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Yappa Ding Ding: Another View on Brexit

I wasn’t eligible to vote on Britain’s exit from the European Union, and I’m not sure how I would have voted. My head said Remain but my heart said Leave – and I find myself quite pleased that England and Wales found the strength to free themselves fro… . . . → Read More: Yappa Ding Ding: Another View on Brexit

Bill Longstaff: Saudis to Alberta—Tough Shit!

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi didn’t say quite what I’ve suggested in my headline, but only the words differed, not the sentiment. The Saudis, as we all know, have been opening up the oil taps lately, driving their production up and driving the pri… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Saudis to Alberta—Tough Shit!

Bill Longstaff: Will Republicans keep invoking God if the Pope keeps pissing on their philosophy?

American politicians are particularly prone to invoking their Christian faith as a guide to their political beliefs. Although members of both major parties freely trot out scripture at the drop of a writ, conservative Republicans are especially inclined to pepper their appeals with references to their faith, God and Jesus.

But now they have encountered a rather embarrassing development. Christ

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site. Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance). Among other things, I suggest in the post that the for-profit landlord in question may be in a monopoly situation. The link to my blog post is here.

Bill Longstaff: More to Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations than meets the neoliberal eye

When we think of Adam Smith, the great Scottish philosopher and economist, and his seminal book The Wealth of Nations, we are inclined to think of free markets, individual self-interest, and the invisible hand. However, reading another good book recently, How Markets Fail by John Cassidy, I was reminded there was a lot more to Smith and The Wealth of Nations than the elements of laissez faire

Dead Wild Roses: Confronting Oligarchy – Tesla Motors

Free markets make for a level playing field, ensuring the best products get to the consumers at the lowest price by rewarding hard working people who go the extra mile to bring the people what they want….except when someone other than the established upper class might take some of their wealth away. Then “free” markets make laws to ban that shit immediately.

The illusion that capitalism benefits anyone other than the haves over the have-nots is laid bare once again, this time in the automotive industry. Recently there have been two articles about Tesla Motors at that caught (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The First Honest Cable Company…

A big thanks to Moe over at Whatever Works for finding this short video on our ISP’s. Just watch the free market in action…

Filed under: Rant Tagged: Cable Providers, Free Markets?, ISP, Oligarchy

The Progressive Economics Forum: Polozogistics: Nine Thoughts About the Choice of the New Bank of Canada Governor


1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us?

2. Doctrinaire [or not?] on Inflation Targeting: He thinks it’s “sacrosanct.” Having studied with monetary policy guru David Laidler at the University of Western Ontario, and been part of the Bank of Canada team that brought inflation targeting to a neighbourhood near (Read more…)

Flanagan’s flop reveals deeper truth about the nature of hypocrisy in Canada

I am not writing this blog post with the idea that the right to free speech, or expression is without limit. Tom Flanagan proves that in exercising that right, the social consequences can be swifter and less judicious than any of the hate speech crimes we have on the books in Canada.

Nor am I writing to defend Mr. Flanagan’s comments. Rather, I want to point out what I think the reaction to his comments reveal about the deep hypocrisy at work in our social body politic (if I may be permitted to use such an awkward formation).


. . . → Read More: Flanagan’s flop reveals deeper truth about the nature of hypocrisy in Canada

Putting lipstick on the PIIGS: the health of modern macroeconomics

Ok, so some of the best economists, trained at elite institutions, working for the pinnacle of the of the financial world got it wrong, very wrong. How wrong? Just go ask a Greek citizen. But, of course, we all knew that just by reading the headlines coming out of Greece over the last couple of years. We also knew this because most of the best elite trained economists thought everything was doing swimmingly back in 2006 early 2007.

Why? because they assumed rational expectations and that their models were correct. And when, after the crisis

. . . → Read More: Putting lipstick on the PIIGS: the health of modern macroeconomics

The Progressive Economics Forum: Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream

It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand!

From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision.

Baskin-Robbins, home of 31 flavours (one for each day of the month), brought in $1.8-billion in sales from its 6,777 outlets around the world last year. Same-store sales rose by an impressive 9.4 per cent in the first quarter 2012, and

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream

Unravelling Conservative Labour Market Policy: The Maximum Wage Law.

The OECD and the CATO institute have both consistently ranked Canadian labour markets as some of the most flexible in the advanced capitalist world. Indeed, Canada ranks only second to the US on most stingy when it comes to labour market protections. Odd then, that the Conservatives have chosen labour market policy as their marquis policy signature.

From a near doubling of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, to the new restrictions placed on EI eligibility and replacement rates, to an increase in the retirement age through to using legislation to interfere with private contract negotiations in any

. . . → Read More: Unravelling Conservative Labour Market Policy: The Maximum Wage Law.

CHAPTER 8: The Miserable Metrics of Neoliberalism

Conclusion to Chapter 8

Consistent with the main line of argument in this thesis then, is the proposition that labour market flexibilisation is the other side of the neoliberal policy coin; namely, price stability and conservative fiscal policy all locked in via the globalisation of production and finance. In this sense, neoliberalism as a hegemonic accumulation strategy has meant that there is a certain convergent logic when it comes to welfare state and labour market policy design. Indeed, as we have already seen the OECD was encouraging a convergence along neoliberal lines. The flexibilisation of labour markets

. . . → Read More: CHAPTER 8: The Miserable Metrics of Neoliberalism

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Big Banks’ Big Secret

The CCPA today released my report: “The Big Banks Big Secret” which provides the first public estimates of the emergency funds taken by Canadian banks. The report bases its estimates on publicly available data from CMHC, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, as well as quarterly reports from the banks themselves.

The conventional narrative about the performance Canada’s big banks during the financial crisis goes as follows: while American banks bet heavily on sub-prime real estate and had extensive shadow bank holdings, Canadian banks did not.

However, the details

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The Big Banks’ Big Secret