Dion-omics Redux

I would like to initiate some discussion about Stephane Dion. I do not see much reason for optimism about his economic policies, but am interested in reading alternative views. After observing that many progressive Canadians seem supportive of Dion, Murray Dobbin convincingly argues that a Liberal majority government would not be more progressive than the current government. However, even Dobbin […]

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Stiglitz on Galbraith and Friedman

A nice summary of the legacies of Galbraith and Friedman, with a strong plug for Galbraith and what the economics profession lacks due to his death. I should note that the Progressive Economics Forum will be creating a John Kenneth Galbraith Prize at this year’s Canadian Economics Association meetings. Jamie Galbraith has given his backing and will be in Halifax […]

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Taxes and outcomes:Nordic vs Anglo-American

The CCPA released today a study by Osgoode Hall tax professor Neil Brooks and York’s Thaddeus Hwong called The Social Benefits and Economic Costs of Taxation: A Comparison of High and Low-tax Countries. The study compares 50 indicators of social and economic performance. The full study is available here and a condensed summary follows: Tax levels in Canada have always […]

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Greider and Palley bury Friedman

Thomas Palley and William Greider add two (more critical) obituaries for Milton Friedman. Both make the distinction between Friedman as a professional economist and as a public intellectual: Milton Friedman: The Great Conservative Partisan Milton Friedman died on November 16, 2006 at the age of 94. Without doubt, Friedman was one of the most influential (perhaps the most influential) economists […]

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Jeffrey Sachs’ Conversion?

Whaddya make of Jeffrey Sachs these days? He was the guy, was he not, who brought free-market shock therapy to Russia and Eastern Europe. But today he is out there championing the virtues of the welfare state. Here’s a recent missive from no less than Scientific American (Oct 16 2006 edition). It sounds just like what me and Marc Lee […]

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Hayek’s role for the state

A fascinating defense of Hayek, in response to Sach’s column (posted here the other day). According to Tim Duy, Hayek was more reasonable than we give him credit for being (thanks to Economist’s View for this one): In Defense of Hayek, by Tim Duy: I feel a need to at least quickly defend Hayek against Jeffery Sachs attacks. Sachs leaves […]

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Business Divided on Industrial Policy?

Challenges Facing the Canadian Manufacturing Sector – Interim Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/cmte/CommitteePublication.aspx?COM=10476&Lang=1&SourceId=149639 This short report briefly analyzes some of the dynamics behind the manufacturing crisis, and summarizes policy recommendations presented to date (mainly by business associations.) It reveals some interesting tensions within the “business community.” The key factors behind the […]

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The US Inequality Debate

Brad DeLong makes the definitive summary of the positions and evidence being put forward about inequality in the US of A. This is the blog-o-sphere at its best: real-time expert debate, in this case among top American economists – and in full public view, contributions welcomed, rather than in a classroom at an academic conference, much less a dated collection […]

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Luck, ability and income tax policy

A old NY Times column by economist Hal Varian, recussitated by Brad DeLong: … Those who argue for a more progressive income tax emphasize equity: a tax dollar paid by a rich person causes less pain than a tax dollar paid by a poor person. Those who argue for a less progressive system emphasize efficiency: the most productive people should […]

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The Distorted Priorities of Mainstream Economics

Writing in the Toronto Star (link lost), economists Arthur Donner and Doug Peters reflect on economics, employment and inequality: The Distorted Priorities of Mainstream Economics Arthur Donner and Douglas Peters, May 2006 There has been a monumental shift in mainstream economics over the past forty years. When we studied economics in the 1960s, economists and public officials who had an […]

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Sachs sings the praises of Scandinavia

If you listen to the Fraser Institute or like-minded think-tanks on the right, high taxes kill incentives to work and invest. They argue that Canada needs to lower its taxes in order to produce higher rates of economic growth. By their logic, the Scandinavian countries, all of whom have levels of taxes relative to GDP substantially higher than Canada’s, ought […]

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Adam Smith the moralist

A new book on Adam Smith by James Buchan deepens the case that he did not wear an Adam Smith necktie. Commented on by Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn: Most people these days regard Smith as the founder of free- market economics. He’s the hero of the get-the-government-off- our-backs crowd. He’s the pin-up boy of the flat-taxers and the business-knows-best crew. […]

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