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| October 5, 2011
Columnists

Challenging the private credit system: Who's bailing whom?

The time since 2008 has been a crucial historical moment for progressive economists to pull back the green curtain that surrounds the operation of the for-profit banking system, and expose that system for what it is: a government-protected, government-subsidized license to print money.

The problem is, as soon as you start saying things like that, people conclude you are some kind of wacked-out conspiracy theorist nut-bar. It sounds insane to claim that private banks have a license to create money out of thin air. As John Kenneth Galbraith put it, "The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled."

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| October 4, 2011
Columnists

No technical recession, not that it matters

Yesterday's GDP numbers (a sprightly gain of 0.3 per cent at basic prices in July) ensure that there will not be a so-called "technical recession" in Canada -- at least, not yet.

Economists have a perverted definition of "recession," whereby it's considered official only if real GDP declines 2 quarters in a row. That's hilariously arbitrary. And the flip side of the coin is even more galling: "recovery" is with us, they say, once real GDP stops contracting and starts growing again. That's why Mark Carney could declare the recession over in July 2009 (when real GDP started to grow again), even though for most Canadians it hasn't stopped feeling like a recession ever since.

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| September 30, 2011
| September 29, 2011
| September 29, 2011
| September 26, 2011
Columnists

Profile of displaced workers

There's an interesting new research report from Statistics Canada, by Ping Ching Winnie Chan, Rene Morissette, and Marc Frenette, profiling the workers who were displaced in the recent recession, and comparing the outcomes to previous recessions in earlier decades (the downturns of the early 1980s and 1990s). Workers Laid Off During the Last Three Recessions is part of StatsCan's Analytical Studies series.

I haven't been through the report in detail and can't comment on the methodology, but here are some of the interesting (and often surprising) findings:

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| September 16, 2011
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