Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Please take the time to read this long article. It’s worth it.

The first issue of Catalyst appears at a profoundly contradictory political conjuncture. It is the moment of the greatest promise for the working class and popular forces since the 1960s, but also one of significant danger.

Source: Editorial

If anything, the federal income tax isn’t soaking the rich – rather, it’s keeping the rich from paying a lower tax rate than everyone else.

Source: The U.S. Tax Code Actually Doesn’t “Soak the Rich” | CEPR Blog | Blogs | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

If we are shaped by everything from politics to genetics, can we really be held responsible for our actions? In his book Creating Freedom, the author says we must change our attitude to society’s losers

Source: Raoul Martinez on writing this year’s essential text for thinking radicals | Books | The Guardian

What Martinez calls the responsibility myth is, he suggests, the basis of the American Dream, namely that anyone can become rich and that those who do – even Donald Trump – deserve their money, while those who don’t have only themselves to blame. The political corollary of that myth is that we have no obligation to help the poor, the obese, the disabled, the refugees, the homeless or the unemployed. They all deserved it, so screw them.

This is an absolute must see for anyone trying to make sense of the last forty years. It’s long at 2 hrs and 46 minutes but well worth the time spent.

It has been a long year. Let’s engage in some speculative fiction. Donald Trump is due to get his hands on the nuclear codes Jan. 20, so thinking too far into the future may be a pointless exercise, but lets suppose humanity makes it out the other side of his presidency more or less in one piece. Continue reading

Source: Automation, Climate Change and Donald Trump: What Kind of Future Are We In For? –

75 charts every Canadian should watch in 2017 –

Maclean’s presents its third annual chartstravaganza to help make sense of the Canadian economy in the year ahead

Source: 75 charts every Canadian should watch in 2017 –

Here’s One:

Canada’s gig workers

Linda Nazareth,


“Here is the graph I would like to show you: the number of gig workers in Canada. I know they are there. More and more, Canadians do not have long-term, single-employer jobs but rather move from gig to gig, sometimes juggling several at the same time. The trouble is, gig work as a reality is pretty new to all of us, so neither Statistics Canada nor anyone else tracks how many gig workers there are out there. So since there is some overlap between gig workers and the self-employed, I have settled for showing a graph of the self-employed. Interestingly, the percentage of Canadians in this category has really not changed much over the past few years, although it did get a bump during the downturn in 2008-09, although not as big as it did during the recession of 2000.

There are other gig workers. Some pick up one contract after another with maybe some involuntary unemployment in-between, others are contract workers who drive for Uber on the side or fiftysomethings who take on work at their old employers occasionally, but who are not employees. All may be simply counted as ‘working’ when they have a job, and ‘unemployed’ when they are looking for one. We do not have a good count of how many there are but we should: gig work is the way of the future and will affect everything from government policy to how banks lend money. The first step in dealing with this new reality means knowing how many people are already immersed in it.”

For one thing, the electricity grid is getting cleaner every day.


Eric Jaffe

A post I wrote last week on where electric vehicles cause more pollution than gas cars produced some unusually high reader emissions rates. Amid the more combustible reactions were a number of quite thoughtful ones, laying out some legitimate critiques to both the research study that prompted the post as well as our description of the work. So we reached out to several experts on electric cars and the environmental impact of transportation to offer a wider perspective.

First a quick recap: the NBER study I originally referenced measured pollution produced by EVs (via the electricity grid) and gas cars (via on-road emissions) across the U.S.—in effect, comparing power plant smokestack to vehicle tailpipe. In the West, EVs tended to be cleaner than gas cars; elsewhere they rated out worse. The economists leading the work priced this difference by geography to determine where electrics should be subsidized, and where they should actually be taxed.

Estimated electric vehicle subsidies by U.S. county; areas in green suggest EVs should be subsidized, while those in red suggest they should be taxed. (Holland et al, 2015, NBER)

The maps came down hardest on the worst environmental offenders (namely, gas cars in big cities, and coal power plants) and served as a reminder of the huge social costs of car reliance. But the researchers, concerned foremost with present-day policy, also meant them to “generate critical questions as to the merits of the federal subsidy” for EVs. They concluded that maybe it made more sense to set specific pollution fees or subsidies based on different locations.

In our follow-up discussions—a sort of informal peer-review for a working study yet to receive its official one—four key qualifications to that conclusion emerged…


Source: Climate Experts See Problems With New Maps of Where Electric Vehicles Pollute More Than Gas Cars – CityLab