Metro Morning, Return Engagement

I was invited back to serve as guest economics columnist all last week on Metro Morning, CBC Radio’s drive-in flagship show in Toronto, to substitute for the vacationing effervescent libertarian Michael Hlinka.  I did this once a couple of years ago (blogged about it here), when Andy Barrie was still the host.  Now he’s retired and Matt Galloway is the morning man, and he’s awesome too: honestly conversational, knowledgable about just about everything, passionate about the city he lives in.

Apart from getting up at 530 am for a week (you can tell that while I may work for the CAW I was clearly never a factory worker!), I enjoyed the experience immensely.  The topics that I jointly selected with the show’s producers were:

Monday: How does labour arbitration work, what are the costs & benefits of settling disputes that way? (News hook: Air Canada and Canada Post arbitration cases coming up.)

Tuesday: Risk of Greek default heightens with S&P’s ultra-hard line that a roll-over is actually a default … but is that all bad anyway?  We looked at Argentina’s positive experience since its 2001 default.

Wednesday: Economic and fiscal logic for subsidizing “keystone” investments in high-tech industries, and what will happen if Tim Hudak wins and cancels (as promised) all business subsidies?  (News hook: Toyota makes $545 million investment in Ontario with provincial & federal help.)

Friday: Setting the stage for that day’s StatsCan labour force release (unemployment held steady at 7.4%, but with more jobs than I predicted on air!), with a special focus on youth unemployment.

I haven’t mentioned Thursday yet, which was the most interesting and surprising topic of all, I found.  That one was all Matt’s idea:  He saw a NYT story on the declining use of cash in the American economy, and wondered if we could do a Canadian take on the same story.  He has a great sense of what will interest the average listener (much better than mine, that’s for sure).  I tried to add in a heterodox policy spin, by tying in the ubiqutiousness of credit money to the endogeneity of the money supply, the hegemony of the private banks in managing that money supply, and the policy options that might help to regain some control over that crucial economic variable.  It came off well, and I got a lot of positive feedback for addressing such a complex theoretical and policy topic in layperson terms.  The Ontario-wide morning show, Ontario Morning, ran their own take on the whole issue Monday morning.  A good lesson for me in the importance of combining big-picture analysis, with a subject “hook” that can intrigue the ordinary, apolitical Joe and Jane.

One thing I’m really proud of: we didn’t mention the stock market once all week!

Here are links to my 5 segments for posterity’s sake:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Many thanks to the crew at Metro Morning for the opportunity to participate in their fine program once again.


  • Re the disappearing cash;
    I am of the opinion that it is the State that must provide currency. For many years, that was cash, those pieces of paper and metal disks that represented value. Now, currency it electronic, and if it’s currency, it should be provided by the state. There should be a way to make a digital transaction WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY FOR IT. you dont have to pay a cash transfer fee when you give someone a $20 bill. Many places won’t even accept cash. You have to exchange value electronically. I wonder if the NDP would be interested in picking up that one, a national money transfer system.

  • Outstanding job, Jim! You stayed true to your socialist roots, yet you chose your audience wisely. You were nuanced and careful with your words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *