The Trouble With Austerity: Economics as Ideology

Volunteers_of_America_Soup_Kitchen_WDC

A somewhat abridged version of this post first appeared in The Toronto Star here Governments here and elsewhere are increasingly preoccupied with cutting even as evidence piles up of its harmful consequences on people and the economy. Austerity is not even delivering the balanced budgets its advocates promise. Even the IMF is now preaching balance … Continue reading

The Age of Austerity

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Notes: Keynote talk, CCPA Post-Austerity session, Toronto, January 9, 2013 We are living in the “Age of Austerity” or at least so says David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister. He made this announcement in 2009 at the Conservative convention just before becoming prime minister. This meant, he explained, that he would have to fix the … Continue reading

Bargain Basement Citizenship and the Decline of Democracy

Cicero and the fall of the Roman Republic (Cesare Maccari)

We ought to be outraged. Just about every day our media provides a new account of the decline of our democracy:  the inadequacies of our electoral system and allegations of electoral fraud; the high-handed treatment of our Parliament through inappropriate prorogations and overuse of omnibus legislation; a government ever more authoritarian and opaque, resistant to evidence and reason, and … Continue reading

The Price Of Austerity

The Miser, by Molière

Austerity, we have been told repeatedly by pundits and political leaders, is the defining issue in these uncertain times, the solution to our economic challenges. We have been given fair warning that the next federal budget will be first about cuts – cuts to government even as we continue to cut taxes. We can expect … Continue reading

Double Movement: the resurgence of neoliberalism and inequality

Neoliberal soulmates: Reagan and Thatcher

This is the month for taking stock of the year that passed and imagining what the year before us may hold.  For me, two broad and contradictory trends have emerged which just might shape politics and policy in 2011: the extraordinary resilience of neoliberal ideology and the reemergence of inequality as a defining public issue. Recall … Continue reading

Trust, Traps, and Taxes

mouse_trap

A short while back, I posted a piece on why we vote against our own interests which provoked diverse responses including several which insisted that, to the contrary, we do know perfectly well who serves our interests and we vote accordingly. My problem, this argument goes, is that at best I just don’t like the … Continue reading

The Role of the State: the Couchiching Panel

Alex at Couch

This past Friday at Couchiching, Tom Flanagan, Armine Yalnizyan and I discussed what the financial meltdown can tell us about the role of the state.  Better than my trying to capture the nuance of each of the speakers, and recognizing my predisposition to favour some views at the expense of others, I strongly urge you … Continue reading

Couchiching: Fun to Say and Fun to Visit

Lake Couchiching

Attended my first Couchiching Conference this past weekend and got a glimpse of what political debate could look like if we could only squeeze out some of the more pathological aspects of partisanship and ideological conflict that have become business as usual in Ottawa.  The crowd of about 250 people was diverse, students and professors, … Continue reading

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