3 Oct 2011

Globe and Mail’s RoB shocks by
questioning our economic system

The Globe and Mail – the Canadian media’s strongest supporter of neoliberalism and uncontrolled capitalism – has published a news story that questions whether the economists, business owners and governments that dictate the economic policies of Western society might have it all wrong.

Barrie McKenna’s article, “Time for a rethink of modern economics”, quotes a research paper by two Canadian economists who have identified a series of anomalies that, as they say, “call into question the basic understanding of economics that underpins policy formulation today.”
Even though it’s only one story, this is a remarkable development. The Globe, as well as other mainstream corporate media, has unwaveringly endorsed supply-side economic policies during most of the past 30 turbulent and destructive years.

The research paper, written by economists Dan Ciuriak and John Curtis, says that three decades of supply-side policies have produced the same economic problems they were supposed to fix, including stagnant growth, high unemployment, deflationary pressures and piles of public sector debt.

While the paper was published April 1, the Globe reported on it only this week as the Western world’s economic model appears to be self-destructing.

As many as four European countries are on verge of collapse. In Greece, some people who lived a normal life a year ago are eating from garbage cans. In many countries, the rich and corporations pay less in taxes than an office secretary. In the United States, there is not enough money to run the country and the economy is collapsing because the rich won’t pay taxes.

McKenna’s Globe article does not say that the Harper government is also guilty of using supply-side economics. The corporate-dominated Harper government has given billions in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy on the pretext that jobs will be created. This has given the Conservatives the opportunity to slash government services that Canadians need. Soon they will be officially saying we can’t afford universal healthcare.

Supply-side economics was denounced by progressive economists when they were adopted by U.S. President Ronald Regan in the 1980s. Dozens of books and hundreds and hundreds of articles have been published documenting the damage caused by supply-side economics, but few of these articles have ever made it into mainstream media. This 1984 article from TIME magazine discusses how supply-side economics contribute to poverty.

Meanwhile, small but apparently determined protests are taking place or are planned for Europe, the United States and Canada.

While the European unrest over government cuts and the loss of jobs is seldom reported in Canada, protests are occurring in at least nine countries.

In New York, the Occupy Wall Street protest is growing day by day – a report in The Wall Street Journal, no less, and the protests have spread to as many as a dozen other U.S. cities.

Protests in at least eight communities are now planned for across Canada. Again, another business publication: International Business Times.

Could it be that the “Captains of Industry” and the “Moguls of Wall Street” are getting nervous?



  1. When Old News is New News . . . .

    This late-coming discussion was started even before Karl Marx wrote it up systematically in Capital more than 140 years ago. Which is not to say the G&M should not have published this story - they should. But it is quaint and a bit funny that this blinding insight is presented as some sort of new finding.

    Maybe the Globe and Mail sees a new subscribing public among the demonstrators on Wall Street and at Canada's Parliament Buildings. Newspaper sales are declining rather badly.

    Red Deer, Alberta

  2. Thanks for the article; great stuff . . . . .

    The Grope and Flail (can't help my juvenile name-calling) is very smooth and professional in many ways (like the NYTimes, for instance), is cool on the social issues like gay rights, etc., and gives space to "leftists", leading lots of people to see it as... somewhat progressive!? But of course, as you point out, where it really counts, it's been relentlessly supply sider, and extremely "conservative". I looking forward to reading you from now on.


  3. National Post deserves thumbs down

    Good stuff, Nick!!! Many thanks for sending this on to me. Just one small objection: Me thinks the National Post deserves first place 'honours' when it comes to being labelled as the "strongest supporter of neoliberalism and uncontrolled capitalism." (!!!) But, the Globe does give them a run for their money. Keep up your great work.

    Jim - Windsor, ON

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