate assets to foreign corporations. It’s […]

A hip hop version of the Keynes vs Hayek debate

Here’s a new take on bringing economic theory to the masses — a rap battle between Keynes and Hayek. What’s amazing about it is the amount of solid (if not plain nerdy) content this video packs into such a short time. It’s fun to watch for sure (very high production values), but you get that […]

Stanford vs Watson on Industrial Policy

Bill Watson might just be my very favourite right-wing economist.  (He might disagree with that moniker.  Or he might not.  He probably thinks he’s just being ”rational.”)  Prof at McGill, punchy commentator for the National Post, and always game for a fair debate (unlike most of his ilk who just try to ignore us in hopes […]

Stock options, the buyback boondoggle and the crisis of capitalism

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to eliminate the egregious stock option tax loophole, a column by Eric Reguly in this month’s Report on Business magazine highlights yet another.  This reason helps to explain why we had such a booming stock market up to 2008, but little growth in real investment and productivity. First […]

The Case Against Ticketmaster

Anti-trust lawyer David Balto, with the Center for American Progress, recently made the case against Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with LiveNation in testimony to the US Congress. The testimony also provides an excellent summary of Ticketmaster’s existing monopoly, some of which I excerpt below: Let’s be straightforward about one transparent fact: Ticketmaster is a monopolist and […]

Steelworkers and the Auto Bailout

As has been widely reported, Ron Bloom from my union’s Pittsburgh headquarters will serve on President Obama’s Task Force on Autos. One might ask why a Steelworker is involved in crafting the automotive bailout. There are at least three reasons. First, during his previous career as a financier, Bloom developed significant personal expertise on the […]

Ticket rage: a national solution

It is so nice to see the backlash against Ticketmaster’s monopolistic practices. Two class action suits have been filed in Canada over the past weeks, and south of the border anti-trust alarm bells are ringing due to Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with Live Nation. Tickets sales have become something close to a natural monopoly, and as […]

Canada’s Manufacturing Crisis in International Perspective

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released a comparison of manufacturing output, employment, productivity, and unit labour costs in 16 different industrialized countries.  Here’s the link: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/prod4.pdf This data confirms that Canada’s manufacturing industry is in the midst of a uniquely terrible crisis.  Some commentators have suggested that the sharp decline in Canadian […]

Ottawa’s Automotive Tax Grab

Even Jim Flaherty’s “We Don’t Pick Winners” Conservatives were under pressure in this budget to do something for the auto industry.  The fact that at least a dozen swing ridings in southwestern Ontario could determine the outcome of the next election might have something to do with their sensitivity to the continuing industrial destruction being […]

The Pitfalls of the “Service Economy”

In working on the CAW’s recent submission to the Red Wilson panel, I did a bit of work to debunk the common argument that the growth of the “services economy” can somehow offset the damage that is occurring these days to our manufacturing sector and other tradeable industries. Here is the link to our full […]

Structural Regression, the Energy Boom, and Deindustrialization

I want to encourage folks to look through the CAW’s detailed submission to the federal government’s panel on competition policy (headed by Red Wilson).  Here is the link: http://www.caw.ca/whoweare/CAWpoliciesandstatements/pdfs/CompetitionInvestmentPanel.pdf I think it’s a major statement about the structural transformation occurring in Canada’s economy as a result of the global commodity boom.  Basic summary: high global […]

Manufacturers Call for “Buy Canadian” Policies

Neo liberal orthodoxy is crumbling in the wake of the ever-deepening manufacturing crisis. Witness yesterday’s call from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association for domestic procurement policies linked to major public investments in infrastructure and transit projects – long advocated by labour and derided by mainstream types as a return to dreaded “industrial policies.” As […]

The Commodity Price-Exchange Rate Transmission Mechanism

Well, it happened. The petro-fueled loonie broke parity with the greenback yesterday, and is headed higher still. I can’t believe that so many people still interpret this as a symbol of our national renaissance.  In fact, the reverse is true.  The dollar’s flight both reflects, and simultaneously reinforces (in fine Kaldorian fashion) our regression into […]

Exchange Rate Appreciation and Manufacturing Investment

An interesting article just published by my friend Robert Blecker (American University) reinforces our concerns regarding the long-run impact of the loonie’s recent appreciation on the size and competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing industry. Here’s the formal citation & abstract: The Economic Consequences of Dollar Appreciation for US Manufacturing Investment: A Time-Series Analysis Author: Robert A. […]

Alberta Distortions

I am big on big investment spending.  I’ve argued for years that weak business investment undermines our job creation, our productivity, our incomes, and our competitiveness.  I’ve proposed lots of policy measures to stimulate more investment spending: public as well as private. But what’s happening in northern Alberta is enough to nauseate even a Soviet-esque […]