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? […]

Read more

Access Copyright

I have an opinion piece out on Access Copyright, English Canada’s longtime copyright middleman. I argue that Access Copyright is a bit like the Blockbuster Video of Canadian university libraries—once indispensable, and now almost obsolete (largely due the Internet). Within a year from now, it’s possible that no Canadian university will still have day-to-day dealings with the organization. The piece provides […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

Read more

PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last March, Keith Dunne and I wrote an opinion piece on Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among other things, we pointed out that average undergraduate tuition fees (for domestic students) in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624/yr., compared with $5,138 for Canada as a whole and $6,307 in Ontario. With a provincial election slated to take place in Newfoundland and Labrador on […]

Read more

Wageless recovery and the politics of austerity

The UNTCAD just published its annual report on Trade and Development, titled Post-crisis Policy Challenges in the World Economy. The report describes a two speed global recovery, showing how developing economies have come out of the crisis stronger then their developed European and American counterparts. There the author invokes the contradictory forces at work in a “wageless” recovery, where wage […]

Read more

Is Social Assistance a “Poverty Pariah?”

An article in the current edition of NOW Magazine looks at social assistance in Ontario. The article is aptly entitled “Poverty Pariah,” in light of how apparently unpopular Ontario’s welfare system has become over the past 20 years. As can be seen at the National Council of Welfare’s Interactive Welfare Incomes Map, a single adult on welfare in Ontario receives […]

Read more

Global University Rankings

The European University Association (EUA) recently released a report they’d commissioned entitled Global University Rankings and Their Impact. The report was written by Andrejs Rauhvargers. According to the EAU, one of their major motivations in commissioning the report was that their member universities are “often under pressure to appear in the rankings, or to improve their position in one way or another.” Some […]

Read more

Is Canada’s Economy Wage-Led?

The parenthetical reference to Canada in my last post prompted several good comments. This post attempts to summarize and address them. Dr. Stockhammer has co-authored a paper with estimates for Canada, but he would be the first to note that they are mechanical and not necessarily relevant to policy. He finds that Canada’s domestic economy is wage-led, with a higher […]

Read more

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 promoting collective bargaining, raising minimum […]

Read more

The future of monetary policy

The following is the press release of a new initiative to examine the future of monetary policy, based on the core sentiment that growth is not enough. “Dynamic, stable and sustainable” is the goal, for the economy… and monetary policy. Full employment is featured as a key – and largely ignored – objective of central banks. Joseph Stiglitz Leads Progressive […]

Read more

Can cooperatives humanize our economy?

Book Review of Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital, by John Restakis, New Society Publishers, 2010. The economy is about business, right? Sure, we have a dynamic mixed economy, and most people support decent social programs and government intervention to protect the environment or to improve living conditions for the poorest. In fact, the countries who have […]

Read more

NDP’s “Balanced Budget” Platform

Jack Layton unveiled the NDP’s policy platform today.  Among other things, it promises to eliminate the deficit (i.e. balance the federal budget) within four years.  I’m not sure it should. Several years back, I had the opportunity to take a directed reading course from John Smithin.  In addition to being a long-time member of the Progressive Economics Forum, John is […]

Read more

Laying pipe in Canada

It has been fascinating to watch the growing public reaction to the full-court press from Canada’s Big Pipe companies (aka, the telcos and cablecos) for usage-based billing (internet metering). The CRTC has played a corporatist role that has largely been compliant with the demands of industry. Even in the midst of the turning political tide, the CRTC seems more interested […]

Read more

What’s Canada’s Carbon Debt?

Martin Khor, of the South Centre, has done an interesting analysis for the (doomed) Cancun negotiations on climate change. The talks have broken down on north-south lines, with southern countries wanting to keep the Kyoto framework that puts the onus on northern (advanced, industrialized) countries to reduce emissions and give carbon space to southern countries carbon to develop their economies. […]

Read more

Is Social Democracy Dying? – Part 2

I would venture there are three reasons why social democracy is pretty much kaput: 1) a flawed ideology 2) the power of capital and 3) a propensity for selling out and drifting to the right. 1) Flawed ideology Ever since people have exploited other people’s labour for their personal gain, it’s long been the dream of the slave, serf, peasant […]

Read more

Why Is The French Labour Movement So Powerful?

From time to time, I check out the The Real News Network.  I’ve just finished watching a video clip they’ve featured on labour protests in France over the government’s attempt to raise the “pension age” from 60 to 62.  The coverage includes a brief look at the impact of the blockades of French oil refineries. I’m struck by how powerful the French […]

Read more

What are the Game Changers?

For those involved in social change work, these days can be frustrating ones. Just as the neoliberal order of tax cuts, deregulation, resource extraction and free trade seems to be maxed out, like the Energizer bunny it keeps coming back. Meanwhile, progressive forces (academics, unions, NGOs and political parties) can give a good fight from time to time, but overall […]

Read more

Should We Reduce University Tuition?

On Thursday, the Globe and Mail’s post-secondary education blogger, Alex Usher, wrote this piece, in which he argues that any increased government assistance with the goal of increasing access to university ought to be targeted to low-income students (and not consist of an across-the-board tuition reduction).  I have three points to make in response to this.  First, while Mr. Usher […]

Read more

Reflections on The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, is an important book. It is not a huge tome, as one might expect from such a broad topic, weighing in at just 265 pages of text (including lots of figures mapping inequality against some health and social statistic, and some clever cartoons). […]

Read more

Marc’s Summer Reading

With summer comes a lightening of my work load, so I’ve finally found some time to dive into a few interesting books. These are all related to my ongoing research interests (I do have some fiction sitting around waiting for a real holiday, with Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna at the top of the pile): The Story of Stuff by Annie […]

Read more

How About Monetary Policy?

Today’s Toronto Star features an op-ed by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. (I once had the chance to hear John speak at a press conference in Toronto and found him to be an oustanding public speaker.  But I digress…) In the piece, he argues that “we” (I think he means both the Harper government and the […]

Read more

Now for some disaster relief on the homefront

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the public response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti. I’ve seen donations being collected through school bake sales, at the liquor store, and on Hockey Night in Canada, among the usual channels for such stuff. It’s nice to know that, collectively, we care, in spite of the neglect of Haiti by our elected governments […]

Read more

Every revolution is about power

So what does a sustainable economy really look like, and how do we get there? Climate change essentially means a huge mitigation effort on greenhouse gases culminating in something close to zero emissions by mid-century at the latest. This means phasing out fossil fuels entirely; or minimally, if it comes out of the ground emissions have to end up back […]

Read more

Farewell CPRN

I regret to see that the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) are closing down. This further narrows the scope and space for civil and rational public policy discourse in Canada, and is a not accidental by product of  cuts in federal government support for independent policy research combined with lack of business support for think tanks other than those of […]

Read more

The Benefits of Public Spending

A year and a half ago I published an updated study on tax incidence in Canada. It found that the Canadian tax system is progressive up to the middle of the income distribution, then flattens out before becoming regressive at the very top. (Interestingly, a short piece on the US tax system by Citizens for Tax Justice just came out […]

Read more
1 2 3 4