Economics

  • We Cannot Abandon Lebanon

    Susan Korah reports on the desperate state of the former Mediterranean oasis one year after the blast that decimated Beirut.

    One year ago today was a night of splintering glass and splattering blood. 

    On August 4, 2020, as the last hours of pre-sunset daylight illuminated Beirut’s skyline, a cataclysmic explosion shook the city like the blast of an atomic bomb. It turned o...

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  • Missing Marriages, Empty Baby Carriages

    Peter Jon Mitchell, Cardus Family Program Director, reports on the link between Canada’s severe baby-making problem and young Canadians increasingly choosing to delay or reject marriage.

    Wedding industry vendors are reporting a boom in bookings – or at least south of the border according to the Associated Press. Couples who waited out the pandemic are booking their big day, as are those who married during the pandemic but are now p...

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  • How Sanctions Cheat Children

    Leading voices are urging Canada to rethink Middle East sanctions that make daily life a struggle just to get daily bread, Susan Korah reports.

    “Economic sanctions that afflict the poor must be lifted. I stress the word ‘poor,’” Archimandrite (head of a monastery) Georges Masri said in an e-mail from his home base in Syria. He was responding to my request for his views on the unfolding humanitarian...

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  • 10 Highlights of the Year for Cardus

    Daniel Proussalidis and Monica Ratra write that while 2020 was a forgettable year for many reasons, Cardus initiatives throughout the year provided memorable highlights for the organization and our supporters.

    It’s cliché at this point, but 2020 is surely a year most of us would like to forget. And not just because of the pandemic or the brutally polarized political rhetoric of the past year. But, as we think back on the past year at Cardus, there’s actually a lo...

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  • Testing COVID for Positives

    Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings says 2020’s hardships, and concern for what’s next in 2021, can refocus our vision and practices at the personal and social levels.

    As we enter the final quarter of this year, many Canadians are likely more than ready to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020, the year of the pandemic.  But what if, in some ways at least, 2021 could actually be even more difficult?  

    Consider this...

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  • Canada’s Hidden Economy

    Economic impact is one of religion’s less-talked-about features but Stephen Lazarus writes that there may be at least $67 billion of Canadian GDP worth discussing.

    TORONTO – Newcomers to this country often find Canadians have a curious stance toward religion. We seldom say much negative about religion in public, but then we never take it too seriously either. A new study, ...

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  • Driving Ms. Chrystia

    Matthew Lau argues Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s weakness is not her lack of qualifications but her insistence she can steer the economy while wearing sunglasses at night.

    In my wallet is a valid Ontario Class G driver’s license. The license means that the government finds me qualified to operate a motor vehicle, and indeed, I have done so many times. If I proposed, however, to drive the 30 kilometres from my home to Toronto ...

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  • Kiwi COVID Containment Bears Bad Fruit

    New Zealand is feted for its pandemic lockdown, but Robert Joustra says the awkward truth of Auckland’s approach is it raises irrational fear even as we’re being fleeced economically.

    Pandemic public policy is now a field unto itself, saturated with experts, desperately low on data, yet with dangerously high stakes, at least politically. 

    Take the case of New Zealand. Here is a prime minister and a country that has done, according...

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  • Drafting on Milton Friedman's Heroics

    Matthew Lau explains why the late eminent economist remains his personal hero. Hint: it has to do with letting individuals decide whether to wear army boots.

    Most sports fans have a favourite player. Readers of novels will usually have a favourite author. People who are interested in economics also have their heroes – a favourite economist. For me and many others, that economist is Milton Friedman, who – were he...

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  • Economy of Exchange

    Gifts often come with the expectation of reciprocation, writes Timothy deVries. A true gift is hard to come by in our culture and economy of exchange. 

    It is seldom that people give without the expectation of a return. With a birthday or Christmas gift, we expect “thank-you,” a positive reaction, the feeling of satisfaction in knowing that a gift is wanted or appreciated. Research suggests that philanthrop...

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  • Petal to the Metal

    Ottawa spends $50 million on showpiece gardens in Winnipeg. Yet Churchill's lone rail line can't be repaired. From Confederation to now, Canada began to go seriously off track.

    A few weeks back I wondered whether the dominant theme of Canada 150 – a nation built on nastiness to Indigenous peoples – might work to the practical detriment of Canada’s aboriginal communities.

    Denunciations of the past are easy to make. Building ...

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  • Proper Property Rights

    Cardus Work and Economics Program Director Brian Dijkema reflects on John Robson's latest National Post Column and the link between property, our work, and our humanity.

    John Robson has just written as fine and concise a moral defence of property rights as I’ve read in some time. In his Nat...

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  • Give It Up For Lent

    Program Director of Cardus Work and Economics Brian Dijkema reflects on the true nature of Lent. 

    See the money wanna stay/for a meal. Get another piece of pie/for your wife. Everybody wanna know/how it feels.  Everybody wanna see/what it’s like.

    Ima Robot, Greenback Boogie

    You k...

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  • Lending For The Long Term

    Publisher Peter Stockland sits down with Work and Economics Program Director Brian Dijkema to talk about Pay Day Loans. Hear what Dijkema told Convivium before his testimony to the Queen’s Park Standing Committee on Social Policy.

    An Ontario legislature committee studying so-called “pay day loans” heard this week that reforming the rules is necessary, but not enough to help those who need the quick cash most.

    Brian Dijkema, program director for Cardus’ Work and Economics, told...

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  • Which NDP will introduce the "Act to End Predatory Lending"?

    The idea is sound. As noted in a recent report by Cardus, Banking on the Margins, payday lenders and the loans themselves are structured in such a way as to encourage their customers to become dependent. The loans, while quick and easy, do not build credit, and they require customers to pay back the original amount borrowed plus substantial interest in one lump sum. Too often this results in adding a significant deluge of spending for people who are already struggling to maintain a responsible cash-flow. An unemployed construction worker from Fort McMurray who has trouble making ends meet one week can be crippled by the automatic withdrawal of his previous week’s shortage plus interest rates that, in Alberta at an annual rate of 839% on a ten-day term, are the second highest in the country. And, as our research suggests, the struggle doesn’t stay with the individual. The lack of funds and the increase in debt are linked to mounting costs to families, significant physical and mental health problems, increased criminal activity, and a host of other problems which ultimately strain society – and often the government.

    In the throne speech this month, Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell announced the Notley government’s intention to “protect Albertans who are experiencing economic d...

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  • No Mere Bad Habit

    “It is,” as NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice put it, “becoming a bad habit.”

    On a purely pragmatic level, federal Labour Minister Kellie Leitch must be pleased that the mere threat of back-to-work legislation got CP Rail trains running on time Monday.

    ...

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  • Social Licence and Democratic Institutions

    My point here is not to argue the merits or demerits of the pipeline, nor to suggest that the process has been without its flaws. But a two-year review process by the National Energy Board, a federal agency that has subject matter expertise, which heard 1450 submissions in 21 affected communities over a two-year period cannot be dismissed as an undemocratic process.

    By June 17th, Canada's federal cabinet is required to decide whether the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline can proceed. From an institutional perspective, this marks the conclusion of a lengthy process. There was a day when all sides engaged in arguin...

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  • What the Government Should Do

    The two leading campaigns are a case study in how politics in Ontario have developed. The choice offered is one side which suggests that government is the key player for "good" in Ontario, while the other side suggest that the markets are the key to making Ontario a better place to live. In many ways, the Ontario election debate is a case study in Cardus's assertion that "the coinage of our contemporary debate is the left or the right—what governments should do and what they shouldn't do." This debate will show very clearly how "we naturally default to fewer and fewer institutions to solve the problems of the day.

    Tonight, the three major parties in Ontario will debate one another in an attempt to persuade voters that their parties should form the next provincial government.

    The two leading campaigns are a case study in how politics in Ontario have developed. ...

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  • Flahernomics

    The passing of former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has prompted a bit of an elbowing competition regarding the definition of economic conservatism. The ...

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  • The Other Side of the Economics Coin

    In an astonishing break from the economics party line, Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of his profession and told all. "Our recommendations," he shares, "are based not only on our understanding of how the world works, but also on our judgments about what makes a good society." The fact that Mankiw frames these confessions as "a dirty little secret" says something about the (in)ability of most economists to think of themselves as philosophers.  After all, the first rule of the philosopher is to confess that you know nothing.

    Breaking news, folks: economics is about justice.

    In an astonishing break from the economics party line, Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of his profession and told all. "Our recomme...

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  • Can We Have Subsidiarity Without the Regulation?

    Yet how does this all work? What prevents confusion from reigning? Two things: government regulation and the power of culture. The mirror of the devolution of responsibilities to business, government, educational, and social partners is a huge and rather onerous system of regulations. . . . . . . .

    Germany is a skilled-trades producing machine. But behind this machine is a web of institutions executing different, and distributed, responsibilities so smoothly that it's easy to imagine why the Germans produce Porsches. Their success is fuelled by their ...

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  • Taxes Are Good, but Charity's Better

    In most western democracies, governments have provided the incentives of a reduced tax bill in order to encourage support for charities. The definition of charity varies, with the relief of poverty, advancement of education and promotion of religion being at the core of historical definitions. The specifics of each system vary widely but in every case, a donation to a charity results in a reduction of tax payable by an amount less than the donation.

    To what extent should taxpayers be able to direct which social institutions provide the best value in delivering for the public good?

    In most western democracies, governments have provided the incentives of a reduced tax bill in order to encourage su...

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  • An Enabling Economy

    Last week, Cardus's program director for Work and Economics, Brian Dijkema, sat down with the CEO of Christian Horizons, Janet Nolan, to talk about labour shortages, productivity, and the surprising economic and community benefits that come when disable...

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