BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett
How do you know when a politician’s lying?
When you see his/her lips move.
Bill Bennett, the BC Hydro point man in the government, tells us that there will be a 28% increase in Hydro charges over the next few years, which NDP critic John Horgan says will raise a family’s costs by $300 dollars annually.
The NDP sent out a fundraising plea last week “to fund our work to protect British Columbians from these gigant rate hikes.” Simply campaigning to kill the increases without getting to the root of the matter will do nothing to (Read more…)
A paper published in the journal International Political Science Review considered if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was “Democracy’s Friend or Foe.” It noted that reforms required by the American based IMF, “may create an economically and politically marginalized population whose government is unwilling or incapable of responding to their needs. This may undermine the legitimacy of democracy for those who are marginalized…”
The article said research showed a declining proportion of Latin Americans preferred democracy to any other form of government. In emerging economic powerhouse Brazil, citizens of the world’s fifth most populated country showed only (Read more…)
I came across this gem while reading Hayek’s discussion of private monopoly and competition in Law, Legislation and Liberty. Hayek is discussing the relationship between competition and economic rationality, disputing those who argue that economic rationality or the ‘commercial spirit’ needs to exist for competition to work. In contrast, Hayek argues that the relationship works the other way round: bring in competition and people will be forced to embrace economic rationality in order to survive:
This should be remembered particularly by those who are inclined to argue that competition will not work among people who lack the spirit of enterprise: (Read more…)
CAN CHINA INNOVATE ? The immense weight of China dominates much economic prognostication these days. Will it overtake the USA and become the dominant power of this century ? What are its strengths and weaknesses ? In the November 18 edition of Time Magazine Michael Schuman looks at this question from the perspective of China’s need to learn innovation. Not simply to produce. This is one area in which it is well behind the USA, to the great comfort of American apologists.
China is facing a period of transition and needs to adjust.
“China is a victim of its (Read more…)
Asian investment explodes in BC’s LNG market, rivalling the scale of resource development in the tarsands, as new trade deals threaten to entrench foreign state ownership of Canada’s key energy assets.
“The relationship is suffering,” or so goes the mantra in our mainstream press.
For the last number of months, politicians, media and the talking heads have repeated the story that foreign investment – read Chinese – has fallen of a cliff and bi-lateral relations are frosty due to Harper’s “tough” new, yet undisclosed, policies on investments from foreign state-owned-enterprises (SOEs) in particular.
Chief among the irritants causing the Chinese-Canadian bilateral “suffering” (Read more…)
Orthodox economists have failed their own market test | Seumas Milne | Comment is free | The Guardian.
From any rational point of view, orthodox economics is in serious trouble. Its champions not only failed to foresee the greatest crash for 80 years, but insisted such crises were a thing of the past. More than that, some of its leading lights played a key role in designing the disastrous financial derivatives that helped trigger the meltdown in the first place.
Plenty were paid propagandists for the banks and hedge funds that tipped us off their speculative cliff. Acclaimed figures in (Read more…)
Academics back students in protests against economics teaching | Education | The Guardian.
A prominent group of academic economists have backed student protests against neo-classical economics teaching, increasing the pressure on top universities to reform courses that critics argue are dominated by free market theories that ignore the impact of financial crises.
The academics from some of the UK’s most prestigious institutions, including Cambridge and Leeds universities, said students were being short-changed by their courses, and they accused higher educationfunding bodies of being a barrier to reforms.
In a startling attack on the agencies that provide teaching and (Read more…)
First Nations and supporters protest fracking in Vancouver last month (Damien Gillis)
Canada’s largest private sector union, Unifor, has joined the growing chorus of concern over controversial shale gas development. The labour organization representing over 300,000 members in a wide range of economic sectors, including energy, is calling for a national fracking moratorium.
Unifor issued a statement from its 25-member National Executive Board Thursday raising concerns about the impacts of shale gas development on the environment and on First Nations’ rights.
“Unconventional gas fracking has the potential to have catastrophic effects on our environment and economy. The safety risks are also (Read more…)
Financial crashes are common in modern market economies. The first notable one occurred in Amsterdam in the 1630s when a bursting speculative bubble on tulips caused enough financial ruin for wealthy investors to create a recession. Other crashes occurred in the 1700s and the 1800s linked to risky colonial exploits and the adventurous building of canals and railroads. The stock market crash of 1929 that initiated the Great Depression was followed by a succession of postwar collapses throughout Europe. The Great Recession of 2008 — some effects are still echoing throughout the global economy — is just the latest in (Read more…)
“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those […]
Encana’s Calgary headquarters – The Bow building
Read this Nov. 5 story from CBC.ca on Canadian natural gas titan Encana’s series of cutbacks.
Canadian natural gas giant Encana says it will cut its workforce by 20 per cent and close its office in Plano, Texas.
At the end of the last fiscal year, Encana had 4,169 employees, so a 20 per cent reduction would work out to just over 800 people.
The Calgary-based company also plans to narrow its production focus to five oil-related projects in North America from as many as 30.
“In order to align our organization with (Read more…)
The ever slippery Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources – who never misses a chance to put a positive spin on Canada’s horrendous energy track record – is happily trumpeting the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) alleged recognition of Canada “as a world leader in energy efficiency”.
Says Joe, “The IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2013 ranks Canada second, along with the United Kingdom, for its rate of energy efficiency improvement between 1990 and 2010. It also highlights Canada’s successful energy efficiency programs, which provide consumers with greater market choices and help industry reduce costs and improve the bottom line.”
Alberta Tar Sands operation near Fort McMurray (photo: Kris Krûg)
by Carol Linnitt – republished from Desmog Canada
In its latest report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave global greenhouse gas emissions a worldwide limit, know as the global ‘carbon budget.’ In order to prevent temperatures from rising above the 2 C threshold scientists have designated to avoid “dangerous” climate change, total global emissions need to stay within about 921 billion tonnes or gigatonnes (Gt).
As Marc Lee, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently pointed out, the carbon budget “should be a (Read more…)
Mainstream economics is in denial: the world has changed | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian.
Rebellions aren’t meant to kick off in lecture theatres – but I saw one last Thursday night. It was small and well-read and it minded its Ps & Qs, and I think I shall remember it for some time.
We’d gathered at Downing College, Cambridge, to discuss the economic crisis, although the quotidian misery of that topic seemed a world away from the honeyed quads and endowment plush of this place.
Equally incongruous were the speakers. The Cambridge economist Victoria Bateman (Read more…)
2012 was a strong year for TD, despite ongoing economic challenges and market volatility. Our total adjusted earnings were more than $7 billion dollars — up more than $600 million, or about 10 per cent, from 2011.
-Colleen Johnston, Group Head and Chief Financial Officer, TD Bank Group
Through a generous contribution of $350,000, TD Bank Group is helping Aboriginal students at the University of Regina realize their educational potential.
$350,000 / $7,000,000,000 = 0.005%
Thank-you to TD Bank, generously sharing the wealth of their outstanding profits from oil and gas.
The TD Bank Group gift will be divided (Read more…)
It’s very important to Canada’s economy that we send a resource (we can’t use without killing the planet) to Communist China so their economy can continue to pollute at record pace as they ship unneeded goods to the United States and Canada so we can bury them in our landfills when we aren’t burning them to create electricity to power our other throw-away devices.
I’ve predicted for a year or so that the power brokers in Ottawa will soon sense that Harper isn’t their meal ticket any longer and jump bandwagons to Trudeau because they are not (Read more…)
Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus | Business | The Guardian.
Undergraduates at Manchester University propose overhaul of orthodox teachings to embrace alternative theories
Phillip Inman, economics correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 24 October 2013 19.17 BST
The Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University. Photograph: Jon Super for the Guardian
Few mainstream economists predicted the global financial crash of 2008 and academics have been accused of acting as cheerleaders for the often labyrinthine financial models behind the crisis. Now a growing band of university students are plotting a quiet revolution against orthodox free-market teaching, arguing that (Read more…)
I noticed maybe a month ago that this Brand guy had a brain, and it’s a good one.
Paxman: “You’re not going to solve world problems by facetiousness.” Brand: “We’re not going to solve them with the current system! At least facetiousness is funny.”
– To detract from Brand’s point, there is still value in democratic elections, and voting. Where it’s lost value, is in races where consent to power by the majority is not really granted by anything other than their staggering ignorance of the issues and the candidates’ stances on them.
It must be easy to write right-wing anti-tax screeds when you don’t have to actually research any facts.
Take for example, this new piece in the Vancouver Sun which blames the local tax system for “scaring off potential businesses.”
Author Roslyn Kunin notes that 46 new businesses were licenses in the City of Vancouver between 1999 to 2012 when the population grew by 80,000. Never mind that no context (or source) is given for this number, we are merely supposed to be shocked that this number amounts to a mere 4 per year. In a quick search, I couldn’t (Read more…)
The aftermath of Colorado’s recent flood in heavily fracked Weld County (David Lavallee)
by David Lavallee
I first heard about the flood that left the Colorado fracking industry underwater by way of a story on The Common Sense Canadian. I happened to be in neighboring Utah on a shoot for my new documentary, entitled To the Ends of the Earth. This documentary focuses on the economic consequences of our “ends of the earth” exploration for oil.
News of the flood did not draw my attention initially – after all, epic floods are commonplace nowadays. In the past year we (Read more…)
We’ve all been sold a bill of goods.
All the time we are told that efficiency, productivity and profitability are the most important things in the world. Heck, we’ve even folded sustainability into this model. As we continue to mix more and more ingredients into this cake we’re increasingly at risk of choking ourselves to death as we consume it.
Whoa, Anon, you are going off half baked dude.
Following a successful petition initiative, Switzerland is set to be the first Western nation to vote on whether to implement a basic income program.
The idea has various names: Basic Income, Negative Income Tax, or Guaranteed Annual Income, which have the same basic premise of giving everyone money. Rather than rely on complex welfare or unemployment systems that require the un(der)-employed to jump through various hoops in order to collect benefits, the state simply provides a cheque every month to top people’s income up to a living wage, regardless of how much work is done.
Perhaps most (Read more…)