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Soviet-IMF chic

Photo: Agathe B/Flickr

Clearly the entire economics establishment, with about a million people on the planet involved in some aspect of economic analysis, planning, risk management, and forecasting, turned out to be turkeys owing to the simple mistake of not understanding the structure of Extremistan, complex systems, and hidden risks, while relying on idiotic measures and forecasts -- all this in spite of past experience, as these things have never worked before.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb


The Black Swan: Part 1

Photo: Gerard Van der Leun/Flickr

If a turkey had philosophical ability, it might argue that life just gets better and better. The steadily fattening fowl would have evidence for this point of view because each day would bring with it more and more delicious fare. Every night it would go to bed feeling sated and eager for the next morning when the pleasures of the previous day would be repeated or even heightened. The reflective bird could confirm its optimism via the inductive method: empirical study would demonstrate an increase in nourishment, from which would follow the logical generalization that life was a process of ever-expanding fulfillment.

April 3, 2013 |
In this year's speakers series Ahnan and Jennifer Moore discuss how they are advocating for just and sustainable development in their communities.

Investing in our local economy

February 16, 2013
| Michael Shuman is the author of a number of books, including most recently Local Dollars, Local Sense. Shuman says we our communities will be stronger and richer if we spend more at local businesses.
Length: 1:05:11 minutes (59.68 MB)

Economists, conflicts of interest and a plea to journalists

Photo: tjdewey/Flickr

When your doctor prescribes medication, you need to trust that you are getting the best, unbiased medical advice possible. If those pills just happened to be sold by the pharmaceutical company that gives your doc lucrative freebies, you might be skeptical about that choice of medication. You'd also want to know if the research recommending those pills was paid for by the pill's manufacturer.

This is not rocket science, folks. Medical professionals should 'fess up to any conflicts of interest so that the public can assess whether their advice or research is compromised. Transparency about conflicts of interest in medicine is far from perfect, but we all realize that this ethical principle is the cornerstone of the public's faith in medical advice and research.

Book review: Thieves of Bay Street

Thieves of Bay Street: How Banks, Brokerages and the Wealthy Steal Billions from Canadians

by Bruce Livesey
(Random House Canada,

The Harper government claims that Canada's finance industry is stable and well regulated. In Thieves of Bay Street journalist Bruce Livesey makes the case that the Canadian government and the courts turn a blind eye to scams, rip-offs and blatant frauds by brokers, investment houses, banks and corporate executives.

Livesey -- who has worked for CBC, PBS, and the New York Times -- reminds readers of the billions lost by investors in Bre-X, Principal Trust and Sino-Forest Products. He makes the case that brokers, investment dealers and banks who defraud their clients rarely face criminal charges. He points to the failure of securities commissions in Canada to bring charges against Conrad Black and David Radler.



Women's earnings in B.C. less than national average

January 25, 2013
| A recent report finds that women in B.C. not only earn less than men but also earn less than women in other parts of Canada. Marjorie Griffin Cohen is author of the report.
Length: 16:46 minutes (15.36 MB)

What to expect in 2013

Change the conversation, support today.

The great French novelist Gustave Flaubert famously declared pleasure "as found first in anticipation, and later in memory."

A New Year brings anticipation -- of the unforeseen. We can expect pleasures ... and be sure of uncertainties. The future will include memories of the past, and, yes, promises to bring us more of the same.

Daniel Tseghay

Rising inequality driven by corporate Canada

| December 26, 2012

Why the 'fiscal cliff' is a terrible metaphor and the U.S. needs an adult conversation on taxes

| November 13, 2012
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