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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Macdonald studies Canada’s massive (and growing) wealth gap, and proposes some thoughtful solutions to ensure that growth in wealth results in at least some shared benefits: Attempting to limit inequality through traditional measures like restricting RRSP contributions or introducing new tax brackets for high income individuals generally won’t apply to substantial wealth holdings. The wealth generated by The Wealthy 86 was done through creating or trading assets, mostly companies, not through saving and investing money in the middle-class sense.

One the largest legal loopholes for the wealthy in Canada is that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Dean Starkman writes about the media’s failure to see and report on the culture of corruption and manipulation that led to the 2008 economic meltdown: Was the brewing crisis really such a secret? Was it all so complex as to be beyond the capacity of conventional journalism and, through it, the public to understand? Was it all so hidden? In fact, the answer to all those questions is “no.” The problem—distorted incentives corrupting the financial industry—was plain, but not to Wall Street executives, traders, rating agencies, analysts, quants, or other financial (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Chris Hall notes that Brad Butt’s admitted fabrications can only hurt the Cons’ already-lacking credibility when it comes to forcing through their unfair elections legislation. And Ed Broadbent sums up what’s at stake as the Cons try to rewrite the rules to prioritize their own hold on power over public participation and the fair administration of elections: Inspired by the tried and tested voter suppression tactics used by the Republicans to disenfranchise marginalized groups in the U.S., the new election law would make it harder for certain groups to vote. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Don Lenihan is the latest to highlight the difference between citizens and consumers – as well as why we should want to act as the former: In the old view, public debate is all about defining the public interest by establishing collective needs. This requires a very different view of public debate. Rather than seeing it as a chance to advance my wants, it asks me, as a citizen, to consider the needs of the community. This means I must listen to others, weigh their claims, examine the evidence, and make trade-offs and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On shortsighted assumptions

Time for a true or false pop quiz. Is the following a self-evident statement of economic fact? “A capital asset which is not currently being exploited has a value of zero for all purposes.”

I only ask because that seems to be the fundamental assumption behind Andrew Leach’s cost-benefit analysis comparing raw bitumen mining to upgrading. And unfortunately, Leach’s viewpoint seems to fit all too well with the current resource management philosophy of provincial and federal governments alike.

Here’s Leach’s conclusion as to a hypothetical set of developments – one involving an extraction project alone, one an attached upgrader: (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Don Braid comments on Alberta’s complete lack of credibility when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental issues. And Andrew Leach nicely sums up the PC/Con position in trying to put a happy face on growing emissions: Suppose you run into an old friend whom you haven’t seen for some time. You notice that he looks a little thicker than you remembered around the waist, but, since you aren’t one of those academics who shuns basic manners, you keep mum.

“How are you doing?” you say, “What’s new? (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Andrew Leach Lays Out The Odds

“We see Northern Gateway as the most vulnerable,” Samir Kayande, vice-president at ITG Investments, said during a panel discussion on the Financial Post website this week. “[TransCanada's Corp.'s] Energy East and TMX [Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Trans Mountain] are most likely [with TMX benefiting from having built the loop through Jasper before the opposition to pipelines really built],” said Andrew Leach, associate professor at the University of Alberta, who participated in the discussion.

“Both have [at least partial] existing rights-of-way and so are starting from a better place….

This sounds about right to me.  Note the modifier “at least (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how “we must increase stock prices!” – or worse yet, “we must increase company X’s stock prices!” – makes for a thoroughly regressive public policy goal.

For further reading…- The examples referenced in the column include Carol Goar’s column threatening a revolt over telecom share prices, and Andrew Leach’s piece about oil sands production costs (which at least acknowledges royalties as another concern beyond the hope that some profits might find their way into pension funds).- The wealth distribution data mentioned in the column is found in Armine Yalnizyan’s The Rise of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for a sunny Saturday.

- Paul Wells discusses the clash shaping up between the Cons and the NDP: Some 57 per cent of respondents said they’re dissatisfied with the Harper government, compared to 36 per cent who like it. Last month’s federal budget drew more unsatisfied reaction than satisfied, and respondents who associated themselves with “the left” outnumbered those sympathizing with “the right” everywhere except Ontario (where they tied) and the three Prairie provinces.

Those numbers don’t spell Conservative doom. They do suggest a non-Conservative alternative has a fighting chance. So too does another poll from Environics

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links