Somebody suggested that the CBC would be a far more interesting place if the Lang-O’Leary Exchange morphed into the Lang-Jimbo Reality Show. Now that’s a CBC we might be inclined to fight a little harder to protect. There are not … Continue reading →
Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years. (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958).
Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19. This would be the lowest since at least 1948. Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will likely (Read more…)
Happier days for the populist right
Well, it was indeed a circus at city hall yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend the performance live but did have the pleasure of watching some of it unfold via the miracle of the interwebs. Those Ford brothers sure know how to do a great imitation of The Sopranos – belligerent, bullying, pulling faces like a couple of 12-year old school yard pricks. Better
Ponzi Austerity: A Definition And An Example – Social Europe Journal.
For a while now I have been arguing that Europe’s policies for reducing the public debts of fiscally stressed member-states can be described as a Ponzi austerity scheme. In this post I attempt precisely to define ‘Ponzi austerity’.
Standard Ponzi schemes are based on a sleight of hand that creates the appearance of a fund whose value grows faster than the value that has come into it. In reality the opposite is true, as the scheme’s operator usually helps himself to some of the incoming capital while (Read more…)
Everyone’s clamouring for Ford to resign: he lied, he smoked crack, he was wasted on the job, the city needs a competent administration. Balls, I say. I’ve seen competent administrations and I can say for certain in the present climate that a “competent administration” will focus its attention on further austerity and attacking those who resist austerity. Need I remind that the entire left wing
Crash! A brief history of modern global capitalism – audio slideshow | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
An amazing slideshow of a century of capitalist development and economic crisis narrated by one of my former professors, Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism.
Filed under: Capitalism Tagged: Austerity, Capitalism, crisis, neoliberalism
Debt and Deficit as Shock Therapy » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.
When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views.
Using the unnerving 2008 financial crash, the ensuing long recession and the recurring specter of debt default, the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of core capitalist countries (Read more…)
Belgium: Class Trade Unionism Seeks Political Expression | The Bullet No. 893.
In the social and political history of Belgium, May 1, 2012, could mark a milestone. On that day the leaders of the Charleroi regional branch of the socialist trade union General Federation of Belgian Labour (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique/Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond, FGTB/ABVV) – the second biggest in the country, with 102,000 members – publicly broke with the social-democratic party and called for a rallying of the left to the perspective of a new broad, anti-capitalist force to the left of the Parti Socialiste (PS) and the Greens. An (Read more…)
Austerity protests draw tens of thousands in Italy, Portugal | News | DW.DE | 19.10.2013.
Police detained several people during the protest in Rome after about 100 people threw rocks, bottles and eggs at officers guarding the finance ministry (pictured).
The police then charged and chased the demonstrators into side streets. Protesters also managed to smash in the window of a branch of UniCredit bank, Italy’s biggest lender, and the hacker group Anonymous took down several institutional websites to coincide with the rally. Organizers said that about 70,000 people had taken part, though police put the number (Read more…)
In light of yesterday’s post, particularly regarding the bleak outlook for the children of the middle class (which takes for granted the bleak present of the children of the working class), I thought I’d share some of the wisdom of Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations) that seems to have been lost on austerians:
‘Is the improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people to be regarded as an advantage or as an inconveniency to the society? The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain. Servants, labourers and workmen of different kinds, make up the (Read more…)
Rather than savage cuts, Switzerland considers “Star Trek” economics – Salon.com.
By gathering over 100,000 signatures – which they delivered last Friday along with 8 million 5-cent coins representing the country’s population – activists have secured a vote by Switzerland’s parliament on an audacious proposal: providing a basic monthly income of about $2,800 U.S. dollars to each adult in the country. (A date for the vote hasn’t yet been set.) Such basic income proposals, which have drawn increased attention since the 2008 financial crash, offer a night-and-day contrast to the current U.S. debate over what to (Read more…)
Austerity pushing Europe into social and economic decline, says Red Cross | World news | The Guardian.
Europe is sinking into a protracted period of deepening poverty, mass unemployment, social exclusion, greater inequality, and collective despair as a result of austerity policies adopted in response to the debt and currency crisis of the past four years, according to an extensive study being published on Thursday.
“Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it,” says the 68-page report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Jordan Brennan and Jim Stanford put to rest any attempt to minimize the growth of inequality in Canada: (I)ncome inequality has reached a historic extreme. Inequality was high during the 1920s and 1930s (the “gilded age”), but fell sharply during the Second World War (as Canadians got back to work and taxes were raised to pay for the war effort). The three decades after the Second World War — a “golden age” of controlled capitalism — saw further decline in inequality. The economy was booming and powerful institutions (like progressive taxation and surging (Read more…)
Athens riot police fire tear gas at an anti-fascist protest calling for action against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party following a rapper’s murder. Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty
No country has displayed more of a “backslide in democracy” than Greece, the British thinktank Demos has said in a study highlighting the crisis-plagued country’s slide into economic, social and political disarray.
Released on the same day that judicial authorities ordered an investigation into a blog posting by a group of reservists in the elite special forces calling for a coup d’etat, the study singled out Greece and Hungary for being “the most significant (Read more…)
Merkel’s Victory, Everyone’s Loss: The Burden Of German Mercantilism On Europe.
The electoral victory of Angela Merkel brings bad news to the rest of Europe. Without doubt it means the continuation of the national economic policies that have all the other euro zone countries suffering from recession. While the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies narrowly missed an absolute majority, the probability that a coalition partner would moderate austerity polices is close to zero.
Filed under: Austerity, Capitalism, Crisis, Europe Tagged: Germany
Check out @EurozoneCrisis’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/EurozoneCrisis/status/383338023402090496
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Democracy, Eurozone Crisis, neoliberalism
Reblogged from Sráid Marx:
The defeat of the opposition to the property tax and the ability of the Government to impose a second Croke Park austerity deal might lead many to conclude that resistance to austerity has been defeated. Even before this many have commented that while Greece has witnessed violent protests and numerous general strikes the absence of such events from Ireland is notable and remarkable.
Read more… 1,329 more words
I’ve been asking myself the same question for the past few years.
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Paul Dechene interviews Maude Barlow about the downside of privatizing public infrastructure: Somebody asked me to point blank explain the difference between private and public and I said, profit. That’s the difference. In a public system, it’s the same amount of money; you’re raising it from taxes or you’re raising it from water rates, water services. And so the same amount of money has to cover for a private company not only the supposed delivery of whatever services they’re delivering but profit for their investors. Something has to give. And that’s the fundamental (Read more…)
Into the Fire sends a powerful message about the xenophobia and violence faced by immigrants in Greece struggling to survive against steep odds. A large percentage were driven to seek asylum not as a matter of choice but because of war and other problems in their countries of origin. Many have been forced to live on the street with no legal papers. Too often they are targets of harassment and physical assault, not only by fascist thugs linked to the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn but even in some cases by police who have been filmed either actively participating in attacks on (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Annie Lowrey reports on the still-spreading blight of income inequality in the U.S.: An updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty shows that the top 1 percent of earners took more than one-fifth of the country’s total income in 2012, one of the highest levels recorded in the century that the government has collected the relevant data.
The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of all income. That is the highest recorded level ever.
The figures underscore that even after the recession the (Read more…)
The second-quarter GDP numbers confirm that Canada’s continuing “recovery,” such as it is, is still balancing very precariously on a knife-edge between expansion and contraction. The various sources of growth vary widely in their current momentum. The overall net balance is barely positive. And coming austerity in the public sector could very much push the balance into negative territory in coming quarters.
Here’s how the numbers add up. I examined the year-over-year change in each major component of GDP (the familiar C+I-G+X-M, with housing investment broken out as its own category), using real (chained 2007) data. (Read more…)
This and that for your Labour Day reading.
- Jared Bernstein writes about the fight for fair wages in the U.S. fast food and retail industries. And Karen McVeigh notes that political decision-makers are starting to try to get in front of the parade of workers seeking a reasonable standard of living: Organisers said the strikes, scheduled a day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and a few days before Labor Day, were being held in 60 cities and had spread to the south – including Tampa and Raleigh – and the west, with workers in (Read more…)
The government of Ontario is pleased to announce that it’s improving the lot of those who rely on disability and social assistance benefits. Rates are being raised by 1%. Since that’s below the rate of inflation it’s really not an improvement at all. The poorest among us will fall further behind. But we live in tough times, right?
Royal Bank, CIBC report record profits.
According to that story, the TD was the only major bank to see an overall decline in profits and it was due to insurance claims resulting from “severe weather”, a problem that will soon be remedied (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- The Economist takes a look at the effect of a “lean in” philosophy toward work – and finds that we’d get better results encouraging creative development rather than needless busy work: All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year (Read more…)