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The Progressive Economics Forum: Indigenous Workers in Canada

Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is less often included in most labour market analysis, and too few know that it is even available.

But if you want to know how racialized workers or Indigenous workers (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples) are doing in the labour force you basically have to rely on the census … oh, wait. And on (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class Jobs

Here’s what really happened in the USA (and Canada?) over the past five or so years: good jobs disappeared and low-paying service jobs replaced them: Nearly half of the new jobs created since 2008 are low-wage jobs, while 80 percent of the jobs destroyed in the government-inflated real-estate bubble were high-wage or medium-wage jobs, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project. In effect, almost 2 million well-paid middle-class jobs have been converted into low-wage blue-collar jobs since January 2008, through the five years of President Barack Obama’s economy, according to the report, titled “The (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class Jobs

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rising Homelessness

In 2010, I wrote a blog post in which I suggested that: a) the recession of 2008-2009 would bring on increased homelessness; and b) there would be a lag effect of roughly three to five years. Indeed, I suggested that it would not be until 2014 until the full effect of the recession is seen in terms of homeless numbers.

Recent data from the City of Toronto appears to lend support to my prediction.

 

The Progressive Economics Forum: IWD 2014: The “girl effect” reduces inequality, but Canada can’t coast on that much longer

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls by, I can’t help but reflect on power, how it’s shared, and how women use the power they have. This year, I am struck by women’s power to reduce inequality, and not just to help ourselves. Women are key to reducing income inequality.

It’s been dubbed the girl effect, more powerful than the Internet, science, the government, and even money.

Canada is actually a poster girl (sorry) for the truth that education and hard work can transform not just lives but societies.

Look around the world and you’ll see a tight relationship (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: What happened to the recovery?

(The following is slightly adapted from a short piece on page 3 in the new issue of Economy at Work, the quarterly publication I produce for CUPE, which also covers a lot of other relevant issues.)

It’s been a little over four years since Canada’s economy bottomed out in mid 2009. While we didn’t suffer as deep a recession as many other countries, growth has been slower than previous recoveries. Many are still waiting for the recovery to take hold.

Stimulus spending ensured that the downturn wasn’t as severe as it could have been and growth was stronger coming (Read more…)

The Political Road Map: Development and Recession: Looking Back To See The Future

Tonight is Friday and while I sit here occupying my time with readings, movies and Youtube, many of you are probably outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather with the company of friends. While outside, I hope you get a chance to look up at the amazing moon, while it isn’t a full moon tonight, it is still clear enough to give you a sense of awe at first glance.

A few weeks ago, major news outlets introduced many Canadians to the Hyperloop, a sky train that essentially utilizes magnets and air flow to travel fast, safe and comfortably. Thought of by (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: I just saw that today, May 5, is the birthday of Karl Heinrich…

I just saw that today, May 5, is the birthday of Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), the German economist, historian, journalist and philosopher. I post this video in honour of the occasion. It’s a bit silly, and I’m not sure of the intentions of the creators, but I’ve been waiting for an appropriate occasion to share it.

I haven’t read any Marx in a very long time, other than passages that other people quote, but his writings are certainly still relevant today, especially in this era of economic collapse, ongoing exploitation of workers, growing inequality and top-down austerity measures.

Marx wasn’t (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Great Divergence or Financialized recovery ?

The IMF’s latest delivery of the World Economic outlook contains an interesting analysis of the current “non” recovery in terms of a divergence between fiscal and monetary policy, the first between restrictive and procyclical in nature and the second being accommodating and reinforcing a financial expansion. As argued here by the IMF economists who worked on this issue, the “great” divergence then is between a stagnating productive economy punished by austerity and a booming financial economy supported by quantitative easing and real low interest rates ? I’ve read here and there analysis of the divergence by a number of commentators, the (Read more…) and most interesting being this column by Gavin Davies in the FT,

and I’m wondering if this is what a “Financialized recovery” looks like.

I’ll be udpdating this post later with data on Canada, in the mean time here are 4 charts taken from the WEO report, . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Great Divergence or Financialized recovery ?

The Ranting Canadian: This anti-Thatcher song is “We Rule OK” by the…

This anti-Thatcher song is “We Rule OK” by the working-class Oi! band The Last Resort. Some right-wingers try to claim this band as one of their own, but that is not accurate. The Last Resort are patriotic and pro-working class, not Conservatives or fascists. Here are the lyrics.

We Rule OK

The government policies are out of handThey ain’t got a clue how to run this landMargaret Thatcher the stupid old bitchTakes from the poor and gives to the rich

She thinks we can’t see her planTo kill the spirit of the working class manMake (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: In grade 9 or 10 French class, we had an assignment to write a…

In grade 9 or 10 French class, we had an assignment to write a page of text in French and accompany it with some graphics. I chose to write about the French Revolution, and for the picture, I cut out magazine photos of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney and used them to represent the French aristocrats getting their heads cut off by guillotines. I learned much later that my teacher reported this to the vice-principal, concerned that I was disturbed and violent. She was way off base, and when the vice-principal contacted my parents, they told him so.

. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: In grade 9 or 10 French class, we had an assignment to write a…

drive-by planet: Capitalism is self-destructing: Richard Wolff on the ways

It doesn’t require a Trotskyist or a laid off worker to tell you that capitalism isn’t working. Not only does it not work, it is destroying societies… it is destroying lives, incomes and empowering a tiny elite, who never seem to fail, go broke or go to jail. Well, when they do go broke governments bail them out with your money so they can continue their rapacious ways. It’s called capitalism – and it is in deep trouble.

Richard D Wolff is a professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Capitalism is self-destructing: Richard Wolff on the ways

The Disaffected Lib: Will Climate Change Drive Britain Back Into Recession?

Britain’s Tory government is hoping desperately to avoid a “triple dip” recession on its watch.   The Cameron government eked out a 0.1% growth for the three months ending March 1st, about as slender a margin as they come.

Recently, however, the British Isles have been plunged into a deep freeze that researchers are now attributing to atmospheric changes triggered by the loss of Arctic sea ice.   Now it seems the cold snap could plunge Britain into yet another recession, the “triple dip.”

…amid reports of empty shopping malls, closed schools and factory shutdowns, analysts said the

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Will Climate Change Drive Britain Back Into Recession?

The Scott Ross: Cold Conservatism & Canada Without A Jacket

Most Canadian kids don’t leave home without their mother telling them, “Don’t forget your jacket.” Always offering the reminder so her child doesn’t catch a cold. Canada may not have a mother looking out for us, at least on this continent, but Stephen Harper is a big boy and he should know better that in this cold global economic environment our country should be better insulated.

Protecting Canada from the worsening global economy would not mean staying home and reducing trade, it would mean the opposite, improving trade without being vulnerable to every cold breeze. In fact if Stephen

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Cold Conservatism & Canada Without A Jacket

The Scott Ross: If A Fiscal Cliff Kills, Canada Should Tax Death

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin

The fiscal cliff in the United States did not just endanger its own country’s economy but the world’s, including Canada’s heavily dependent one. But in the American problem lies, at least partially, a Canadian solution: an estate tax.

The inability for Democrats and Republicans to prevent the fiscal cliff and the current uncertainty relating to the world’s largest economy is threatening the fledgling global recovery.

Canada, a country whose economy is always extremely vulnerable to external crises, is now only more so.

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: If A Fiscal Cliff Kills, Canada Should Tax Death

The Progressive Economics Forum: State of the BC Economy

As we close out 2012, BC finds itself in some precarious economic waters. To recap, a massive housing bubble that built up through the naughties (2000s) finally burst in 2008, feeding a financial crisis, as extremely loose (some would say fraudulent) lending practices pushed housing prices up to spectacular, never-seen-before levels, and created a plague of toxic mortgage-based assets. The inevitable collapse of that bubble triggered our current context of depression economics; that is, a major drop in the value of housing assets on the balance sheets of many millions, making people poorer and undercutting their other consumption (in the

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: State of the BC Economy

Yappa Ding Ding: A Keynesian Cliff

When we have a recession and there’s a call for stimulus, a lot of people – especially on the right – dispute the effectiveness of Keynesian economics. People like Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty were so ideologically committed to small government that as we entered recession in 2008 they tried to cut spending… resulting in a threatened coalition and subsequent prorogation, with crisis averted only when Harper gave in to opposition demands to enact a stimulus package.

Throughout this recent recession, many on the right argued that deficit-cutting must be the priority. They didn’t care that the (Read more…)

Politics and Entertainment: Canada’s economy in a stall, StatsCan reports

There’s every chance we’ll have at least a technical recession in the fourth quarter given these statistics: “The economy slumped to 0.6 per cent in the third quarter — below even the gloomy 0.8 consensus and about one-third what t… . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Canada’s economy in a stall, StatsCan reports

drive-by planet: N14 anti-austerity ‘day of protest’ across Europe: pictures and video links

Millions across Europe turned out November 14 in an anti-austerity ‘day of protest and solidarity.’ The coordinated protests are happening at a time when Europe is headed back into recession as determined by economic indicators, although there have… . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: N14 anti-austerity ‘day of protest’ across Europe: pictures and video links

RedBedHead: Why Are The Tories Pushing Canada Into Recession?

Remember how the Tories are the party you want to vote for in tough economic times because they’re great managers and willing to make the tough decisions? Remember all that stuff?

Yeah, well, the Tories are poking holes in the Canadian economy faster than the rest of us can bail.

Two figures tell the tale. The first relates to the government’s quiet austerity. At a time when, if anything, the

CuriosityCat: This recession has cost you $12,000 per year

Vicious circle?

Very interesting article which puts into numbers the cost of the financial meltdown and the recession:

In much of the industrial world, what started as a financial problem is becoming a structural one. If growth in the US and Europe had been maintained at its average rate from 1990 to 2007, gross domestic product would have been between 10 and 15 per cent higher today and more than 15 per cent higher by 2015 on credible projections. Of course, this calculation may be misleading because global GDP in 2007 was inflated by the same factors that created financial . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: This recession has cost you $12,000 per year

CuriosityCat: Mitt Romney’s failure: The Recession is Not Enough

Seems American voters want more than simply I am not the other guy from their presidential contenders, even when the country is suffering from a deep recession with high unemployment, which should doom the incumbent president:

In their seminal book, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff provide extensive data on the recovery time from financial crises with similar attributes to the 2008 collapse. They describe the patterns of events and the rationale for policy responses in detail, and their data suggests that the 2008 collapse is far from unique. . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Mitt Romney’s failure: The Recession is Not Enough

An individual with opinions.: Canadian mythology: Bob Rae, NDP and socialists to blame for Ontario’s deficit.

One of Canada’s enduring mythologies is that during the NDP reign in Ontario from 1990 to 1995 a whole plethora of woe was inflicted as the result of Bob Rae and his mismanagement. Most people point to the fact that during that time the deficit of Ontario increased quite a bit – this is true.

A common article for the Toronto Sun outlines this: Rae tripled Ontario’s deficit to $9.7 billion and raised taxes in his first budget in 1991, saying he was proud to fight the recession rather than the deficit.

 But, to be fair, Rae was facing (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Incomes Flat in “Recovery Year” of 2010

Today’s Statscan release of income data for 2010 allow for a backward glance at the state of the recovery.

What is most striking is that – following two years of flat income growth in 2008 and 2009 – there was no meaningful economic recovery for most Canadians in 2010. Median earnings (half earned more, half earned less) were slightly down (from $29,300 to $29,100) and median income after tax of economic families of two persons and more was up a mere $100, from $65,400 to $65,500. This is somewhat surprising given that 2010 was marked by a modest fall in

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Incomes Flat in “Recovery Year” of 2010

Art Threat: Ghosts with Shit Jobs – Is this $4,000 “lo-fi sci-fi” the future of Canadian Filmmaking?

It is the year 2040. China is the world’s dominant economic power, while North America’s decline has forced most of its citizens into degrading and menial jobs. In Toronto, two “silk-gatherers” collect and sell “spiz,” the remnants of secretions from giant arachnoids. Other jobs of the future include “digital janitor,” “baby-maker” and “human spam.” Such is the premise of a new Canadian film, Ghosts With Shit Jobs, premiered this week in London, England, and produced for only $4,000.

Is this “lo-fi sci-fi” the future of Canadian filmmaking? If the Harper government gets its way, corporate entertainment or art-on-a-shoestring

. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Ghosts with Shit Jobs – Is this $4,000 “lo-fi sci-fi” the future of Canadian Filmmaking?

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