Kari Polanyi-Levitt’s New Book

The much respected progressive economist, and my long time friend and intellectual soulmade, Kari Polanyi Levitt, having just turned 90, has published a book of no less than 16 scholarly articles, all written in the past 25 years and mostly much more recently. Its title, From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization: On Karl Polanyi and Other Essays (published […]

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Remembering Lukin Robinson

I attended a lovely memorial service this week for Hugh Lukin Robinson, long-time labour economist and progressive activist in Ontario who passed away a few months ago at the ripe old age of 96.  The memorial service was organized by his family (including his son Michael) at the Park-Hyatt Hotel, and was attended by friends and colleagues from Lukin’s very […]

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Re-reading Hirschman

Since I was a graduate student in the last millennium, I’ve been fascinated by the role of the cotton textile industry in recent economic history, beginning with that momentous event still being heard around the world, the First Industrial Revolution. It just caught fire in Bengladesh. There are books about cotton as a staple – a relatively recent and a […]

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Who Benefits from M&A?

The Globe and Mail (Feb 28) reports that “in the past few years…Canada’s resource plays have attracted international attention, and Canada has punched above its weight in generating fees for bankers and lawyers. Deals last year such as the takeovers of Nexen Inc. and Progess Energy made Canada the second-biggest source of deal fees in the world.”

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Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

A version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. (This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.) President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in the U.S. It deserves to […]

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How Productivity Falls When Planes Takeoff and Land

Late in the last calender year, the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sent a letter to the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) advising it to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights. “They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more […]

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Why The Income Inequality Deniers Are Wrong

This article was published in an abridged form today in the National Post. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/21/armine-yalnizyan-sorry-andrew-coyne-but-income-inequality-is-a-real-problem/   I like this opening better so I posted it here. You couldn’t have made it through 2012 without running into a story about income inequality.  Chances are, it made you think about how you fit into the story.  That’s “entirely constructive”, as Bank of Canada Governor […]

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ONA Study on Macroeconomic Side-Effects of Austerity

The Ontario Nurses Association has been publishing some awesome economic analysis over the last couple of years, highlighting the talents of their new economist & PEF member Salimah Valiani.  Apart from a strong analytical & quantitative approach, ONA’s recent research has been very refreshing in the emphasis it has placed on gender analysis and the unique features of caring labour. […]

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Transparency for Unions and other “Little People”

I had a good old-fashioned knock-em-down drag-em-out debate with Ian Lee from Carleton University on CBC’s Power & Politics yesterday re C377. http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Politics/ID/2318279928/ There were a number of “zingers” from Prof. Lee that are worth considering: • He said “hundreds of thousands” of Ontarians have their salaries listed on the government’s sunshine list (reporting salaries of those who earn over […]

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Exchange Rates, the Price of Oil and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel

This is a guest post by Paul Tulloch, of LivingWork.ca and frequent commentator on this blog, reporting on some  significant and timely work he prepared for the northern gateway pipeline review panel, analyzing correlations betwen the price of oil and the Canadian dollar. Exchange Rates, the Price of Oil and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel Paul Tulloch There is a […]

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Hayek and Contemporary Neo Liberalism

In the spirit of “know thy enemy”, I  recently read Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. (Note to the anxious – I survived the experience, and remain a convinced left Keynesian democratic socialist.) Hayek is, of course, the totemic figure of neo liberalism who fought Keynes and Keynesian economics in the 1930s and is the intellectual figurehead of today’s “austerians”; the […]

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Canada’s Economic Problem is NOT High Wages

Bill Curry reports in today’s Globe that, at last year’s economic policy retreat, business leaders urged Finance Minister Flaherty to reduce the pay of “overpriced” Canadian workers, including through anti union right to work legislation. Coincidentally, or not, the subsequent 2012 federal Budget introduced new rules which will require most EI claimants to accept jobs at much lower wages, and […]

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Dutch disease revised

As we know, Dutch disease is about damage to industry from resource exports. As we witness the widespread drought this summer in North America and the damage to crops, Dutch disease needs to be redefined to also include the damage to agriculture. The Canadian West eats its own as it produces oil.

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Changing concepts of time

Occasionally we can still get a glimpse of the radical difference between modern and pre-modern concepts of time. A significant number of Marshall Islanders have migrated to the U.S. According to a recent story in the NY Times (july 4): “They puzzle over the American obsession with time…” The principal of an Arkansas school where 30% of the studenst are […]

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Why Can’t We Afford What We Used to Have?

In this age of  austerity, we are constantly told by governments that we have to tighten our belts. Tuition fees have to go up; public pensions, Unemployment Insurance and social assistance benefits have to be cut; universal public health care is no longer affordable, and so on ad nauseam. But, as my friend Peter Puxley recently reminded me,  it is […]

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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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Who’s a bigger drag on Canada’s future? The old or the young?

This is my latest column for Canadian Business magazine.  Giorgio, a hard-working, smart-as-a-whip University of Toronto student, asked me a great question after a recent guest lecture: What if the biggest challenge facing Canadian businesses and governments in the coming years isn’t an aging society but the economic and fiscal drag of hundreds of thousands of young people who can’t […]

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Globaloney

So recent is the word “globalization” that, if you consult the revised 1978 edition of The New Political Dictionary: The Definitive Guide to the New Language of Politics by the eminent neo-conservative writer William Safire, you will not find it. Instead you will find “Globaloney,” a term used in the early 1940s to riducule the progressive foreign policy proposals of […]

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Marc’s Conflict of Interest Disclosure

On January 5th, 2012, the American Economics Association adopted new guidelines for the disclosure of potential conflicts of interests by economists. Please find my disclosure information below (thanks to Andrew Leach for turning the AEA guidelines into a template, which I have used as the basis for my own). Employment: I have been employed with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives as […]

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Globalization, Literally Speaking

What is this thing called “globalization?” To be absolutely precise, it’s the word that took over discourse about the global economy and pretty much everything else for what seemed like an eternity but, in fact, labelled a phenomenon that lasted only for a single decade, that of the 1990s, from the end of the Cold War to 9/11. It’s the […]

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Families, Time and Well-Being

Inequality of well-being among families with children is increasing at an even faster rate than income inequality, according to a new study by Peter Burton and Shelley Phipps, “Families, Time, and Well-Being in Canada”. They find that total family working hours have increased for most families, but not for those at the top of the income spectrum who have been […]

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Are the 1% just lucky?

I expect some folks who oppose the Occupy movement will weigh in on merit – that the top 1% are deserving of their riches because they include people who pay a lot of wages and salaries for ordinary folk. That is, the story of hard-working, risk-taking entrepreneurs who should not be punished for being successful. I don’t really have any […]

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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 […]

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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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The Economics of Terroir

For the wine lovers among us progressive economists, which definitely includes me, this NBER paper offers up a, well, sobering argument. “We examine the value of terroir, which refers to the special characteristics of a place that impart unique qualities to the wine produced. We do this by conducting a hedonic analysis of vineyard sales in the Willamette Valley of […]

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