Economics

  • Sacrifice: A Measure of Success

    One of the best stories of the women's gold medal victory last week was Meaghan Mikkelson, who despite playing with a broken hand, played almost 22 minutes of the final, spent two minutes in the box for roughing, and registered an assist on the goal that st...

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  • Justin Case

    Federal Liberals spent the past weekend at their biennial convention in Montreal. Cardus's Peter Stockland sat down with Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal MP John McKay to get his assessment of the last big party gathering before the 2015 federal election....

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  • In Praise of Ritual

    It's late Tuesday night and I am in my Ottawa hotel room, having spent the day reviewing Canada's federal budget for 2014-15. But this blog isn't about budgets; it is about ritual—the value of which...

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  • Hammering at the Big Questions

    And we hear lots of thoughts too on social architecture; it's what Cardus does. Thinking and building go together.

    We often hear big questions asked about architecture. What worldview shaped that art museum, or this cathedral? Why are those ...

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  • Trading Up: Women and the New Industrial Revolution

    Yeah, we can do anything. We know. Our second-wave feminist mothers showed us that. But somehow, the third wave hasn't washed over society powerfully enough to supplement the current female role models, which remain—perhaps more than ever—overwhelmingly pretty, pink, perky homemakers. And the trends begin in childhood.

    Let me humbly attempt to say something on behalf of women.

    Yeah, we can do anything. We know. Our second-wave feminist mothers showed us that. But somehow, the third wave hasn't washed over society powerfully enough to supplement the current female r...

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  • Dignity of Work

    My father was a construction labourer during my early youth, and I remember taking the scenic routes to a destination so that we could observe the progress being made on a construction project that he had contributed to. I remember welling with pride—my dad helped build that!—and though my father wasn't the talkative sort, I know he also felt a particular sense of accomplishment that wasn't measured by the hours of labour or the paycheque received.

    Every job has its unique satisfactions, but I suppose the job of a construction worker is a good one to illustrate the importance of work and vocation to our wellbeing.

    My father was a construction labourer during my early youth, and I remember takin...

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  • Walking Away From Omelas

    The only way for Omelas to maintain its stoic happiness is to free itself from guilt. Easy enough, it seems, but for one problem. In the basement of one of the buildings in Omelas is an imprisoned child that everyone living in Omelas must confront. The child is never let outside, is never spoken to, and must sit chained in its own filth.

    In Ursula LeGuin's 1973 short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," we are told of a place where everyone (well, almost everyone) is perfectly happy. The Summer Festival is upo...

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  • Listen to Sally Singh!

    Politics and money make us cringe. We can occasionally talk about politics without eliciting winces from those we're talking to, and people love to talk about money—especially if it's about the prospect of making it, or even more if it's about someone else'...

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  • Cardus Daily's Greatest Hits of 2013 - Part 1

    10. In February, Peter Stockland interviewed Anne Leahy, Canada's former ambassador to the Holy See, about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. To say you know what is good for people is pretty much the very definition of paternalism. So why not be honest about that and sign up for it? - 'You'll Thank Me Later': Paternalism and the Common Good 8. And our friend Kyle Bennett considered artists as images of the Creator: 

    As a holiday treat, we've put together a list of some of our most popular blog posts from this year. Enjoy!

    ...

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  • The Cardus Travelling Circus

    Sure, sure. Cardus believes cities can be much better than they are now. We believe a more cooperative labour environment would seriously raise the dignity and fairness of our workplaces. We think private education is good for everyone. Ideas matter when they get legs.

    "How and where ideas have consequence is as much a matter of who uses them, as what they say." —Michael Van Pelt and Robert Joustra, in Comment (2008)...

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  • A Flourishing Detroit Requires More Than an Influx of Cash

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointed to oversee the restructuring of the city's finances. Part of that process has been for the city to declare bankruptcy. That unprecedented strategy received confirmation on Wednesday when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steve Rhodes issued a decision permitting the city to pursue protections that will allow a restructuring of Detroit's debts.

    The city of Detroit continues to be a haunting case study of municipal implosion, economic upheaval, and urban renewal.

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointe...

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  • Take the Tough Medicine Now

    In layman's terms, central banks have printed enormous amounts of money and driven interest rates to historic lows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Within the world of monetary policy, the past five years have been unprecedented. A report this month from McKinsey & Compan...

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  • Foreign policy makers: Suit up?

    Last November, a "leaked copy" of a briefing paper on the new foreign policy strategy made its way into the media, detailing the already understood shift to closer economic ties "even where political interests or values may not align." The overwhelming message of that document, and of this government, has been the trinitarian invocation of trade, growth, jobs.

    This announcement yesterday by Canada's Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, of a new directive, a "culture shift" in Foreign Affairs, is not a surprise: "Take off your tweed jacket, buy a business suit and land us the deal." Called the Global Markets ...

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  • Caricatures and Blame Games

    It's easy to say that community groups are more effective than government in delivering services to help our poor neighbours. But this can't mean that politicians can ignore the plight of the poor. And, indeed, I've just returned from a discussion in Washington where examples were plentiful of local initiatives making real differences.

    We need to find different ways to talk about poverty.

    It's easy to say that community groups are more effective than government in delivering services to help our poor neighbours. But this can't mean that politicians can ignore the plight of the poor...

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  • Honking for Hats

    Even as enormous political thought, energy, and activity were being put into overseeing the kind of hats Quebecers are allowed to wear in various circumstances, I could see nothing but the sea of bumpers of the cars of my fellow citizens: none of us able to move more than an inch or two per hour. In this case, time was the rub. I had just returned to Montreal from Ottawa, a 200 km trip that took me approximately 90 minutes (note to Highway 417 traffic cops: please temporarily forget how to do arithmetic.) Once in Montreal, it took me more than 60 minutes to travel from Cavendish Boulevard to the Decarie service road, a distance of barely two kilometres.

    Being stuck in traffic pinpointed for me what is wrong with Quebec's attempt to legislate a so-called Charter of Values.

    Even as enormous political thought, energy, and activity were being put into overseeing the kind of hats Quebecers are allowed t...

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  • Dispensing in "Unsuperfluous Even Proportion"

    Yes, the 17th century Renaissance polymath: John Milton. While this was not followed by the corollary that we English folk should also go and read Adam Smith, I assume he was arguing for that balanced perspective for which the liberal arts education is designed. [/caption]

    I recently attended a seminar on land use where the speaker, an English professor, suggested that the best thing that one who wanted to work with natural resources could do would be to read Milton.

    ...

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  • Draw the Shades on the Fishbowl

    In an age of selfies at funerals and a Twitter stream of non-events, fighting against transparency seems counterintuitive. But let me make a case for maintaining a wall of privacy over portions of the spending of public officials.

    A mature, responsible, and high-functioning constitutional democracy should not adopt a Facebook-style approach to transparency. In fact, a constitutional democracy which adopts Facebook's approach to transparency will cease to be mature, responsible, and h...

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  • Scholars are Worth More than Dollars

    Already, he is showing the twitchiness he develops as the prospect of diving back into the archives and rooting through centuries old documents draws near.

    Tomorrow I will put a young fellow of my close acquaintance on a plane to Paris where he will go back to researching the social implications of insect infestations on farms in early modern France.

    Already, he is showing the twitchiness he develops as...

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  • Families, Flourishing, and Upward Mobility

    It is certainly true that this dream easily slides towards idolatry. It can become a nightmare of crass materialism and selfish ambition. But we shouldn't confuse idolatrous perversions with more humble aspirations of families to simply enjoy a mode of economic security that is conducive with flourishing.

    If the "American dream" is anything it is a dream of upward mobility: the dream of getting ahead, climbing the ladder, leapfrogging from one class to another in a "land of opportunity"—all if you're willing to work for it. Too often, fantastic "rags to rich...

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  • Democracies' Anxious Youth

    If we're cynical, we come by it honestly. Look no further than Japan, long the darling of demographic apocalypse. The country, according to Foreign Affairs, is headlining the cost of "letting the elderly rule politics." Between 1985 and today, writes Alexandra Harney, "the percentage of the Japanese population over 65 rose from a tenth to nearly a quarter.

    Detroit is bankrupt. Foreign Policy is openly wondering whether, if Detroit were a country, it would qualify as a failed state. It's a n...

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  • No Class

    Some think these changes will significantly transform our politics. Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership this spring promising a new deal for the middle class. The thinking is that success for Trudeau is dependent on renewing a sense of hope and optimism regarding Canadian prospects. The NDP under Thomas Mulcair, on the other hand, with their historic affiliations to the union movement stand to benefit from increased numbers thinking of themselves as working class or poor.

    Ekos pollster Paul Adams has noted how Canadian sense of class identity has been changing in recent years. Historically, Canadian politics has divided more along regio...

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  • Setting Down Roots...or Not

    Reader's heart-strings were plucked by the trio's plight as they agonize over their inability to purchase real estate on the upscale West side, where even modest bungalows sell for $1 million-plus. "The challenge is to set down roots in the city you grew up in," The Globe quoted Vancouver urban planner Andrew Yan.

    The Globe and Mail's Report on Business carried a sob story this week about three 20-something Vancouverites who can't a...

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  • "Ring of Fire" Re-Kindling Northern Challenges

    The discovery of valuable minerals in the so-called "Ring of Fire" in Northern Ontario has brought discussion of these social challenges to the fore once again. The Ring of Fire, discovered in the early 2000s, has been estimated to contain between $30 billion and $50 billion worth of mineral deposits. This land, currently in early development, is expected to produce between 3,600 direct and 4,500 indirect jobs. The Ring of Fire has the potential to be a catalyst of socio-economic development among nearby Aboriginal communities.

    When the northern Ontario Aboriginal community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency in 2011 because its houses were falling apart, it was analogous to the social state of emergency tha...

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