Monday, 25 May 2015

The Economics of "L'affaire Ghomeshi"

* Jian Ghomeshi appears to be a predatory male surrounded by more or less idolatrous men and women and as such would likely have found prey whatever his career trajectory. But the willingness of his employer, the CBC, to overlook, if not actively condone, his behaviour, would have been significantly limited were it not for their recent history as a bete noire of right wing neo-liberal forces bent on reducing the power of the state and so the economic and cultural comfort of any employee much to the left of favourite CBC bland-son Peter Mansbridge . 

As a relatively young musician with a relatively successsful arts programme catering to a relatively younger demographic than that of the mainstream CBC audience Ghomeshi was arguably an asset too prized by CBC management to displace, or even discipline. And however agonized his CBC managers may have been about behaviour that seems to have been common knowledge at the broadcaster for pretty much anybody willing to open their receptive organs, the associated lips and ears remained sealed. 

Simply put: as many alternative voices have been affected in neo-con/liberal regimes in other Anglo-American jurisdictions in recent decades, so too economic and cultural attacks have largely rendered gutless Canada's national broadcaster. Can we expect any any really critical opinion from such fatally weakened voices? The evidence is  in and we cannot. The door has been opened for alternative voices like and and, yes, whistleblowers.We can only hope such sources of real informational nutrition will find their way to the many starved of real  news, rather than the "news shows", whether public or private, that currently occupy their advertisers' chosen locations in mainstream broadcasting's 24-7 entertainment pablum.                                   

Friday, 8 May 2015

A new economics for the new millennium? Review of Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

At over 600 pages (don’t be put off, it’s a real finger in the face of what became the neoliberal economic orthodoxy in many pro-Austerity jurisdictions). Piketty’s book has been for some time the talk of the economics town. And it’s big in more ways than that. If ever a book called out for an E-version this is one. But disappointingly to reviewers piqued by an opportunity to contrast Piketty’s book’s heft to the disappointing anti-climax it delivers.there’s muscle here not just statistical flab.  

My Grannie knew well that the rich get richer than the 99%, not because they’re smart but because they’re rich, And for all his data – Piketty is a data guy – he can be accused of  simply putting numbers to what my Grannie and many others unread by my Grannie, like Karl Marx, for instance, have long known. To use Piketty’s notation r (return from capital) is greater than g (growth). The wealth of those who start with it grows more than the rate of economic growth would predict, or warrant. So Piketty has taken the economic world by storm by demonstrating with numbers that the rich are getting  more from our common wealth than its increase supports. And so inequality continues to grow.

If this were all Piketty were claiming then we, with my grandmother, could nod and yawn, ascribing his  sudden fame to the lamentably blinkered  normality constructed during nearly twenty years of neo-liberal hegemony in economic circles. But there’s more to it. Piketty calls for reinvestment and re-regulation to undo the damage to what he calls the social state by the anti-tax, anti-government "free market"  regimes that have dominated the world's biggest economies in recent years.Piketty is a key ally of the social economy through his data-based assault on neo-liberal  economics. But he is too much of an orthodox economist to dabble in social economic waters. Reinvesting in the post-war social state, as Piketty urges, is certainly timely and necessary, but it will not bring about the new, social economy that will avoid another boom and bust economic cycle,if the mainstream ‘free market” is left  largely to is own devices, however constrained by the social state. Another world is possible but will not come about unless social economic models are replaced.                   

Sunday, 3 May 2015

EXILE -- War Resisters' Fundraising event


Photographs by COREY GLASS and LAURA JONES 

Monday May 11 
7 pm to 9 pm 
Portland Room @ The Spoke Club 
600 King St. W. 
 music by Richard Underhill and Kevin Barrett 
cash bar 
finger food 
silent auction 
$5 suggested donation 

Photographs by two generations of U.S. war resisters: 

LAURA JONES came to Canada during the Vietnam War. Her story and photos of the U.S. exile community on Baldwin Street in Toronto were recently featured on CBC's Doc Zone . 

COREY GLASS is a former U.S. National Guardsman and Iraq War veteran who sought refuge in Canada in 2006 after making the conscientious decision not to return to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. His story was featured in a recent issue of 
New York Magazine as well as NOW Magazine.

A fundraising event 
organized by 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

No need to set prices says young business owner

Check out this post about a new approach to business by fashion designer Tara Joyce in YFS magazine - 

Yes,Ms Joyce seems very pleased with her own "fabulousiness", yes it's only those with a pretty good set of comfortable contacts who could do this, yes, it's fashion, not automobiles (though we have enough of them, of course),  and yes as a conventional "entrepreneur" Ms Joyce sees profits as her goal, but apporaches to enterprise that challenge traditional consumerist models are part of the questioning necessary for change. 

As a technical device the no set charge model addresses only a small part of the business processs. But questioning traditional habits becomes a habit itself and who knows where it may end.   .