Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, and erodes trust that a […]

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Niall Ferguson’s Latest Idiocy

As I discussed in an earlier post, Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian and author of numerous bad books about economics, is prone to writing and saying completely ignorant things, making one wonder about the intellectual heft of so-called academic “stars” who populate our institutions of higher learning. The latest bit of idiocy uttered by Ferguson was heard last week when […]

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Margaret Thatcher’s Economic Legacy

Here is my take from today’s Economy Lab in the Globe. To expand a bit on alternatives, my take is that the neo liberal turn at the end of the 1970s was one possible response to the stagflation crisis, which found mainstream Keynesian economics wanting. Left Keynesians such as Kalecki had long recognized that full employment capitalism with strong unions […]

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Dead Money

Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.) It’s not the first time he’s raised this  concern.  Last year at the Empire […]

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US family net worth crushed by financial crisis

The US Federal Reserve today released its triennial examination of incomes and net worth of American households in the Survey of Consumer Finances.  It shows the crushing effects on net worth of a housing and financial bust unparalleled since the great depression. The shocking results of this study overviewed in the New York Times are that ALL  real net wealth […]

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Complete details of 2008-09 Bank Support

Readers of this blog will have hopefully read my report “The big banks big secret” which examines the $114 billion that Canada’s banks received during the 2008-09 financial crisis.  Its major finding was that at some point three of Canada’s five big banks had received support worth more than their market capitalization, or the value of all the stock, at around $20-25 […]

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Krugman: End This Depression Now!

I am an enthusiastic reader of Krugman’s columns and, especially, his economic blog. And I certainly side strongly with him in the intellectual and political struggle against “the Austerians” and “Very Serious People” who are unnecessarily prolonging the Great Recession in America and in Europe. That said, Krugman’s latest book “End This Recession Now” (Norton, New York, 2012) is not […]

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From Financial Crisis to Stagnation

I am enjoying Tom Palley’s new book – and would post an enthusiastic review except for the fact that I have been unable to find the time to finish it. Certainly a very clear-headed take on the fundamental economic – and political – transformations that will have to take place if we are to escape global stagnation, or even worse. […]

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Travels in Harperland

On my recent book tour to promote “Thieves of Bay Street” I have journeyed to Alberta, Montreal and Ottawa. In so doing, I have gotten a taste of the Canada which Stephen Harper and his merry band of Tories are trying to forge. In Calgary, I arrived in time for the final weekend of the Alberta provincial election. The Wildrose Party […]

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The Big Banks’ Big Secret

The CCPA today released my report: “The Big Banks Big Secret” which provides the first public estimates of the emergency funds taken by Canadian banks.  The report bases its estimates on publicly available data from CMHC, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, as well as quarterly reports from the banks themselves. […]

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Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively child poverty, and at full […]

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Apocalypse Soon?

The OECD’s new assessment of the macro-economic situation makes for pretty grim reading. And their forecast of very sluggish global growth (just 1.6% for the OECD area in 2012) is based on an increasingly incredible view that the Eurozone will “muddle through”and experience only a mild recession. They do not seem to have convinced even themselves that this is really […]

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Towards a Wage-Led Recovery

A new issue of the International Journal of Labour Research has been published “While a lot of attention has been deservedly given to the financial roots of the current economic crisis, the role of wages as a cause to the crisis as well as a solution to the current economic predicament have yet to be fully understood. To help fill […]

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Occupying the Lange and O’Leary Exchange

Starting today I will be on a regular weekly biz panel for the Lang and O’Leary show, every Thursday night. The panel will take on two six minute segments to discuss the big economic stories of the day. Today’s proposed topics – the Eurozone mess, whither Canada’s GDP, is Occupy a media invention/will it hold without media attention, upcoming job […]

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Occupation, democracy and coops

I hung out a while yesterday at the Vancouver Occupation, and was impressed with their efforts at radical democracy. Many in the mainstream press have been quick to pile on for how time-consuming decision-making can be under this model, but perhaps they have not spent enough time in legislatures and committee meetings and public consultations. Democracy takes time, so what? […]

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Occupy Wall Street

In search of some background on the  “Occupy Wall Street” movement, I recently caught up with Rick Wolff.  He is a progressive economist and rising alternative  media celeb in NYC  (you can hear  his entertaining weekly radio discussion of economic news at http://rdwolff.com/).  He (with others like Stiglitz) among other spoke to the Occupy Wall Street teach-in on Tuesday.  Below […]

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Money Runners for Marx

On Bloomberg today is a piece by George Magnus, senior economic advisor at UBS, on the relevance of Marxian ideas. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/give-marx-a-chance-to-save-the-world-economy-commentary-by-george-magnus.html Policy makers struggling to understand the barrage of financial panics, protests and other ills afflicting the world would do well to study the works of a long-dead economist: Karl Marx. The sooner they recognize we’re facing a once-in-a-lifetime crisis […]

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MMT: What it Means for Canada

Arun Dubois’ blog post yesterday on Modern Monetary Theory has prompted me to write my own take on the subject.  For those interested, an interesting thumbnail sketch of MMT, essentially functional finance augmented by a full understanding of monetary operations, is explained here. While MMT deals with the details of monetary and fiscal matters, the implications of its analysis are […]

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Japanizing the World Economy

This guest post is from PEF members Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia, both of whom are full professors of economics at the University of Ottawa. The “Japanization” of the World Economy Over the last twenty years, the Japanese economy underwent a long period of economic stagnation that some economists have characterized as a protracted “balance-sheet recession”. The period has been […]

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The New Phase of the Crisis

The Great Recession was followed by an anaemic recovery in the advanced economies, which threatens to be followed by a double dip or worse now that the  fiscal stimulus measures of 2009 and 2010 have been succeeded by austerity programs. Now we face a new financial crisis, or at least a stock market correction of major proportions, which may precipitate […]

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Arbitrate This!

Does anyone else find it odd that a free-market-worshipping government can happily leap into the fray to micro-manage a labour market outcome (deciding, for example, that postal workers must get 1.75%, not 1.9%, in the first year of their new contract), yet pleads powerlessness when it comes to interfering with market outcomes that are genuinely harming our economic trajectory? Here’s […]

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International Journal of Labour Research

The new issue of the International Journal of Labour Research (edited by Canada’s own Pierre la Liberte ) entitled “Crisis: Causes, Prospects and Alternatives” is now available. The issue takes a critical look at policies that led to the 2007-08 crisis and considers alternatives to orthodox policies both North and South. It features articles by Robert Wade, Eckhard Hein, and […]

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Best Books on the Economic Crisis

With the Summer reading season at hand, here is a short list – in no particular order – of  the best books I have read over the last couple of years on the roots and implications of the Great Recession – essential reading for all progressive economists. John Cassidy. How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities.  (Penguin, 2009.)  An […]

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Is Capitalism Terminally Ill?

Today (June 15th) the Toronto Star broke news that the NDP was planning to drop the term “socialism” from its party’s platform. This was a mere formality of what had been in existence for decades: the party hasn’t been “socialist” in any shape or form for a very long time. On the very same day, new data emerged from the […]

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