Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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Stephen Harper still favours business over big government. So how did that work out after 2008?

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

Day by day, week by week, Trudeau’s government is increasingly making clear that its approach to bailouts will not follow the path taken more than a decade ago, when much of the aid to corporate giants never did filter down as promised to economically devastated citizens. The Occupy movement and its cries against the “one per cent” were a direct result of the frustration and fallout of the 2008 crash and the income inequality it exposed.

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Ottawa should produce vital products — like it did in the Second World War

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

… many companies have signalled a willingness to produce materials for the pandemic. But, without a powerful government agency overseeing production and distribution, we’ve been left scrambling to buy scarce equipment in a chaotic private marketplace, bidding against U.S. states and governments all over the world. If the Trudeau government seems unable to break out of its subservience to the marketplace, some in the labour movement are showing more vision.

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They’re World War deficit levels, but not the biggest or the baddest yet

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

The deficits being projected now look to be roughly 5 to 8 per cent of GDP… The 1984 deficit was 8.1 per cent of GDP, when the economy was recovering from the 1982 recession and interest rates paid on the national debt were high. But in those terms, the deficits are not on the scale of the Second World War, when military production and defence spending pushed the annual deficit to 23 per cent of GDP in 1943. A comparable deficit in 2020 would be nearly $500-billion… Canada has seen worse.

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Keep it quiet, but universal basic income is coming

Friday, March 27th, 2020

The rise of fascism and the Second World War required the creation of the full welfare state (which was previously restricted to meagre old age pensions) to avoid a replay the next time the economy tanked. The current emergency may be fostering the rise of ideas previously seen as too radical to contemplate, but nobody is saying “universal basic income” yet.

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The Legacy of Destructive Austerity

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

There are multiple explanations for the populist rage that has put democracy at risk across the Western world, but the side effects of austerity rank high on the list… If ordinary working families no longer believe that traditional elites know what they’re doing or care about people like them, well, what happened during the austerity years suggests that they’re right.

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In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

NYTimes.com – Opinion December 31, 2019.   Nicholas Kristof Nicholas Kristof: I fear that the news media focuses so relentlessly on bad news that we leave the public believing that every trend is going in the wrong direction If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the […]

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Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Markets are constructed by people, for purposes chosen by people — and people can change the rules. It’s time to discard the judgment of economists that society should turn a blind eye to inequality. Reducing inequality should be a primary goal of public policy.

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Economists of all stripes have for centuries advocated for universal basic income. Here’s why

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Now the UBI is back, supported by an unlikely coalition of allies: progressives eager to renew the “War on Poverty” and libertarian billionaires from Silicon Valley. This is paralleled by enthusiasm overseas… Perhaps there’s room for a grand compromise of the kind envisioned by Mill, Friedman, Galbraith and others: a universal basic income that brings the end of traditional welfare programs. But if UBI becomes yet another hybrid of welfare and workfare, history suggests it’s doomed to fail.

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What Are Capitalists Thinking?

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Back in the days when our economy just grew and grew, we had a government and a capitalist class that invested in our people and their future… And, funny thing, during all this time, socialism didn’t have much appeal. But ever since, the median income picture has been much spottier, hardly increasing at all in inflation-adjusted dollars over 18 long years. And those incomes at the top have shot to the heavens.

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How Factories Made (and Unmade) Us All

Monday, June 18th, 2018

… this becomes a key aspect of the factory. Its purpose is not just to make things cheap, but to make them ever cheaper. When unionized factory workers got too expensive, the companies moved to the south, and then to Mexico, and then to China… The day will surely come when Chinese brands outsource their designs to factories in Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone. And if they ever outsource them to the U.S. or Canada, it will be only when we can offer cheaper labour than the Ethiopians.

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