Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Progressive Economics Forum: Judging the Odds for an “Election Recession”

Canada’s first-quarter GDP report was not just “atrocious,” as predicted by Stephen Poloz. It was downright negative: total real GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6% (fastest pace of decline since the 2008-09 recession). Nominal GDP fell faster (annualized rate of 3%), as deflation took hold across the broader production economy (led, of course, by energy prices).

This sets the stage for a politically explosive second-quarter report, which will be released by Statistics Canada on September 1. The official definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth. This (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Is another recession on its way?

Is another recession on its way?

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian University

Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

 

Canada’s economy shrank in the first quarter by a whopping 0.6%. Is this the beginning of a new recession?

Recessions of course are defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Now we learn today that Canada’s economy shrank between January and March, the biggest decline in GDP since 2009, and the first contraction in the last four years. In fact, the economy contracted in all three months. It is even more dramatic when you think that Q4 2014 registered a (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Seniors are not a good reason for doubling TFSA limit

After years of being promised whenever the federal books got balanced, it looks like the next Harper budget is indeed going to double the contribution for Tax Free Savings Accounts. This policy has long been criticized – including by me – for being a policy that disproportionately provides advantages for the rich. Indeed, the number of people capable of putting aside over $10k in savings per year while working are fairly limited. Today in parliament, Finance Minister Joe Oliver has hit back against these criticisms, effectively pointing out that there is another big group of people who are already (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Even the Fraser Institute Can’t Look the Other Way But It Can’t Tell the Truth Either.

There’s a bumper sticker line that could double for the provincial motto of Alberta:  Dear God, Please Give Us One More Oil Boom and, This Time, We Promise We Won’t Piss It Away.Now, with another boom gone bust, Alberta has fallen back into a raging deficit and even the uber-Right Fraser Institute can’t bite its tongue although it can’t face facts either.  Naturally, the neo-liberal Fraser Institute sees workers’ wages, especially government workers’ wages, as the culprit.

Ten years ago, before the boom started in earnest, Alberta spent $8,965 (in 2013 dollars) per person in program spending. (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.

You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police powers. But could this move hide a more cynical purpose? Can there be an ulterior motive?

I think there is, and the reason is quite simple. It’s the economy. Seven years after the beginning of the crisis, and 4 years (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Seccareccia on Greece, Austerity and the Eurozone

Over at the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ottawa U professor Mario Seccareccia has given an interview titled “Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?”

The interview can be read here.

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 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