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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jerry Dias discusses how the Cons have pushed Canada into an avoidable recession by slashing useful funding in order to send out pre-election baubles: How far has Canada’s economic star fallen? Only recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted that Canada’s economy was “the envy of the entire world.” That claim was always overstated. Now it is downright ludicrous.

The Bank of Canada cut interest rates for the second time this year, but few expect this to pull us out of the tailspin. After all, Canadians are already tapped out: household debt now (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Christopher Majka reviews Henry Mintzberg’s Rebalancing Society as a noteworthy discussion of the need for balance between the public, private and “plural” sectors. And David Madland is pleased to see the U.S.’ Democrats finally fighting back against the view that the corporate sector is the only one worth favouring through government.

- But there’s far more to be done in putting the public back in public policy – particularly when, as Bill Tieleman points out, we’re being asked to accept more and more strict “trade” agreements designed to ensure (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matthew Brown and Matt Volz report on the latest oil train derailment in North Dakota. Justin Giovannetti discusses how fracking is leading to regular earthquakes in previously-stable parts of Alberta – which looks doubly dangerous given the presence of pipelines in the affected area. Garret Ellison examines Enbridge’s blithe disregard for the safety of 60-year-old pipelines which it wants to keep operating indefinitely. And Chris Mooney comments on the link between climate change and wildfires.

- All of which leads nicely to Tzeporah Berman’s point that we need to start a real (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Before the fall

Shorter Brad Wall: The whole concept of “From many peoples, strength” doesn’t do much for me. But “From many dinosaur remains, climate devastation”, now that gets me – and any right-thinking Westerner – all tingly with pride.

Bill Longstaff: I know you have to say that stuff, Rachel, but still ….

At a recent speech to international investors in Calgary, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley described the tar sands as “a tremendous asset” and an “international showpiece.” Hearing my premier and the leader of my party describe the tar sands as a tremendous asset makes me cringe. They are indeed an international showpiece, but not the kind we should be bragging about.

Ms. Notley is a very bright

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thomas Lemieux and W. Craig Riddell examine Canada’s income distribution and find that one’s place in the 1% is based primarily on rent-seeking rather than merit: (I)n Canada, as in the United States, executives and others working in the financial and business services sectors have been driving the growth in top incomes. Unlike in the United States, however, the oil and gas sector has also played an important role in income growth at the top, especially in more recent years, and holders of medical degrees have lost ground. Their results for engineers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Dayen explains how fiscal policy intended to ensure growth for everybody is instead sending all of its benefits to the top end of the income scale – and thus failing to ensure any growth at all: (L)et’s examine how central banks try to revive economies. They mainly try to lower interest rates in a variety of ways. This entices consumers to borrow cheaply, spurring more economic activity. Plus, consumers can refinance into lower interest rates on their current loans, saving them money that they could choose to spend. Without high returns from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On end dates

There’s no doubt that Stephen Harper characteristically did everything in his power to put off any meaningful international action on climate change. But it’s worth noting that his procrastination only resulted in a more definitive statement from the G7 as to where the global economy is ultimately headed: Mindful of this goal and considering the latest IPCC results, we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.

Of course, that common destination might be reached in one of two ways. On that front, we (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Heather Stewart writes about the OECD’s study showing the connection between increasingly precarious work and worsening inequality. 

- Tara Deschamps reports on a few of the challenges facing poor Torontonians, while Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Laurie Monsebraaten cover the United Way’s report card showing that most workers are now stuck in precarious work. And Star offers a few policy suggestions to improve that situation, while Ella Bedard points out how Andrew Cash is pushing for solutions at the federal level.

- Edward Keenan writes that it’s long past time to stop relying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Time for some adult supervision

The latest Con dodge on greenhouse gas emission regulations for the oil and gas industry is to say that they’ll promise to deal with a few collateral activities, just as long as actual production continues to receive a free pass: Aglukkaq also announced new rules to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, such as industrial leaks and gas flares, which makes up a significant portion of the industry’s total emissions.

Notably omitted, of course, is the rest of the industry’s total emissions.

So how does that painful level of parsing to avoid what has to be done (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: What’s next for Alberta?

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/podcast150515-alberta-election.mp3

 

This episode focuses on what else but the recent Alberta provincial election that saw the social democratic NDP sweep into power after 44 consecutive years of Conservative rule. To gain some perspective on this rather remarkable result in Canada’s oil and gas heartland and see what lies ahead for Alberta, I speak with an NDP campaign insider as well as a long-time analyst of Alberta’s political economy.

My first guest, Adrienne King, was Rachel Notley’s Chief of Staff during the campaign and was just announced as the new premier’s Deputy Chief of Staff. She’s worked (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Branko Milanovic discusses how rent theory fits into the glaring gap between productivity and wages: Bob Solow explored a couple of days ago another possibility. Going back to his own initial work on the theory of growth, some 60 years ago, Solow asked the following question: why did we assume that there is perfect competition and that factors are paid their perfect completion marginal products? We knew, continued Solow, that there were monopolies; moreover, the theory of imperfect competition (Chamberlin and Joan Robinson) existed since the 1930s. Solow said: “I could not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lynne Fernandez properly labels the Cons’ federal budget as the “inequality budget”. Andrew Jackson discusses how we’ve ended up in a new Gilded Age in Canada, and what we can do to extricate ourselves from it. And BC BookLook reviews Andrew MacLeod’s new book on inequality by pointing out some of the important facts which seldom seem to surface elsewhere.

- Speaking of which, Andrew Nikiforuk exposes how the Alberta PCs handed the oil industry $13 billion in free money by failing to correct a miscalculation as to how royalties would change with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bill McKibben argues that Bernie Sanders’ run for the presidency should have massive positive impacts extending far beyond both Sanders’ central theme of inequality, and international borders to boot. And Salon interviews Joseph Stiglitz as to how inequality and the economy will affect the 2016 presidential campaign.

- Hannah Giorgis writes that a more fair economic system is a must in order to address historical racial inequities in the U.S.: To stifle a community slowly, without the decisive replay value of a chokehold, you criminalize poverty while withholding the resources needed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Ladner discusses why our tax and fiscal policies should be designed to reduce inequality – rather than exacerbating it as the Cons are determined to do: Right now, the richest 20% of Canadian families hold almost 70% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 20% are in a debt position. A CCPA study found that Canada’s wealthiest 86 people have the same net worth as the poorest 34%. Those of us with capital are adding these new breaks to existing tax breaks for capital gains, taxed at about half the rate of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: What you know in the PMO

Obviously, the revelation that Mike Duffy saw his job in the Senate as including a role as a publicly-funded lobbyist for the climate denial movement raises a whole new set of questions about the Cons’ misuse of public resources. And if, say Enbridge is being at all honest in its own public spin, Stephen Harper was well aware of what was going on: Duffy’s conversations with Enbridge officials [between January and June 2012] aren’t listed in the company’s lobbying registrations. However, in an email to CBC News, Enbridge’s vice-president of enterprise communications called those conversations “unsolicited.”

“Senator Duffy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan discusses the utter failure of past trade agreements to live up to their promises, making it all the more unclear why we should be prepared to accept a new wave of even more inflexible restrictions against democratic decision-making. The trade and investment liberalization regime led to rapid and relentless restructuring of North American corporate ownership by opening the door to the two largest merger waves in Canadian history. On the world stage, these merger waves led to higher levels of Canadian corporate ownership abroad. Domestically, heightened amalgamation activity created larger Canadian-based (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford kicks off the must-read responses to the Cons’ budget with a modest list of five points deserving of public outrage, while PressProgress identifies seven points where the Cons’ spin is far out of touch with reality. Citizens for Public Justice notes that climate change and poverty are among the important issues which don’t rate so much as a mention in the Cons’ plan for an entire term in office, while Jorge Barrera reports that First Nations were also conspicuously omitted other than some cynical re-announcements. Angella MacEwen points out that any (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Dana Nuccitelli discusses new research into the real costs of fossil fuels which aren’t reflected in the sticker price for a dirty energy economy: A new paper published in Climatic Change estimates that when we account for the pollution costs associated with our energy sources, gasoline costs an extra $3.80 per gallon, diesel an additional $4.80 per gallon, coal a further 24 cents per kilowatt-hour, and natural gas another 11 cents per kilowatt-hour that we don’t see in our fuel or energy bills.

…Shindell estimates carbon pollution costs us $32 per (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need and opportunity to show some vision in our provincial budgeting and planning – even if the Wall government has no interest in bothering.

For further reading…- I posted previously on the Sask Party’s habit of locking Saskatchewan into ill-advised long-term contracts which serve nobody’s interests but the corporations involved. – Karri Munn-Venn discusses the UK Energy Research Centre’s report on which fossil fuels we can afford to exploint here. – Likewise, Ivan Semeniuk and Shawn McCarthy report on the Acting on Climate Change study showing how Canada can eliminate the use of non-renewable power (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emily Badger discusses Robert Putnam’s work on the many facets of increasing inequality in the U.S.: For the past three years, Putnam has been nursing an outlandish ambition. He wants inequality of opportunity for kids to be the central issue in the 2016 presidential election. Not how big government should be or what the “fair share” is for the wealthy, but what’s happening to children boxed out of the American dream.

His manifesto, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” will be published Tuesday. It places brain science, sociology (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michal Rozworski reminds us that while a shift toward precarious work may represent an unwanted change from the few decades where labour prospered along with business, it’s all too familiar from a historical perspective: (P)recarity is what it means to have nothing to sell but your labour power, to use Marx’s turn of phrase. Taken in this sense, precarity is wide-spread: today, the bottom 40% of Canadians today own a measly 2% of national wealth and the bottom 60% own just over 10%. The fact of owning relative peanuts gives precarity an (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Alan Rusbridger explains the Guardian’s much-appreciated effort to provide both space and analysis of the need to fight climate change. And Naomi Klein makes the case for a Marshall plan-style response to transition the world to a sustainable society, while highlighting the need for a public push to make that happen.

- Meanwhile, Jim Stanford discusses the fallout from the Cons’ single-minded obsession with oil development. And Thomas Walkom calls out their blatant attempt to avoid discusses the economy now that they’ve left it sputtering.

- On that front, Edward Keenan writes that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Carol Graham discusses the high financial and personal costs of poverty: Reported stress levels are higher on average in the U.S. than in Latin America. Importantly, the gap between the levels of the rich and poor is also much greater, with the U.S. poor reporting the highest levels of stress of all cohorts. Of course ‘stress’ is a complex phenomenon, however: “Good” stress is associated with the pursuit of goals, while “bad” stress is associated with struggling to cope. Bad stress, which is associated with an inability to plan ahead, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan counters the Cons’ spin on tax-free savings accounts. And Rob Carrick points out that raising the limit on TFSAs would forfeit billions of desperately-needed dollars to benefit only the wealthiest few in Canada: TFSAs are Swiss army knives – a financial knife, corkscrew, screwdriver and more. But doubling the annual contribution limit of $5,500 is a bad idea.

Message to the federal government: Please don’t, because we can’t afford it.…A report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer this week says the federal government would lose $14.7-billion a year in (Read more…)