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Parchment in the Fire: Growth, what growth? Thatcherism fails to produce the goods | Business | The Guardian

Growth, what growth? Thatcherism fails to produce the goods | Business | The Guardian.

Katie Allen

Margaret Thatcher’s policies of privatisation, light-touch regulation and low income tax failed to boost growth, according to a new study that casts doubt on the merits of free market economies.

In a wide-ranging analysis of Britain’s performance in the decades before and after 1979, economists at the University of Cambridge say the liberal economic policies pioneered by Thatcher have been accompanied by higher unemployment and inequality. At the same time, contrary to widespread belief, GDP and productivity have grown more slowly since 1979 compared (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution at 20: A Look Back

Today marks 20 years since the Progressive Conservative Party foisted its so-called “Common Sense Revolution” on Ontario. Former PC Ontario leader Tim Hudak took to Twitter this morning to extol the virtues of this full-throated neoliberal experiment, declaring it “the most effective, courageous gov[ernment]” in his lifetime. Some remember those days differently. Here are a few […]

Politics and its Discontents: … Your Young Men Will See Visions, Your Old Men Will Dream Dreams.

Although far from a biblical scholar, I find the above line, taken from the Book of Acts, to be an apt title. Even though I am taking it out of context, it encapsulates for me a capacity that the world in general, and Canada in particular, has lost: the capacity to dream of and envisage a better reality than what we have settled for.

Under the relentless barrage of neoconservative propaganda, we have succumbed to the kind of existence epitomized in the video I posted the other day, a world of mindless consumerism, relentless environmental despoliation, and spiritual barrenness. (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian

Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian.

Heather Stewart

A surge in self-employment and temporary or part-time jobs over the past two decades has been a key factor behind the rise in inequality in the world’s industrialised countries, according to a major new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

 

The Paris-based club, which has been a driving force in arguing that increasing inequality jeopardises economic growth, says more than half of all job creation in its 34 member countries since the mid-1990s has been in “non-standard work”, which accounts (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: It Couldn’t Be Clearer but Nobody in Ottawa is Listening – Running Out the Clock

Okay, I agree – the science isn’t in.

Not all of it anyway.  There’s more coming in almost daily – research, studies, experiments, observations and analyses, projections – there’s a continually growing mountain of information and knowledge.

The thing is – while there’s more to come, it would be beyond foolish to expect anything else in a world caught in a state of flux.  The important thing is that this new science pouring in affirms, corroborates, supports and reinforces the scientific consensus on anthropogenic or man-made global warming.

Sure the Earth has always changed in the past only not like (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Rethinking Environmental Education Under Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the current way of thinking about the economic state of the world. It’s the thinking that has led to the financialization of nearly everything in the world – think about how we justify our thinking in economic terms and not other terms.

The critiques of the mind-numbing neoliberal approach to thinking are growing and the most recent issue Environmental Education Research examines how neoliberalism is changing how we teach. This is good because we need to move our way of thinking beyond an economics-only framework, the more we critique neoliberalism the better the world we can create.

“Environmental (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Struggle Ahead for a Decent Future for our Youth

It’s sometimes hard to read a Henry Giroux essay without coming away feeling like you’ve been dragged into a dark alley and bludgeoned.  In his latest essay, this American intellectual explores what we’ve allowed ourselves to become, how we’ve been complicit in our own orchestrated economic, social and political degradation.  Brace yourself.

“The danger is that a global, universally interrelated civilization may produce barbarians from its own midst by forcing millions of people into conditions which, despite all appearances, are the conditions of savages.”

- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) Following Hannah Arendt, a (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Struggle Ahead for a Decent Future for our Youth

Politics and its Discontents: On Our Diversions

This is one of those days when I haven’t felt like writing anything. And George Orwell said just about everything better, anyway.

H/t Mint Press News Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Amanda Lang Interviews Ed Broadbent

If you have as low an opinion of the CBC’s disgraced chief business correspondent, Amanda Lang, as I do, watch the following video. I think you will find that, with her absolutist questions typical of the extreme right and the intellectually deficient, she does not exceed expectations.

For Broadbent’s thoughts on how Harper has failed this country, click here. Recommend this Post

Parchment in the Fire: New IMF research: No evidence that labour market deregulation increases growth

New IMF research: No evidence that labour market deregulation increases growth.

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Labor Market reform, neoliberalism

Politics and its Discontents: The Quiet Eloquence Of Harry Smith

His is a quiet eloquence that speaks far louder than all the braying our political ‘leaders’ engage in with abandon. Harry Smith, about whom I previously posted, is a man who has seen much during his long life. He has seen the worst that happens when society treats the majority of its people with contempt, condemning them to short lives of poverty, illness, and despair. He has also seen the best when society recognizes the obligations government has to the less advantaged through the construction of a comprehensive social safety net. It is the latter that he now sees (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: About that "Of the People, By the People, For the People" Business? Forget About It.

Proof positive that America is a corporatist state saddled with a “bought and paid for” Congress.

The big US banks have given the Democrats an ultimatum – silence progressives like Elizabeth Warren or we’ll cut off our funding.  Salon.com calls it “Wall Street’s political shakedown.“

If ever you doubted that our obscene campaign finance regime constitutes a form of legalized bribery, consider this: Reuters reports today that officials at top Wall Street banks recently convened to discuss how they could convince Democrats “to soften their party’s tone” toward the financial industry, and among the options now (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Contesting Capitalism in the Eurozone

In light of the new Syriza government’s difficult struggle against the German dominated institutions of the Eurozone, I’ve revisited a little known book published ten years ago by political scientist Richard Dunphy called Contesting Capitalism? Left Parties and European Integration (Manchester University Press, 2004). In the book, Dunphy charts out the trajectory of the European Far Left’s relationship to European integration. While at the time the book seemed to fly under the radar (this was just before the French and French rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in 2005 and the rapid accession of a number of new member states in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: European Banks vs. Greek Labour

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

The Disaffected Lib: When Getting It Wrong No Longer Matters

In the age of neoliberalism ideology matters, not results.  Neoliberalism ensures there’ll always be another bus to drive into the next ditch.

Call it what you like, be it “market fundamentalism” or “free market capitalism,” neoliberalism works at cross purposes to democracy.  You know that business about government “of the people, by the people, for the people“?  There’s really no need for that sort of pap in the age of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism displaces unruly democracy, the sort of thing that demands results and punishes failure, with an orderly form of corporatism where some things (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What Neoliberalism Has in Store For You

click to enlarge

From Le Monde, a timely explanation of how disastrous neoliberalism continues to thrive despite an endless string of economic disasters and what it holds in store for you even as you continue to vote for those who practice it.  Hint. Neoliberalism is class warfare and it’s being waged in our own Parliament against us.

Even neoliberal proponents recognize that it is a crisis-ridden system. In his popular book Why Globalisation Works, Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf writes: “Between 1945 and 1971, in what might be called the “age of financial repression”, there had been only thirty-eight (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: What Neoliberalism Has in Store For You

The Disaffected Lib: Could Greece Become the Salvation of Western Democracy?

Greece is revered as the nation that gave mankind democracy.  Could it now become the nation that restored democracy to mankind?

Around the world, democracy has taken a pounding from the fist of neoliberalism.  Market fundamentalism and democracy are simply incompatible over time.  Neoliberalism promotes illiberal democracy, ultimately leading to political capture and the rise of plutocracy as the populace is steadily reduced economically and politically, their power quietly transferred to a select minority.

The Guardian’s George Monbiot writes that we’re witnessing “the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus.”  This he sees in the triumph of the Syriza (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: the left in Greece and Poland

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/podcast-150123-poland-greece1.mp3

 

I’ve been visiting family in Poland for the past few weeks so, fittingly, this week’s podcast deals with the situation of the left at two opposite ends of the European periphery: Greece and Poland. My first guest is Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens and candidate for SYRIZA in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Syriza is the main Greek left party and is poised to take the most votes, potentially even form a parliamentary majority, on Sunday. Yanis spoke with me about Greece’s economy on the eve of the elections and Syriza’s economic (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What are Premier Jim Prentice and his three ‘agents of change’ planning for Alberta’s public service?

Alberta civil servants: do you get the feeling someone may have their eye on you? Below: Agents of change Richard Dicerni, Ian Brodie, Oryssia Lennie and Steve West.

Premier Jim Prentice says he intends to “reform” Alberta’s public service, fix its low morale, reverse its “shocking” turnover and deal with its other “very significant problems.”

He’s appointed a former senior federal civil servant and well-connected business professor to be his “agent of change,” along with a couple of right-hand persons to assist with this change agentry. Their work will start immediately.

Sounds way better, huh, than former premier Alison (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tory income-splitting tax policy: It’s about creating and preserving gender inequality and making rich guys richer

Whew! This income splitting is a killer. Actual perfect families as seen by the Harper Government may not appear exactly like Canadian reality. Below: Queen’s University tax law professor Kathleen Lahey.

A fundamental purpose the Harper Government’s ideologically driven income-splitting tax scheme is to undermine women’s equality, Queen’s University tax law professor Kathleen Lahey told the Parkland Institute’s annual fall conference yesterday.

That’s a statement that may cause some readers to react with skepticism – but if you’re one of them, let me suggest it’s because you haven’t really been paying attention.

Dr. Lahey told a plenary session of the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Doug Henwood on US economics and politics

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/podcast-141114-doug-henwood.mp3

 

This week, it’s my great pleasure to present a feature interview with Doug Henwood — economic analyst, author of books including Wall Street and host of the wonderful Behind the News radio show and podcast that inspired this show. Doug always introduces his show by saying his guests will be “taking a look at worlds of economics and politics.” Today, I’ve turned the tables and asked him to take up this very task for the present-day US. The result is a wide-ranging interview on everything from the sluggish economic recovery to Obamacare, the changing character of elites, why (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Has Conservatism Become a Death Cult?

Some day our grandchildren will ask “why?”

They’ll want to know why their grandparents’ generation failed to act against climate change while there was still time to prevent their own generation from getting the worst of it.

That’s how they’re going to judge us; not by how bad, how dangerous, how punishing the environment they have to live in is but rather how much worse is it than it had to be.  And that’s what we’re doing now with our inaction on climate change.  We’re determining how much worse things are going to be for our grandchildren due to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Capitalism Off the Rails

Those at the very top of today’s neoliberal, free-market capitalist, global economy see the writing on the wall – capitalism has just about run its course.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea, isn’t it?  It sure is for me.  Imagine, the economic model around which our society has been structured is bogus.  It is the product of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geo-politics.  It worked for a couple of hundred years, perhaps right up until the early 70s, but it’s now dawning on us that it doesn’t work any more.  It’s lost its (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Focus on China

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/podcast-141102-china.mp3

 

The focus of today’s podcast is China: its development over the past several years, the situation of workers and unions as well as future directions. To get some perspective second largest economy in the world and one still expanding at breakneck, albeit slower, pace, I spoke with two guests: Minqi Li and Cathy Walker.

My first guest is Minqi Li. Minqi is professor of economics at the University of Utah and specializes in China’s economy and offers. He previously taught at York University in Toronto and received his PhD from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

My (Read more…)