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Vancouver Participatory Economics Collective

This is the blog for the Vancouver ParEcon Collective. Posts are made by collective members, regarding participatory economics, vision, strategy and related issues.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Market myths exploded

"When scientific studies like Robert Lane’s The Loss of Happiness in Market Societies (Yale, 2000) show that population satisfaction declines across the first world as income and commodity consumption rise above a certain level, the message does not compute to economists or policy makers."

On Z Net, John McMurtry deftly demolishes some cherished myths of the market. This essay is reminiscent of Daly and Cobb's classic book, For the Common Good. In that book, the authors show (amongst other things) that an open system, i.e. one that has infinite growth potential, like a market economy, CANNOT exist for long within a closed system, i.e. our ecology.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mergers and acquisitions = 20% of GDP

"If workers’ wages grow by more than 2 percent, the Bank of Canada clamps down hard. But in business, nobody questions an 'inflation rate' of 100 percent or more in the market for corporate control. What does this say about our economic priorities?"

Jim Stanford, author of a great book called "Paper Boom" a few years ago, takes a look at M&A (mergers and acquisitions) here (taken from hist piece in the Globe & Mail. He notes that M&A acitivity last year in Canada was worth $270 billion while business spent just $170 billion on capital investment. And it is the resource sector which is the driving force behind this trend.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Canada stands out as a low-wage country"

The reason for our consistent child poverty

Perusing a submission to the federal government by Campaign 2000 regarding the Canada Labour Code:
"A persistently deficient labour market is the major structural source of child poverty in Canada. Until the mid-1990s, child poverty generally rose and fell with the unemployment rate. Starting in 1995, however, the child poverty rate continued to go up even after the unemployment rate went down. A full-time job stopped being a guaranteed escape from poverty.
"Canada stands out as a low-wage country, second only to the U.S. among industrialized countries. Almost one in four workers, or 2 million adults, are in low wage employment in Canada. This compares to 1 in 20 in Sweden, or 1 in 8 in Germany. Low paid is defined as earning less than two-thirds of the national median hourly wage. In Canada, this is less than $10 an hour...
"Campaign 2000 recommends that the Canada Labour Code introduce a federal minimum wage of $10/hour, indexed to the growth of the average hourly wage."
According to the organisation, the rate of child poverty has sat stagnant around 15 percent for the past three decades.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Links: Economics of the Developing World

Focus on the Global South is a great organisation. Their website has lots of materials on world trade including super-informative videos like:
A World Without the WTO

Also, check out the site of India Together. They're a grassroots oriented news and analysis site featuring journalist P. Sainath's writings (like here). Sainath has for some time documented the struggles of some of the poorest rural people in India. Along the way he has illuminated the shocking and tragic epidemic of farmer suicides.

For those into more detailed economic analysis, check out The Economic and Political Weekly, also out of India. Lots of analysis to dig your teeth into, examining gender, caste and regional inequalities, etc. etc.