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Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: The Economist calculates the enormous cost of ignoring climate change

Rendering of New York City from “World Under Water”, an app designed by Carbon Story

Read this June 28 story from The Economist on the cost of doing nothing to curb climate change – and interesting corollary to the World Bank’s recent determination that tackling global warming could significantly grow the global economy.

It has been the hottest May ever, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The world’s average surface temperature was 0.74°C above its 20th-century average. Alaska was almost 2°C above its 1971-2000 level.

The heat has brought American business out in a rash. Two weeks after (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: World Bank: Battling climate change would grow global economy

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim

Read this June 24 story from The Guardian on the World Bank’s view that tackling climate change would be good for the global economy, contradicting statements by national leaders like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australia’s Tony Abbott.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Tsilhqot’in Land Title Ruling Can Help Kill Enbridge

Watch Pam Palmater’s response to the SCC ruling. Click above.

Stephen Harper had about a week to enjoy the glory of his remarkably understated whispery notification that the Enbridge climate killing pipeline will proceed.

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down the prime minister, which they have a tendency to do because he so flagrantly intends to violate it. So they keep slapping his hand.

With the Tsilhqot’in ruling, our hope that first nations are our last line of defense against more climate killing tarsands development, has been greatly augmented.

In the coming weeks we will see how this may be (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson tally cost of climate change

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson

By Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience.

The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for reductions in emissions blamed for heating the planet.

It was commissioned by the Risky Business Project, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: New Quebec government choosing fossil fuels over green jobs

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is putting green jobs on the back burner (Photo: facebook)

One thing Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, BC Premier Christy Clark and new Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard all share in common is the dated notion that economic and sustainable development are competing concepts that need to be reconciled, with great difficulty. And in hard times, the economy must take precedence.

The term reconciliation seems totally out of place when one considers that the green sectors are among the fastest growing and highest job creation sectors of our time and that this growth can only get better as nations adopt more aggressive (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C dam would hike power bills, drive mills, mines out of business

Read this June 10 column from Judith Lavoie at Demog Canada on the opposition to the proposed Site C Dam from major industrial power users.

Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a reality, rate hikes could put mills and mines out of business while saddling taxpayers with a costly white elephant and ballooning BC Hydro debt.

A decision on the $7.9 billion plan to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River will be made by the federal and provincial governments this fall.

Economic questions about the mega-project were raised (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Are pipeline spills good for the economy, as Kinder Morgan says?

Health concerns plague many who worked to clean up the BP oil spill (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Energy giant Kinder Morgan was recently called insensitive for pointing out that “Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short- and long-term.”

The company wants to triple its shipping capacity from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby, in part by twinning its current pipeline. Its National Energy Board submission states, “Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers.”

It’s not about going (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington Walk into a Bar

The pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington walk into a bar.

The Pope says, “Inequality is the root of social evil” as he’s trashing the global economic disorder, but since it was reported on Arianna Huffington’s website, we couldn’t help but be lured to a link photo of a Kardashian mom posting a picture of her in a bikini in Mexico because her daughter did. [I'm still not sure why this matters.]

The Pope continues, “We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures, a system that to survive has to make war, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Soft Fascism Look Like These Days?

We don’t see brown shirts and jackboots, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing the de-democratization of our society.

In Vancouver this month, armed police with guns drawn, raided a house because they suspected people inside not of being terrorists, but of spray painting “No Pipelines” all over the place.

Read Police raid house in East Vancouver, with guns drawn, on pretext of anti-pipeline graffiti | Warrior Publications.

But in Harper’s Canada, opposing pipelines is deemed by the climate change deniers as an act of economic terrorism, which we will likely see in a far more pronounced fashion if in (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Game theory and corporate tax rates: the Ontario Liberals are almost certainly wrong

I don’t know what the optimal corporate tax rate is. I suspect neither does anyone. I believe there is reasonable evidence out there that given the kinds of goals and values we likely share, that a somewhat higher corporate tax rate is preferred, but what exactly that rate is – what the Game Theoretically Optimal or GTO rate is, I don’t know.

Among the Ontario parties, the Liberals want to keep the tax rate fixed at the new 11.5% level they have introduced since being in power. The PCs want a 30% (3.5 percentage points) further reduction. The (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Economists aren’t buying Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak (Photo: Facebook)

Finally, a mainstream media story that puts some of the extraordinary job claims made on the campaign trail under a microscope. Read this May 28 Globe and Mail story by Adrian Morrow that catches Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak in a giant fib about the million jobs he claims he’ll create if given the electoral mandate. According to a series of reputable economists, Hudak is playing fast and loose with the numbers, basing his promises on some very bad arithmetic.

A growing chorus of economists says Tim Hudak vastly inflated the number of jobs his signature Million Jobs Plan would create, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Ha-Joon Chang – Economics Is NOT too complicated for the Average Person

Mr.Chang is the author of the 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. It is a accessible book on Economics and economic theory that really, everyone should read. This brief twenty minute talk on understanding Economics is both necessary and enlightening.

Filed under: Education Tagged: Economics, Ha-Joon Chang

The Common Sense Canadian: Quebec won’t see job benefits from Line 9, Energy East: report

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling promoting Energy East (Canadian Press)

MONTREAL – A new report says proposals to pipe oilsands crude to Quebec refineries would only deliver negligible economic benefits to the province.

An economist who co-authored the study says job creation and spinoffs from several active pipeline-and-processing proposals would be insignificant to Quebec’s overall economy.

At the same time, Brigid Rowan says a pipeline accident could cost lives and put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars — particularly if a spill takes place in an urban area like Toronto or Montreal.

The report was conducted by California-based consulting (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Mr. Hudak meets Mr. Dictionary for the very first time!

As I write this, Timmie is Googling the word “economics”… Ms. Wynne is being so unfair using such darned big words!!! I have italicized the phrase noting the flaw that anyone with even a passing understanding of arithmetic would notice immediately. And he thinks he is fit to govern the largest province in Canada???? Not […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Common Sense health care would save lives, help the economy

If the definition of good governance includes the sound management of public monies and resources, then Canada has very bad governance.

The manufactured health care crisis is a case in point. Solutions to challenges of cost, quality, and access are fairly straightforward but wilfully ignored, and current trajectories towards corporatization are leading us in the wrong direction.

If the challenges are responsibly addressed, every Canadian will have access to exemplary health care, based on need rather than ability to pay. Additionally, Canadians will save money, and the economy will be positively impacted.

3 big ideas

Dr. Danielle Martin (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Thomas Piketty’s real challenge was to the FT’s Rolex types | Comment is free | The Guardian

Thomas Piketty’s real challenge was to the FT’s Rolex types | Comment is free | The Guardian.

If the FT’s attack on the radical economist’s ‘rising inequality’ thesis is right, then all the gross designer bling in its How To Spend It section can be morally justifiedre


The adverts in the FT and other reputable papers – mainly for large watches, first-class air travel, portable fine art etc – should be collectively retitled How To Hide It

Thomas Piketty’s Capital was still No 3 on the Amazon bestseller list when the Financial Times dropped its front-page bombshell. By (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: The Corporation: 10th Anniversary screening

Ten years ago, The Corporation, a seminal Canadian documentary, changed the way the world thinks about the nature and role of corporations in society. It would later influence movements like Occupy Wall Street and remains even more relevant today than it was a decade ago.

Monday, May 26, don’t miss a special 10th anniversary screening of the film, including a panel discussion with UBC law professor Joel Bakan – author of the book upon which the film is based – plus Caleb Behn, subject of the forthcoming documentary film Fractured Land, which is executive produced by The Corporation’s co-producer and co-director Mark Achbar. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Russia-China gas deal: The elephant in the room at BC LNG conference

BC Minister of Natural Gas Rich Coleman open his government’s LNG conference (BC govt flickr photo)

Last week week, the BC Government held its second annual LNG In BC Conference, with over 1,400 delegates representing some of the world’s top players in the natural gas industry. The province’s Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman noted that this year’s conference saw an increase of almost 1,000 delegates.

Most panels centred on the potential opportunity for a BC LNG industry, but the elephant in the room at the Vancouver Convention Centre was a natural gas pipeline deal signed between Russia and China on the eve of the conference. Though barely addressed (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Hookers to be part of Italy’s GDP

Italy’s National Institute of Statistics recently announced that next year it will start including activities such as prostitution and illegal drug sales in the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

And why not. After all, these activities create jobs and incomes and are therefore an integral part of a national economy. Estimating them will present a challenge, of course, as they are not usually

Dead Wild Roses: Climate Change – Bill Moyers and David Suzuki



Why is it that we bow down before the market? It is not a fundamental force of nature, yet we in society are instructed to think of it as such.


Filed under: Politics, Science Tagged: Bill Moyers, Climate Change, David Suzuki, Economics

Bill Longstaff: Conference Board illustrates folly of conventional economic metrics

Once again conventional measurement has painted a warped view of our economic well-being. Relying principally on growth in the GDP sense, The Conference Board of Canada applauds the oil and gas rich provinces—Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador—for being the country’s top economic performers.

In the short term they are: highest GDP growth, highest employment growth, etc. But the

Bill Longstaff: Students instruct teachers to bring economics into the real world

Following the Second World War, Western nations embarked on securing the welfare state as a balance to the capitalist market economy, the result of which was the most prosperous and equitable societies ever known. The most influential economist through this period was Britain’s John Maynard Keynes with his prescription of a sensible balance between government and industry involvement in economic

The Common Sense Canadian: 6 reasons why renewable energy is no joke

Photo: Associated Press/ Ed Andrieski

Listen to the rebuttals against opponents of oil pipelines, coal, and fracking and a familiar refrain emerges – it goes something like this:

It’s hypocritical to attack fossil fuels, because we all depend on them and will continue to do so well into the future.

In other words, renewable energy is too pie-in-the-sky to solve our present energy challenges, so quit standing in the way of much-needed expansion to our fossil fuel infrastructure.

The problem is, this sort of thinking is based on where renewables were at a decade ago, ignoring the enormous, lightning-speed progress the sector has (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Economics, by and for lay people

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury of the United Kingdom, boasted recently about his nation’s modest economic growth. If expansion continues, Britain will soon have an economy equal to the size it was in 2008, although population growth leaves the GDP per person about 7% less than in pre-crash days.

English comic Marcus Brigstocke appeared on BBC’s The Now Show and he expressed atypical views about economic growth. With wage suppression and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program current issues in Canada, these amusing words from England are worth a listen:

Gadget Google – Lecteur (Read more…)