Harper’s Financial Advice

In Tuesday’s CBC interview, Harper told Canadians that “there are probably some great buying opportunities out there” and specifically pointed to “oil stocks.”

Since then, the Toronto Stock Exchange declined by 8% and its Energy Index fell by 14%.

S&P/TSX Composite Index
Tuesday’s Close = 9,829.55
Friday’s Close = 9,065.16

S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index
Tuesday’s Close = 234.16
Friday’s Close = 202.46


  • Harper was right then and is still right. It’s interesting that the people who seem to be most upset over the market are the people who had little or no money in the market. What in the stock market is just a standard correction.

  • in the interests of progressive economics, perhaps it would be useful to spend some time looking at some of the plans in the wings. UK’s Brown has put out a call for a ‘New Deal’, and Obama released his plan.

    Also, here’s UNEP’s ‘Green New Deal’, to be unveiled in London next week:

    The plan is funded by Germany, Norway, and the EC.
    Under the direction of Deutschbank’s Global Market Centre, certain industries are written off without mentioning fair transition programs for the workers to a new green economy.

    And hopefully there are some real publicly verifiable regs for the financial sector too…

  • Brown’s new deal: partial nationalization via non-voting equity shares, and a commitment not to dilute existing equity. It is a new deal alright. I am going back to sleep wake me up for neoliberalism mark iii.

  • don’t crash yet, Travis, we need your insightful critique, here’s Obama’s ‘middle class’ plan…


  • Ok I was little too hard on Brown. getting preferred shares at a 12% dividend and a suspension of dividend payments for a year was a nice symbolic touch.

    What amazes me is that between both sides of the Atlantic we are now somewhere passed the 3 trillion mark and the little nation of Iceland is bankrupt. And there is no-one out on the streets demanding a full socialization of the banking sector. It is going to be like when Thatcher smashed the coal workers and realized what a paper tiger the unions were. The fact that public has simply acquiesced to this bailout and gotten nothing in return except the promise that some of their money will be paid back will only embolden the neoliberals. They now have proof positive they can get away with anything.

  • Travis said:

    “And there is no-one out on the streets demanding a full socialization of the banking sector.”

    Sorry for being bleak but, among the shoals of bourgeois propaganda, gross ignorance (of even bourgeois economics much less socialist critiques of it), and the laughably tiny (and fairly divided) non-bourgeois Left in any country (which hasn’t already flushed their blood down the sewers), who would do this? And what would it get aside from a few laughs from ignoramuses and the powerful?

  • Travis, I asked for insightful. That means specific. Are you able to spell out what you mean by ‘socialization of the banking sector’, as opposed to the spectrum of options that are now circulating? I find it incredibly frustrating to continue to hear nostrums from some quarters and no details. Meanwhile, workers, the unemployed, women, pensioners, students, all of us facing a turn to heavy-duty militarism and surveillance, while watching species die-off, have serious work to do if we don’t want the agenda stolen again.
    thanks, Leigh

  • A socialization of the banking sector. As in public banking, run as a public utility. It could even be set up on as a for profit, arms length system where different public banks competed against each-other and where some of the profits were returned to the public sector to finance purely public good projects like infrastructure, RnD, Education, Health care, public housing and the like. Not so much different than how co-operative banking (credit unions) operate now. Think of a more progressive version of Desjardin or Van city.

  • And Todd, in the interest of clarification, and finding some common ground, I’ll share a story.

    I spent a fair bit of time in grad school at UofT in the mid-’80’s reading Latin American authors who reflected the fascinating intersection of the religious Marxist liberation movements. This while living with a grandfather born in 1900, who had grown up in a country where nationalism and socialism were not contradictory. He fought colonizers at age 16, was shot and survived, made his way to Czechoslovakia where he eventually studied cooperative economics. Upon graduation he was asked to join the faculty, but instead took an invite to do work at Princeton. This was fortunate as the entire faculty was wiped out the following year, the resisters shot and the remainder sent by cattle car to Siberia. The same ‘socialists’ also wiped out every vestige of real rural base communities, along with the residents, and replaced them with their own version of so-called ‘cooperative’ farms. Ah, contradictions.

    In the late ’80’s I worked with a wonderful man who also happened to be a Marxist economist, Dr. Bill Luttrell. He had been hired by an ecumenical economic justice coalition. The group worked with progressive academics and activists across the country, and in the global South, particularly the Hemispheric Social Alliance, in response to so-called ‘free trade’ and issues of finance.

    It was Bill, in a time when academics at UofT were perhaps more seriously curtailed, gave me a copy of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’. We also started a little project around Marilyn Waring’s ‘If Women Counted’, looking at alternatives. Unfortunately Waring’s work has been co-opted by the ‘natural capitalism’ crowd. And unfortunately Bill became a victim of the neo-con sweep post-FTA. In my mid-twenties, disgusted, I left the city to farm, and do activism from the ground.

    That was 20 years ago. There has been a lot of change since. I could be wrong, but what I believe we need now are specific options that will not label and categorize others into boxes, but which will allow people to blossom out over their walls, whatever those walls are named, and overcome those who would divide and conquer.


  • Todd, one would have thought in Europe the Unions might have seized on the crisis to make some demands; particularly the French trade unions given their strong ties with university students. And what that would have gained was some pressure to ensure that the bail out had more of a quid pro quo then we will lend you money today and you will pay us back with some interest when neoliberalism is fully cranking again.

    Now perhaps the crisis just unfolded so quickly that the left was just caught off guard like the rest of the economic and political community and therefore did not have time to react. But sometimes you have to get people out on the streets and figure out what exactly you want simultaneously. Thats how the bankers played this one.

    That all points to the gloomy side of this crisis, the organized left does not exist, has no program and best would amount to as you say a few people that “would…get…a few laughs from ignoramuses and the powerful?

    You capture adequately my despair.

    Leigh writes:

    “I could be wrong, but what I believe we need now are specific options that will not label and categorize others into boxes, but which will allow people to blossom out over their walls, whatever those walls are named, and overcome those who would divide and conquer.”

    But you have just created two boxes “those who overcome” and “those who repress through divide and conquer.” Could you please give a name/location in the social division of labor/location in the socio-economic hierarchy. IE., besides having some vague notion of the “we the suppressed and divided” and the “them suppressors and the dividers.”

    Without some theory of power and the processes that sustains such power who belongs in your categories is not self-evidently clear. There is for example a large chunk of the population that is convinced it is the academic, latte sipping progressives that are the suppressors. How do you propose to figure out who is really repressed and who is doing the repression? Many conservatives in this country are convinced that the any form of collective regulation is a form of repression. How could they ever form part of a collective political project on behalf of progressives?

  • Travis, I think there is a very small minority of extremely wealthy people who use their resources to manipulate populations.

    I do not think that this group is the equivalent of ‘conservatives’. In fact, ‘conservatives’ are manipulated as well. Certainly it is untrue to say that ‘conservatives’ as a category reject regulation.

  • The very small minority just voted and they are up 20 seats.

  • Travis, thanks by the way for your clarification of your options around banking, this kind of specific elaboration is useful, and helps readers determine what aspects they could connect with. Even if readers don’t agree, at least the ongoing dialogue then becomes based on actual examination of options, rather than emotional reactions to words.

    On the parameters; there is an intersection of the Venn diagrams of ‘minority wealth’ and ‘conservatism’, as well as ‘liberalism’, and many other names.

    Those Venn diagrams float, shift, and regroup, at different times and in different places, depending upon many factors.

    Our challenge is to de-spin the narratives that allow the circle of ‘minority wealth’ to become the pivot, the central intersecting space of control. We would prefer to have that central space an intersection of diversity, equity, thriving ecological health, Life. A blog comment is too small a space to elaborate all that needs to be done, and we have our work cut out for us, that’s for sure.

    Following up on your comment, it’s important to be clear that PC voters in rural areas have been manipulated through a series of campaigns implemented over recent years. Farmers are a case in point, their triggers pulled on every aspect of their lifestyle, and the blame for farmers’ problems put on urban dwellers. There is a huge dialogue that needs to happen, and I can tell you that my cry around choice of language is just one area.

    If progressive folks aren’t willing to take even that step, then we can probably be sure we will continue to see solidification and expansion of the current scenario.

    It would help if socialists came clean publicly on the failures of the historical structures set up in their name. This is a step of owning responsibility, if socialists are going to insist on using that same vocabulary. This should be self-evident.

    Now, I need to reshift again, existing commitments have demands, and I won’t be able to follow up in a timely fashion on this blog, but will keep in touch.

    thanks again for all the great input everyone,
    and best wishes,

  • Interesting story, Leigh, but one flower doth not a spring (revolution) make. !{)>

    Leigh said:

    “I do not think that this group is the equivalent of ‘conservatives’. In fact, ‘conservatives’ are manipulated as well. Certainly it is untrue to say that ‘conservatives’ as a category reject regulation.”

    _Certain_ conservatives are manipulated, those who have no actual stake in what the “manipulators” do beyond the ideological.

    And I’m afraid the conservatives as a group do reject regulation. Except when another _certain_ group of conservatives decide they really do need it.

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