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Michal Rozworski: The economics of the possible and beyond

Last week, I wrote a short piece for Ricochet on the kind of simple but serious economic thinking missing from the Canadian election debate so far. Here, I want to expand on the reasons why we might have trouble talking honestly about the barriers to significant economic reform without a real popular upsurge. If you want the short, populist argument, just read the Ricochet piece. If you want more, read on.

Here’s the main problem as articulated in the short piece:

As the gap between rich and poor has widened over the past few decades, the economic elite has grown in stature. Deficits and government (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Mulcair is wrong on the deficit: cozying up to the neocons

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

First, it was his enthusiastic support and admiration of Margaret Thatcher; now it is his overzealous support of balanced budgets. What’s next? What is Mr. Mulcair ready to do to get the keys to 24 Sussex? How close is he willing to get to neocons to move in?

It turns out, there is nothing NDP-ish anymore about the NDP. That old party is gone. Buh-bye!

Adrift, rudderless … pick your word, they all describe what the NDP seems to have morphed into under (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski: This election, let’s really talk about the economy

Here’s a short, “populist” piece on going beyond the very limited economic debate in the election campaign so far. It was published on Ricochet:

The word ‘austerity’ is finally in the mix, but all parties stuck in the right-wing’s frame

Austerity is on the agenda of the Canadian election, as the word was finally uttered — by Justin Trudeau. Bizarrely, this came the same day as the Liberal leader rolled out his economic agenda flanked by Paul Martin, the former finance minister and prime minister who engineered deep austerity measures in the 1990s.

The way austerity has finally made it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michal Rozworski reminds us that austerity in Canada is nothing new under Con or Lib governments, while pointing out what the public needs to do to repel it: The campaigning Stephen Harper boasts that his tough austerity policies saved the Canadian economy. Lost in the rhetoric are two important facts. As most economists will tell you today, austerity measures are lousy ways to expand jobs and investment. And Harper’s Conservatives were just carrying on the work of their austerity embracing Liberal predecessors.…

The first round of Liberal cutbacks were quick and deep. (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: NL NDP boss admits deeper “austerity” on the table as gov cash situation worsens #nlpoli

“All options are going to have to be considered I guess, from both the revenue and the expenditure side, to make the best of a challenging situation,” NDP leader Earle McCurdy told CBC on Wednesday.

“All options” includes more job cuts,  spending reductions, and public sector layoffs in addition to higher taxes.

That endorsement of “austerity” as a serious option is a radical change of direction for the provincial Dippers,.  Up to now, they’ve been adamantly opposed to any cuts to public spending no matter how bad things got.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Philip Berger and Lisa Simon discuss the health and social benefits of a guaranteed annual income: At the community level, poverty also has deep and lasting impacts — some visible, some not. We’ve seen these visible impacts in Simcoe County Ontario, where one of us works. One in four single-parent families experience moderate or severe food insecurity at some point every year. A family of four receiving Ontario Works would have to spend 93% of their monthly after-tax income on rent and nutritious food alone, leaving little remaining for all other necessary expenses.

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Yanis Varoufakis: bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip | Business | The Guardian

Yanis Varoufakis: bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip | Business | The Guardian.

Filed under: Eurozone crisis Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece

The Progressive Economics Forum: Would an NDP win mean the end of Canada?

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate professor of Economics – Laurentian University Founding co-Editor – Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter – @Lprochon

This story from the CBC on August 14, 2015. See story here.

 

With the NDP riding high in a number of national polls at the moment, there is an increasingly real possibility the New Democrats will form the next federal government. Some are predicting, however, an NDP win would be catastrophic for Canada and would spell economic doom for the country.

After decades in third-party obscurity, an NDP win would certainly be one for the history (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Swapping one mirage for another: the Left’s turn away from social Europe

Swapping one mirage for another: the Left’s turn away from social Europe.

Filed under: Europe, Eurozone crisis Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis

The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper has the worst economic record in history

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Mr. Harper and the Conservatives never miss an opportunity of reminding Canadians that we should vote for them in October in order to ensure economic prosperity in the future. At the heart of this argument is the belief that they are the best equipped political party to manage the Canadian economy. Yet a new study arrives at the very opposite conclusion: Mr. Harper’s government has the worst economic record of all federal governments in Canada since 1946 (Oops I said history before, mea (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Crawford Kilian reviews Tom Mulcair’s Strength of Conviction and describes what we can expect out of an NDP federal government as a result: He seems likely to be a very pro-family PM, if only because his own family clearly shaped him that way. (His account of courting and marrying Catherine Pinhas is a lovely, funny slice of social history.) So expect affordable daycare to be in his first budget; but if once-housebound mums then flood into the job market, he may find unemployment rates even higher than they are now.

Also expect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Christos Tsiolkas talks to Yanis Varoufakis about the Troika’s appalling contempt for Greek democracy. And Barbara Ehrenreich laments the fact that only well-off people are given any meaningful opportunity to speak about poverty and deprivation – though that should highlight the need for workers to organize to ensure their voices are heard: There are many thousands of people like these – gifted journalists who want to address serious social issues but cannot afford to do so in a media environment that thrives by refusing to pay, or anywhere near adequately pay, its “content (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Robert Reich describes how U.S. voters are rejecting the concept of a ruling class from both the left and the right – while noting that it’s vital to get the answer right as to which alternative is worth pursuing. And Owen Jones sees Jeremy Corbyn’s rise as an inevitable response to the emptiness of New Labour in the UK: Corbyn’s campaign has been unique in the Labour leadership campaign in actually offering coherent policies and a fleshed-out economic strategy: a radical housing programme; tax justice; democratic public ownership of utilities and (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Harper’s economics and geocentrism

Harper’s economics and geocentrism

Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor, Laurentian University Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

What a month it’s been. While the first half of 2015 has not been kind to Canadians and the economy, July has proven to be worse.

On the economic front, we have had a tumultuous month capping a tumultuous first half of the year. When Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, described Canada’s economy as ‘atrocious’, little did we know how atrocious it was going to get.

Indeed, the data for May are in, and it’s not exactly pretty. Now we find out that in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Frank Pasquale and Siva Vainhyanathan write that we shouldn’t mistake schemes intended to get around employee standards and other laws for innovations worth celebrating or embracing: Uber has confronted admittedly stifling restrictions on taxi driver licenses in France by launching a service called UberPop. Several authorities in Europe have ruled UberPop illegal, but Uber kept it operating anyway as it appealed. Now France has charged Uber’s general director for France, Thibaud Simphal, and the company’s director for Western Europe, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty with enabling taxi-driving by non-professional drivers and “deceptive commercial practices (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tavia Grant is the latest to note that the potential for driverless vehicles necessitates some consideration as to how to account for people who currently rely on driving jobs. And Vivek Wadhwa makes the case for a new form of capitalism which isn’t designed to leave people behind: Countries such as India and Peru and all of Africa will see the same benefits — for at least two or three decades, until the infrastructure has been built and necessities of the populations have been met.

Then there will not be enough work even (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz discusses how Greece has been turned into a sacrificial lamb at the altar of austerian economics: Austerity is largely to blame for Greece’s current depression — a decline of gross domestic product of 25 percent since 2008, an unemployment rate of 25 percent and a youth unemployment rate twice that. But this new program ratchets the pressure up still further: a target of 3.5 percent primary budget surplus by 2018 (up from around 1 percent this year). Now, if the targets are not met, as they almost surely won’t (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Where is Canada’s mild Keynesian alternative?

You know something is up when the social democrats are trailing the centrist pundits on the economy. The space for a just a mild Keynesian alternative in Canada is wide open. Such an alternative, however, needs a political rather than merely a technocratic push.

Here is a fragment of a piece that just appeared in Canadian Business magazine and is typical of recent centrist commentary:

No one would counsel a return to unchecked spending. But the magical thinking around balanced budgets should stop. Canada’s debt is a sunk cost, not an anchor. The IMF now advises that countries with enough fiscal (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski » Political Eh-conomy: Where is Canada’s mild Keynesian alternative?

You know something is up when the social democrats are trailing the centrist pundits on the economy. The space for a just a mild Keynesian alternative in Canada is wide open. Such an alternative, however, needs a political rather than merely a technocratic push.

Here is a fragment of a piece that just appeared in Canadian Business magazine and is typical of recent centrist commentary:

No one would counsel a return to unchecked spending. But the magical thinking around balanced budgets should stop. Canada’s debt is a sunk cost, not an anchor. The IMF now advises that countries with enough fiscal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Greg Keenan exposes how corporations are demanding perpetually more from municipalities while refusing to contribute their fair share of taxes to fund the services needed by any community. And Sean McElwee points out how big-money donations are translating into a warped U.S. political system: Available data reveals that donors not only have disproportionate influence over politics, but that influence is wielded largely to keep issues that would benefit the working and middle classes off of the table.

Do donors really rule the world? Recent research suggests that indeed they do. Three (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Why Greece’s ritual humiliation won’t kill off Europe’s revolutionary Left – Telegraph

Why Greece’s ritual humiliation won’t kill off Europe’s revolutionary Left – Telegraph.

Filed under: Eurozone crisis Tagged: Austerity, European left, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Syriza

Political Eh-conomy: “Can ‘people over profits’ become a reality in Greece?”

This is the full transcript of my podcast interview with John Milios; it appeared earlier this week in Jacobin. John is a prominent figure within Syriza; he was the party’s chief economic advisor until earlier this year and is also a member of the party’s central committee, one of the 109 who signed a letter last week opposing the new memorandum.

Here, he discusses Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s decision to hold the July 5 referendum, the anti-austerity course not taken by Syriza, and how the slogan “people over profits” can become a concrete reality in Greece.

Michal Rozworski: What is the (Read more…)

Michal Rozworski » Political Eh-conomy: “Can ‘people over profits’ become a reality in Greece?”

This is the full transcript of my podcast interview with John Milios; it appeared earlier this week in Jacobin. John is a prominent figure within Syriza; he was the party’s chief economic advisor until earlier this year and is also a member of the party’s central committee, one of the 109 who signed a letter last week opposing the new memorandum.

Here, he discusses Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s decision to hold the July 5 referendum, the anti-austerity course not taken by Syriza, and how the slogan “people over profits” can become a concrete reality in Greece.

Michal Rozworski: What is the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering | World news | The Guardian

Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering | World news | The Guardian.

Filed under: Eurozone crisis, Greece Tagged: Austerity, Eurozon Crisis, Greece

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Anna Leventhal warns against the danger that even the best-intentioned of charity drives might be seen as replacing the need for social supports: Now campaigns are ubiquitous, and range from book tours to pet surgeries to basic subsistence for marginalized people in crisis. But with crowdfunding increasingly called on to plug the holes left by funding cuts (consider that in 2014 Canadians pledged over $27 million to Kickstarter alone, and that from 2013 to 2014 the amount crowdfunded globally jumped from US$6.1 billion to US$16.2 billion), the stakes are getting higher (Read more…)