What an incredible last eight months

I last posted something on my site other than a course outline more than six months ago. I felt a long period of reflection was necessary for me as the amazing state of the world and North America in particular swirled around us all. In the U.S. the shocking election of Donald Trump was a lot to absorb. Given his style of governing, the sense of chaos and anomie in the world has grown. Our close American neighbours, friends and family in many cases, seem to be going through a kind of nervous breakdown, although some of the turmoil has been inflicted from outside by the evil forces of terrorism and the traditional strains of cold war style politics and talk of war and the craziness of some world leaders. As someone who lived through the Cuban missile crisis and the daily threat of nuclear war in the early 1960s as a teenager in high school I and all my generation know very well the terror and panic that that threat unleashed. The absurd ritual of preparing for a nuclear attack by crouching down under our desks and saying goodbye to our friends at the end of the school day wondering if we would ever see one another again cannot be forgotten.It is therefore very sad to see the return of such anxieties in the twenty first century some 55 years later.The rise of economic and political nationalism in the US and the frightening appearance of neo Nazi anti-semitism,anti LGBTQ hysteria and racist bigotry extremists in North America is a horrible development which most people rightly condemn.

On the economic front the neo cons and dogmatic monetarists at our central bank continue to push prematurely for higher interest rates when the extremely low inflation rate does not justify it. Unemployment while reduced from the levels of the last great crisis is still above 6 % in Canada. It could and should be lower. The Trump administration has succeeded in reopening the NAFTA trade deal in the hope that they can win major trade concessions. It may well be fair and possible to reduce the American trade deficit without excessively damaging the Canadian economy but our negotiators need to very careful not to be stampeded. Given the nature of globalization and the pressure to reduce real wages of all workers by overly aggressive corporate behaviour we need to work on reforming the trade model to bring it up to date with globalization and still make it compatible with a Keynes inspired full employment model with a just and fair distribution of the benefits of fair trade. More on this in the near future.

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About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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