When the world plunged into recession in 2008, G20 leaders ostentatiously pledged not to repeat the errors of the 1930s. To hasten economic recovery, they would avoid protectionism and keep trade flowing. Canada's government has been among the loudest voices in this free trade chorus.
This is a gross misreading of actual history. World trade collapsed in the 1930s because of collapsing consumer demand, not protectionism; competitive tariffs were a response to that implosion, not its cause. For the same reason, world trade plunged 12 per cent last year, despite the G20 promises.
Parliament is back this week, and its focus this fall will be on what to do about the economy. The first order of business should be reducing unemployment, but the Conservatives are more interested in reducing the deficit.
Want to reduce the government deficit? Raise business investment? Improve the standard of living? Moving to full employment -- a job for everyone who wants one -- is the way to go. Putting more Canadians back to work will ensure the economy improves.
Is the world, including Canada, headed for the third Great Depression, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues? Watching the results of the Toronto G8/G20 meetings was like hearing news that a giant comet is heading for earth and we are just waiting for impact. Those meetings of the world's largest and/or growing economies committed governments to massive deficit reduction in spite of the real concern that we are facing a the possibility of a so-called "double-dip" recession. That possibility is now a certainty.
Blueberry Soup is an extraordinary documentary about the constitutional change in Iceland following the financial crisis of 2008. This is a not-well-known-story of grassroots constitutionalism, which may be a lesson or an inspiration to the rest of the world.
The film is a deeply touching account of an eclectic group of individuals reinventing democracy through the rewriting of the nation's constitution, proving that Iceland is not a broken country but instead an intricate web of concerns, ideas, and ultimately creative solutions.
A new report from Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) on job creation in Canada arrived just as the Prime Minister said Monday he intends the next election to be about jobs and the economy. As part of a study of poverty, CPJ has published a set of fact sheets on job creation in Canada since the 2008 recession. It looks at regional and generational differences, assesses job quality and measures newly created jobs against new job seekers.
Anyone who believes what Conservative cabinet ministers have been repeating about job creation in Canada should read the CPJ fact sheets.
The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills
On March 28, 2012, Giuseppe Campaniello left for work earlier than usual. He would have kissed his wife goodbye, but she was sleeping so peacefully he decided to let her rest.
Campaniello then set off for the Equitalia tax office in his hometown of Bologna, Italy. Once there, he doused himself in petrol and set himself alight. He died nine days later in hospital. Campaniello’s cause of death? Economics.
Just days before, he’d received a final notice from the tax office; doubling a fine he reportedly couldn’t pay, which proved to be the final straw.
Further to my earlier post on the OECD's new data on employment performance across its 34 member countries (and Canada's relatively poor ranking in that regard), another part of the OECD Employment Outlook 2013 that is also worth reading in detail is Chapter 2. It provides a thorough revision and updating of the OECD's quantitative index of EPL intensity.