Will The Juncker Commission Continue To Entrench Neoliberal Policies?.
A few days ago, the designated European Commission finally showed its true colours: It wants to make sure that its economic policy recommendations become enforceable. Deregulation of rent setting systems, adjusting the retirement age to account for life expectancy and increased flexibility in wage-setting mechanisms were mere recommendations in 2014. That is supposed to change now. Its instruments are the competitiveness pacts 2.0 and a separate budget for the Euro area, even though there is no legal basis for such a measure. A decision is going to be made at (Read more…)
It seems to be an unavoidable part of neoliberalism – the sense of being ruled, not governed by consent. It’s the degradation of democracy, the detachment of the rulers from the ruled that is paralleled by the compression of the political spectrum so that one party becomes largely indistinguishable from the others, all of them in service to the corporate state.
The good news and the bad news is that this modern political caste, grey suits stuffed with wet cardboard, inevitably spawns populist movements but they can either be more democratic or more authoritarian. As we saw in (Read more…)
An excellent overview of the Scottish referendum on independence, which is happening today, was just pointed out to me by a friend – and, we should note that the referendum has great significance all around the world, and not only for the Scots. The article is well worth two minutes of your time to read, I […]
Some thoughts for this, Labour Day.The voice of the people. Oh, how long has it been since that really meant anything? In Canada and many other advanced countries, polls show that people are being governed without much if any regard to their views, their concerns.
It’s sort of like standing, waiting at the civic bus stop for a bus that just keeps passing you by.
Canadians want action on climate change. Are they going to get it? No. Canadians want action on inequality. Are they going to get it? Don’t be ridiculous.
The American people utterly loathe their federal (Read more…)
This post has been evolving for quite a long time. However, in the last few days, a series of pieces have been published which bring together several threads of thought that I have been exploring for the last several years.
There has long been a degree of bigotry and racism underlying modern day conservative ideologies. At a glance, it appears to have its roots in the politics of religious literalism and the desire for simple, black-and-white explanations of the world in which we live. My thinking on this matter has clarified enormously in the last few days.
The first (Read more…)
Henry Giroux argues that we must perceive democracy as a culture and shake off the cloak of neoliberalism by which it has been subverted. Excerpts from his essay, “Beyond the Spectacle of Neoliberal Misery and Violence in the Age of Terrorism”:
American culture is beset with what I want to call the spectacle of catastrophes, which move between the registers of transgressive excess and extreme violence, and in doing so exhaust their shock value, degenerating into escapist entertainment, while furthering a state of ethical and political paralysis given the widespread cynicism that has become the modus operandi of neoliberal (Read more…)
While Stephen Harper’s attacks on charities have been followed here and elsewhere, the Star presents a good overview of how the offices of the CRA have been subverted by a vindictive regime that brooks no opposition to its neoliberal agenda.
The article begins with the egregious case of CoDevelopment Canada, a small Vancouver charity that works with its Latin American partners in helping to fund programs that assist the poor. Apparently, if that assistance threatens to upset the corporate status quo, a crime has been committed in Harperland.
One of CoDev’s Latin American partners is the Maria Elena Cuadra (Read more…)
When ever I read another article and view another series of photographs of the carnage Israel has inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza and then think of the Netanyahu apologists, Trudeau and Mulcair, I despise them and any party that would tolerate much less follow their views. That these two greasy opportunists haven’t been tossed to the street for their blatant pandering tells me all I need to know about the Liberal Party and the New Democrats.
Our general election is less than a year away, possibly much sooner if Harper sees a window of opportunity in which to (Read more…)
Neoliberalism, sometimes known as “market fundamentalism”, is the scourge of our age. It infests our federal politics. Stephen Harper is a disciple. Mulcair and Trudeau may be somewhat less neoliberal but it’s a matter of degree and it ain’t much.
Neoliberalism is a path littered with flawed assumptions and empty promises. It is a cancer that eats away at social cohesion, that drives inequality that itself arises mainly out of privilege and unjust government largesse from tax favouritism to outright gifting of public property. It is the engine of economic feudalism.
Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has additional insights into the (Read more…)
Modern neoliberalism, of the Hayek and Friedman schools, has been defined as “capitalism with the gloves off.” Today it’s a term associated with laissez-faire capitalism, deregulation and free trade.
Neoliberalism has made deep inroads into our federal body politic. Stephen Harper is a disciple. Our opposition leaders appear less neoliberal than their prime minister but it could be argued that is a matter of degree.
Few dare mention it but the spread of neoliberalism has ushered in the rise of corporatism at the direct expense of social democracy. Nowhere is this more obvious than at our Head Office, (Read more…)
I hope you didn’t miss it. The events of the past month in that distant corner of the world, the mid-east, shone a light of fierce brilliance on our own Canada that exposed an ugly side of our country for all to see who would not look the other way.
What was laid bare was the extent to which neo-liberalism has captured our politics. What we were shown was how the governing Conservatives lead and, worse yet, how the supposedly progressive alternatives meekly fell into line. We witnessed the Liberals and New Democrats fecklessly abandon the very principles they once (Read more…)
It’s relatively common knowledge that employer-run pensions have been scaled back over the past few decades. I’ve decided to dig some data on pensions for this post to see just how this has taken place in Canada, motivated by a just-released analysis of US pension reform that finds contradictions in how US workers have come to take on more and more of the risk for their retirement income.
First, a bit of background. There are two main kinds of employer-administered pension funds: defined benefit (DB) plans – where retirees receive a set monthly income, or defined benefit – and defined (Read more…)
We all know that average Americans have been reeling financially since the Great Recession. We know that the post-recession recovery has gone mainly to the richest of the rich and, this time, it’s pretty clear there’s been no ‘trickle down’ to the plebes.
A new study by the Russell Sage Foundation in conjunction with Stanford University shows the hit ordinary American families have taken since the recession. In 2003, the median American household wealth stood at $87,992. A decade later that figure had plummeted to just $56,335. In other words, ordinary Americans (the median family) became 36% poorer in the (Read more…)
The science on the theory of climate change is not settled. There is a powerful, scientific consensus that anthropogenic or man-made climate change is real, here now and worsening. There is a powerful, scientific consensus that man-made climate change is already triggering natural feedback mechanisms that eventually can become “tipping points” beyond which we will have runaway global warming. Runaway as in all the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to stop it.
For all of that, the science isn’t settled. That much is obvious from the tsunami of research studies that keep pouring in from (Read more…)
It’s easy to overestimate the importance of the tar sands to the Canadian economy. Tar sands and their pipelines are after all hailed by the ruling Conservatives, sections of the business press and the ever-present oil lobby as this young century’s “nation-building” project. Yet, a survey recently making the rounds highlights the relative unimportance of the tar sands to Canada’s overall economy: while most Canadians overestimate the importance of the tar sands and 41% are guess that the tar sands account for 12 %to 48% of Canada’s GDP, the reality is that they directly contribute a mere 2% to our (Read more…)
EU officials plotted IMF attack to bring rebellious Italy to its knees – Telegraph Blogs.
The revelations about EMU skulduggery are coming thick and fast. Tim Geithner recounts in his book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises just how far the EU elites are willing to go to save the euro, even if it means toppling elected leaders and eviscerating Europe’s sovereign parliaments.
Filed under: Austerity, Crisis, Democracy, Europe Tagged: Democracy, Eurozone Crisis, Italy, neoliberalism
I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to go to a school where there wasn’t a regular community of teachers who knew each other and watched me […]
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, finance, neoliberalism, Spain
As usual, on the rare occasion that the IMF actually understands the destructive nature of austerity policies, it is too little too late.
IMF Urges Redistribution To Tackle Growing Inequality.
Washington – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is wading strongly into the global debate over the impact of growing income inequality, offering a series of controversial findings that push back on long-held economic orthodoxy – of which the fund itself has long been a key proponent.
The IMF, arguably the world’s premiere financial institution, is stating unequivocally that income inequality “tends to reduce the pace and durability” of economic growth. (Read more…)
Filed under: Austerity, Greece, inequality, Neoliberalism Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Greece, neoliberalism
The New Wave of Financial Instability
by MIKE WHITNEY
Global stocks were hammered on Friday for a second straight day on news of a slowdown in China and turbulence in emerging markets. The Dow Jones Industrials suffered its worse drubbing in more than two years, tumbling 318 points on Friday to end a 490 point two-day rout. Emerging markets currencies were whipsawed by capital flight as foreign investors fled to the safety of U.S. Treasuries. Turkey’s lira and the Argentine peso were particularly hard hit setting record lows in the 48 hour period. The scaling back of the Fed’s (Read more…)
“Privatizing gains and socializing losses” could be the motto for the neoliberal era. Alongside this and “there is no alternative”, few slogans better capture the ideology that has been so successfully diffused throughout the world over the past several decades.
Five years after latest financial crisis, this motto rings true as ever. To say that the losses stemming from the crisis were large is a heroic understatement; indeed, not only were they humongous, their exact size remains a tad fuzzy. Meanwhile, across the world in the aftermath of the crisis, stock markets have rebounded, wealth and income inequalities have grown (Read more…)
Were I of Dr. Pangloss’ rosy outlook and believed that this is the best of all possible worlds, I might have some sympathy for people like Industry Minister James Moore who, as most will probably have heard, recently opined that it is not his job to feed his neighbour’s child, an inapt remark for which he subsequently apologized.
He did add, at the time of his original offending remarks, that “We’ve neven been wealthier as a country than we are right now. Never been wealthier,” and boasted of his government’s job-creation program.
And therein lies the problem. Mr. Moore and (Read more…)
The past few days have not been great for public services in Canada. Canada Post will be phasing out home delivery of mail. Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan was scuttled at the finance ministers’ meeting. In the grand scheme of things, however, these are not extreme cutbacks. It’s not as if Canada Post is to be dismantled completely or our public pension fund to run completely dry. This government has long brought us death by a thousand paper cuts and those from the past days are just a continuation of the strategy.
There is a particular common thread that (Read more…)