Economics

Theories of money, labour, and power

Theories of money, labour, and power

When it comes to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), I tend to take a rather less aggressive position than some from the classical (Marxian/Marxist) tradition. There are some holes in the theory and its view of the economy is irksome, but others have debated these to their fullest extent (a debate that is at least 100 years old). And, in the end of the day, arguing over the degree to which a theory is wrong is not very interesting. Anwar Shaikh does a very good job of putting the limits to MMT's ideas. Basically, there is a limit to MMT and the question is: what then?

Technological change and automation in the workplace

Technological change and automation in the workplace

Working people have been dealing with changes in the application of technology in their workplaces since the beginning of capitalism. The recent interest in the subject has largely been driven by the tech industry's promises of automated production and job-destroying robots, which will still somehow deliver a type of techno-Utopia. It is time for workers to take back the discussion and drive an agenda for the future based on clear analysis and the broader community's interests. In this full-length article, we revisit some of the issues and concepts around automation and its affects on workers.

Apologists, failure, and always being wrong about privatization | What's Left 2018-01-21 Volume 104

The fight against privatization is framed by liberals and the right-wing as a clear and unsubstantiated ideological position of the left. And, no matter how much research is presented exposing how privatization of state services and programs costs more and has no positive (but, in many cases negative) impacts on quality of services, the dominant narrative is privatization works. But, at this point, believing that privatization leads to increased efficiency and lower costs is akin to the denial of climate change and thinking vaccines cause Autism. Decades of real life examples, economic analysis, and trial and error policy show that there are so many ways that do not work when it comes to privatization. So, why do people still believe this nonsense?

Fees, taxes, and revenue generation | What's Left

There has been a recent uptick in discussions around the failure of the private sector to provide quality services. From airlines to infrastructure, from safe jobs to retirement, from the transition to a low-carbon environment to agrochemical companies poisoning the ground, from the cost of rent to the price of housing. People in the US are starting to realize that the private sector in a deregulated market is not able to stop greed from doing harm to many things we enjoy.

Basic Income | What's Left

In a clear victory for rhetoric over substance in the age of post-truth, the Ontario Liberal government has announced that it will run a pilot project to test the so called 'universal basic income” idea. However, from the policy documents that have been released, it is quite obvious the Liberals intend to implement a more regressive version of this deeply flawed policy program. The Liberal-supporting media is tying itself in knots in attempts to support the program. First, a plea decrying Ontario's 'meagre and rule-bound social assistance program' that the provincial government has purposefully manipulated in order to limit access to supports. Then, without a sense of irony, the media say that cash to buy private services is the only way to fix the problems previous Liberal and Conservative governments created through privatization and austerity.

Asset Recycling: privatization by complex means | Graham Cox

In theory, debt generated by asset recycling is paid back through private sector partners finding efficiencies or increased government revenue driven economic growth. While this may work in the private sector, it does not work for governments. In practice, asset recycling is similar to other privatization schemes – such as public-private partnerships – that cost governments and citizens more money than traditional public debt-financed investment.

In opposition to the Ontario Liberal government's 'Basic Income Guarantee' | What's Left

The idea being promoted by the Liberal government through its “Basic Income Guarantee” is that we should be moving towards a system where the government redistributes wealth by giving individuals money directly. As wealth redistribution goes, this is an inherently right-wing approach. It depends on the private sector to provide services that those on the Guarantee can afford, it does nothing to improve the employment prospects for those on the Guarantee, and in the end likely only increases inequality. Instead, the government should be investing this money in public services that are provided at no cost to everyone, an initiative that will create more jobs in the process.

CUPE Research Brief: Employment Insurance Usage Profile by Region and Gender

The Conservative government's omnibus budget (Bill C-38) changed much of the way the Employment System will run. Overall, the changes will alter labour market pressures in favour of employers offering low wage jobs. As a result of this bill, it has become even harder to qualify for Employment Insurance. Further, the process of appealing the decision has been changed to eliminate worker and employer seats on the appeals panels. Even before the budget changes, fewer than 40 per cent of unemployed workers qualified for EI even though they are unemployed through no fault of their own.