Showing posts from November 11, 2016

Canada's Supreme Court hands the BCTF a huge win. So why am I still angry?

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[The Liberals are running a surplus in this election year. Plus, they could easily afford to pump the public education system up to where it was by defunding for-profit schools, such as the glitzy one that the Premier's son attends. *RON*]

Patti Bacchus, Vancouver Observer, 10 November 2016

Today’s surprisingly quick Supreme Court of Canada landmark decision on the long-standing B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) dispute with the B.C. government over government’s 2002 contact stripping is great news for students, families, teachers and school boards.

But I’m still angry about the whole thing.

This dispute began when my kids were in primary school and I was struggling to get additional support for my then 7-year-old son.

The Council of Canadians calls for transparency in NAFTA renegotiation process

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["'MacNaughton stopped short of disclosing details of what Canada would seek in an updated agreement, saying he’d prefer to save that for the discussion table.' But: Why the secrecy? Where's the transparency? During the last federal election, Trudeau criticized the Harper’s government for the lack of transparency regarding the government's negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership." Also one might ask when diplomats became trade negotiators? And where exactly is all this economic prosperity that NAFTA has brought to the continent? *RON*]
Brent Patterson,, 11 November 2016

The Trudeau government has signaled to the incoming Trump administration that it’s willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Canada's ambassador to the United States says the Liberal government would be 'happy' to renegotiate NAFTA with president-elect Donald Trump's team,” the CBC reported.


Elon Musk says there's a 'pretty good chance' universal basic income will become reality

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[You've got to love what the story title is, instead of the more apt "Me and my buddies intend to take all your jobs away." Or, perhaps, "How will society deal with all the poverty I mean to create?" *RON*]
Chris Weller, Business Insider, 7 November 2016

If the trend of robot automation keeps up, millions of humans could lose their jobs by the middle of this century.

According to Elon Musk, the economic solution to that reality could simply be paying people regardless of whether or not they find work — a system of wealth distribution known as universal basic income.

"There's a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," the Tesla CEO said in an interview with CNBC on November 4. "I'm not sure what else one would do. That’s what I think would happen."

Sex Shops, Bingo and Sewage Define New Era of Pension Portfolios

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[Where is your pension fund making its profits from? On the very Trumpian notion that profits are where you find them. *RON*]

Sarah Jones, Bloomberg, 3 November 2016

Three years ago, Amsterdam’s mayor asked a roomful of pension fund managers if they’d be willing to invest in the regeneration of his city’s notorious red light district. Two lonely hands went up.

The same question today might have triggered a bidding war.

“In the current market, everyone in that room would have raised their hands,” said Boris van der Gijp, a director at pension fund adviser Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance, who attended the event. “But at that moment, there were not that many parties who would even assess this kind of deal.”

In an era of record low interest rates and aging populations, the most risk averse of institutional investors are now buying assets that would have once seemed inconceivable.

Economists Forgot Smith and Darwin’s Message: Society Cannot Function Without Moral Bonds

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[There is now an enormous body of empirical research confirming that humans have cooperative as well as self-interested dispositions. Morality means "doing the right thing." It entails notions of justice that can over-ride our preferences or interests. As both Smith and Darwin emphasized, society or economy cannot function without moral bonds and rules. If policy-makers ignore our moral dispositions and concentrate on self-interest alone, then they will threaten the very fabric of a modern market economy. *RON*]
By Geoffrey Hodgson, Evonomics, 29 June 2016

Adam Smith is said to be the founder of modern economics.[1] Yet, contrary to a widespread view, Smith regarded individuals as driven by moral motives as well as self-interest. This is most clear in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, but ideas of justice and morality also pervade his Wealth of Nations.[2]

It took economics a while to get rid of this argument. In two classic works publis…

Make finance the servant, not the master

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[There is a third choice between rule by global finance and rule by populist authoritarians: elected governments need to actually and actively manage and regulate financial markets and their major players. *RON*]
Ann Pettifor, Open Democracy, 1 November 2016

This piece is a response to John Mills’ challenge, ‘We need to rebalance the British Economy‘.

In her first big party conference speech, Britain’s new prime minister rode the wave of populist revolt that swept Britain before 23 June, 2016. “This is our generation’s moment” she said: “To write a new future upon the page. To bring power home and make decisions…here in Britain. To take back control and shape our future…here in Britain.”

But the prime minister only went halfway to meeting the concerns of more than seventeen million British ‘leavers’. For May’s vision is not just to “bring power home and make decisions… in Britain”. It is also “of a confident global Britain that doesn’t turn i…