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The Progressive Economics Forum: How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

The updated agreement on internal trade, which had been moving along nicely, has hit a snag. Negotiators had wanted to open up all government procurement (meaning, not allowing any preferential treatment for local contractors). Alberta has asked to be allowed to require 20% local employment in government procurement. The other feature that is particularly troublesome is […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

Yappa Ding Ding: Where have all the anti-globalization activists gone?

Over the last decade or so, every time there’s a WTO meeting or G8 summit, a lot of protesters show up to bring attention to some very real concerns about free trade agreements. Most recently there have been a number of protests against the TPP.Globali… . . . → Read More: Yappa Ding Ding: Where have all the anti-globalization activists gone?

Yappa Ding Ding: Where have all the anti-globalization activists gone?

Over the last decade or so, every time there’s a WTO meeting or G8 summit, a lot of protesters show up to bring attention to some very real concerns about free trade agreements. Most recently there have been a number of protests against the TPP.

Globalization has made the world richer, but the way it has been implemented has given much more power and wealth to corporations, and diminished the ability of nations to regulate activities within their borders. At this very moment, for example, a Canadian pipeline company is suing the US government for $15B for not approving a very unpopular pipeline proposal – and it’s suing based on the rules of NAFTA.

So now Britain has voted to leave the EU. Polls showed that “the top issue among those voting to go was Britain’s right to act independently” (link).

The deficiencies of the EU are widely recognized. As Paul Krugman wrote recently:

The E.U. is deeply dysfunctional and shows few signs of reforming.

…Today’s E.U. is the land of the euro, a major mistake compounded by Germany’s insistence on turning the crisis the single currency wrought into a morality play of sins (by other people, of course) that must be paid for with crippling budget cuts. Britain had the good sense to keep its pound, but it’s not insulated from other problems of European overreach, notably the establishment of free migration without a shared government.

…The most frustrating thing about the E.U.: Nobody ever seems to acknowledge or learn from mistakes. If there’s any soul-searching in Brussels or Berlin about Europe’s terrible economic performance since 2008, it’s very hard to find. And I feel some sympathy with Britons who just don’t want to be tied to a system that offers so little accountability, even if leaving is economically costly. (link)

Soon after England and Wales voted to leave the EU, Larry Elliott, Economics Editor at the Guardian, wrote an article in the Guardian titled “Brexit is a Rejection of Globalisation” (link). He talks about the free trade movements of the last 30 years resulting in “a much diminished role for nation states”. Elliott argues that the EU failed:

Jobs, living standards and welfare states were all better protected in the heyday of nation states… than they have been in the age of globalisation. Unemployment across the eurozone is more than 10%. Italy’s economy is barely any bigger now than it was when the euro was created. Greece’s economy has shrunk by almost a third. Austerity has eroded welfare provision. Labour market protections have been stripped away.

…Torsten Bell, the director of the Resolution Foundation thinktank, analysed the voting patterns in the referendum and found that those parts of Britain with the strongest support for Brexit were those that had been poor for a long time. The result was affected by “deeply entrenched national geographical inequality”, he said.

There has been much lazy thinking in the past quarter of a century about globalisation. As Bell notes, it is time to rethink the assumption that a “flexible globalised economy can generate prosperity that is widely shared”.

So do you see my problem? Brexit is such an enormous boon for anti-globalization that it is being heralded as a reversal of the entire globalization trend. Why aren’t the anti-globalization organizations marching in the streets?

I can answer that question, but it saddens me. Over the last week, “conventional wisdom” has decided that everyone who supports Brexit is racist. I have been practically spat on because of the sentiments I expressed in my last post (link), that “my head said Remain but my heart said Leave”. One supposed old friend wrote:

60+ year old citizens of the UK who voted to leave (and they are the majority of wanna-be leavers) are delusional. They want to restore that tiny little island to its imperial greatness, or at least to its completely diminished splendour during WWII. They want an England with white rulers and black slaves.And of course the slaves are all rapists, and none of the white rulers is. Foreigners are all murderers and rapists. So the tiny little island may be able to pull in tourists to see its nearly dead monarch until she dies. Then the itiny little island dies. And this is where your heart is? I pity your heart. Unbelievable.

with a followup email the next day:

Fuck your heart Dwarf.

Every day recently, there are articles about thousands of people protesting Brexit; none about people supporting it. I just googled “Brexit” and the first hundred articles were overwhelmingly negative, largely based on the personalities of its spokespeople. The stock market in Britain is soaring (the FTSE 100 is at a 5-year high), but even that is being spun as negative with repeated claims that panicked Britishers are buying up everything in sight – which is a totally ridiculous argument.

Not many people, apparently, have the courage to take on the anti-Brexit crowd.

Even while arguing against Brexit, people could be starting a discussion of the ways the EU needs to improve. Instead, we have vitriolic articles about one person who said he regretted his vote to leave, that is magically turned into a claim that most leave-voters regret their decision; claims that an uptick in google searches for “European Union” in England means that those who voted Leave somehow didn’t know what the EU is; and on and on.

I am confident that the economic shock of Brexit will soon subside. I am not so sure that the world community will ever regain its sanity about what just happened, and why.

Oh, and for those clinging to the notion that Brexit was purely motivated by ignorance and racism, read this article written by Larry Elliott a month before the vote, in which he argues for Leave: Brexit May Be the Best Answer to a Dying Eurozone. . . . → Read More: Yappa Ding Ding: Where have all the anti-globalization activists gone?

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

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

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). . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Rental Housing in Yellowknife

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

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 . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Confronting Oligarchy – Tesla Motors

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

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The First Honest Cable Company…

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?

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

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 . . . → 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 . . . → 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.

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