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Parchment in the Fire: Wage Development in the European Union

Wage Development in the European Union

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Europe, Eurozone Crisis, inequality, Labour

Parchment in the Fire: Thousands in Paris and Rome protest austerity measures

Thousands in Paris and Rome protest austerity measures

Anti-austerity protests took over parts of Paris and Rome on Saturday, with one demonstration in Rome spurring violence when protesters threw rocks, eggs and firecrackers at police, with at least one person injured.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Protest

The Progressive Economics Forum: Neoliberalism in Canada: 3 moments, 3 indicators

The current edition of Canadian Dimension magazine has a fascinating series of articles on episodes of economic transition around the world (more of them bad than good in recent times, of course). It’s a very thoughtful & informative collection, and I highly recommend it (and every progressive economist should subscribe to CD, by the way).

I wrote the article on Canada, reviewing the history of how neoliberalism was implemented here, and discussing some of its unique Canadian features (especially, of course, the unique role of resource extraction in Canada’s neoliberal economy). Here is the link to the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: 10 Things to Know About the At Home/Chez Soi Study

On Tuesday, April 8, results of the Mental Health Commission of Canada‘s At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study will be released at an Ottawa press conference. The study followed more than 2,000 participants in five Canadian cities. All were homeless when the study began. Half of them received the Housing First intervention, and half of them did not. Data was collected from 2009 until 2013.

Here are 10 things you should know about this study.

1. It is one of the most ambitious randomized controlled trials in Canadian history.

2. Its $110 million budget was funded entirely by (Read more…)

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…)

Melissa Fong: PHS Social enterprises are ESSENTIAL to poverty elimination in DTES

… social enterprises by PHS provide job/skills/alternative livelihoods to those in a tangle with poverty/addiction/unrealized-skills. These social economy opportunities can’t be taken away from people who face job discrimination in almost any other employment situation. ….

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Edward Robinson laments the willingness of European centre-left parties to abandon any attempt to argue against austerity even when the evidence shows that’s the right position to take: Centre-left parties in Europe appear to have completely lost the argument for pragmatic fiscal policy, much in the way that US Democrats seemed to lose their own case precisely at the moment when stimulus was working. Consider again how little financial commitment it would have taken to have shored-up confidence in Greek sovereign debt via Eurobonds. Greek debt in 2010 represented only 3.6% (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Ontario is no California when it comes to debt

The Toronto Star just published an article I wrote in response to claims made by the Fraser Institute and the Toronto Sun that Ontario has a runaway debt problem worse than California’s.

The short version: I call BS. The slightly longer version: California has constraints, such as limits on the size of debt and difficulties in raising new taxes, that have severely hampered its ability to take on and manage debt. It has a smaller debt than Ontario on all measures but much worse credit standing. Ontario, on the other hand, still has a lot of flexibility to deal with (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Britain’s five richest families worth more than poorest 20% | Business | The Guardian

Britain’s five richest families worth more than poorest 20% | Business | The Guardian.

The scale of Britain’s growing inequality is revealed by a report from a leading charity showing that the country’s five richest families now own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population.

Oxfam urged the chancellor George Osborne to use Wednesday’s budget to make a fresh assault on tax avoidance and introduce a living wage in a report highlighting how a handful of the super-rich, headed by the Duke of Westminster, have more money and financial assets than 12.6 million Britons put together.

The development (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Spain’s poor affected the most among OECD nations in financial downturn | World news |

Spain’s poor affected the most among OECD nations in financial downturn | World news |

Spain‘s poorest have been hit harder than any other group in any OECD country in the years of financial crisis and downturn, according to the OECD.

While the wealthiest 10% of Spaniards saw their income fall by barely 1% between 2007 and 2010, for the poorest 10% the fall has been 14%.

Italy’s poorest fared far better, suffering a 4% drop in income, according to the report Society at a Glance 2014.

Spain’s wealthiest earn 13 times more than the poorest, compared (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: IMF Urges Redistribution To Tackle Growing Inequality

As usual, on the rare occasion that the IMF actually understands the destructive nature of austerity policies, it is too little too late.

IMF Urges Redistribution To Tackle Growing Inequality.

Washington – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is wading strongly into the global debate over the impact of growing income inequality, offering a series of controversial findings that push back on long-held economic orthodoxy – of which the fund itself has long been a key proponent.

The IMF, arguably the world’s premiere financial institution, is stating unequivocally that income inequality “tends to reduce the pace and durability” of economic growth. (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Disastrous Labor And Social Reforms In Spain

The Disastrous Labor And Social Reforms In Spain.

By Vincente Navarro

Spain, under pressure from the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank) has gone through three major labor market reforms, presented to the public as necessary in order to reduce the scandalous high level of unemployment: 25% in general and 52% among the young.

Spain (and Greece) are on the top of the unemployment league. Since the beginning of the crisis, both the socialist (PSOE) and conservative (PP) governments have pursued reforms aimed at what they called ‘deregulation of the labor market,’ assuming that the problem (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: In and out of crisis with Sam Gindin

Today’s podcast is a feature interview with fellow political economist Sam Gindin. I interrogate Sam about the political economy of the present: the exit from the 2007 crisis, the role of states, austerity, the place of finance and the possibilities of resistance.

Download: podcast-140314-sam-gindin.mp3

Sam Gindin is a left political economist with a long career. He was the longtime Research Director of the CAW and later held the Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University. Most recently, Sam authored The Making of Global Capitalism with Leo Panitch, a book that has gone on to win prestigious (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Radical Democracy and Collective Movements in Greece, Spain | Euro Crisis in the Press

Radical Democracy and Collective Movements in Greece, Spain | Euro Crisis in the Press.

By Marina Prentoulis and Lasse Thomassen

The 2011 movements of the squares, the ‘aganaktismenoi’ and ‘indignados’ as they came to be known in Greece and Spain respectively, brought to the forefront old and unresolved debates on the Left. During the crisis it became evident that the traditional Left failed to capture the popular imagination. As part of parliamentary politics, and together with the rest of the political establishment, the left had itself lost legitimacy, at least among a large part of society, (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

7 March 2014 Cecilia Olivet

Profiting from Crisis is a story about how corporations, backed by lawyers, are using international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing governments from Europe’s crisis countries. It shows how the global investment regime thrives on economic crises, but is very uneven in who it benefits. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

For a long time, European countries were left unscathed by the rising global wave of investor-state disputes which had tended to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson compares the results of corporate-friendly Thatcherism to the alternative of public resource ownership and development in the interest of citizens – and finds far better results arising from the latter: Thirty-five years after she swept to power as British prime minister, it is ironic that socialist Norway now has $830 billion in the bank and enjoys fully funded social programs that most of us can only dream of. Meanwhile the U.K. is enduring another round of wrenching austerity and owes over £1.3 trillion — about US$2.2 trillion. (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Creating radically democratic solutions to the financial abduction of Europe | openDemocracy

Creating radically democratic solutions to the financial abduction of Europe | openDemocracy.


Last weekend we participated in the European meeting and seminar The New Abduction of Europe -– Debt, War and Democratic Revolutions in Madrid. The meeting, organized by Fundacion de los Comunes in the framework of the network of museums L’Internationale, took place in Museo Reina Sofía and other spaces close by.

The meeting continued the process of putting in common, imagining further and translating into practice, in the form of easily replicable tools and strategies, the radically democratic solutions (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Selling prosperity in a time of austerity: Budget days in BC and Quebec

Two very different provincial governments tabled their budgets this week. The freshly-elected BC Liberals and the seemingly election-ready Parti Quebecois both delivered what they termed “responsible” budgets. While the two governments identify with opposing ends of the political spectrum and face distinct political climates, these differences did not prevent their budgets from displaying some eerie similarities. Since these budgets tell the same stories, they are laying the ground for a common response.

Although the BC and Quebec economies are often regarded as moving in opposite directions, their economic performance in the five years since the financial crisis has been quite (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Tough austerity measures in Greece leave nearly a million people with no access to healthcare, leading to soaring infant mortality, HIV infection and suicide – Europe – World – The Independent

Filed under: Austerity, Greece, inequality, Neoliberalism Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Greece, neoliberalism

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mark Taliano discusses how corporatocracy is replacing democracy in Canada, while Jaisal Noor talks to John Weeks about the similar trend in the U.S. And DownWithTyranny reminds us how corporations came to be – and how radical a difference there is between entities which were granted limited liability only in exchange for their pursuit of public goods, and the present model in which liability shields instead serve as cover for antisocial behaviour.

- Meanwhile, Frank Graves confirms that the Cons’ goals of public austerity and enrichment of the wealthy couldn’t be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

This and that for your mid-week reading.

- Erin Weir posts the statement of a 70-strong (and growing) list of Canadian economists opposed to austerity. Heather Mallick frames the latest Con budget as yet another example of their using personal cruelty as a governing philosophy, while the Star’s editorial board goes into detail about the dangers of yet another round of politically-motivated attacks on environmental and public interest charities.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell slams the Cons’ efforts to rig the 2015 election. And Jordon Cooper discusses how voting is already too difficult for marginalized people without the Cons going out (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Another (budget) day, another dollar (cut): Canada’s slow-motion austerity

Yesterday’s federal budget was a non-event. Indeed, the no-surprises budget was itself no surprise: the Conservatives have long done their fiscal policy dirty work in omnibus bills and other dark corners scattered throughout the legislature, Crown corporations and federal agencies. This leaves the media circus of budget day a very stereotypically Canadian mix of polite and boring. Canada’s is a slow-motion austerity and the current budget is a continuation.

To be sure, there were big-ticket announcements: a few bridges for cities, some internet for rural areas, internships for the young, factories for auto makers… The government, after all, still does (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Challenging European Left’s Approach to Reform

Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Challenging European Left’s Approach to Reform.

Leo Panitch on Syriza’s radical approach to ‘reform’ in Europe.

Filed under: Austerity, Capitalism, Social Democracy, Socialism Tagged: Europe, Syriza, the Left

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jo Snyder discusses how poverty makes everybody less healthy, and recognizes the need for higher basic wages as a result. And Laurie Penny highlights the futility of trying to badger young adults into service jobs which offer no opportunity for personal, professional or financial progress: The British gov­ernment, like many others, is no longer even pretending to care about how or if the next generation gets to thrive. It is demonstrably content to sacrifice its young. That quality is not just spiteful; it is a recipe for social and cultural self-annihilation.

What (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology –

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Europe, unemployment