The rapid fraying of the economy due to COVID-19, with unemployment rates projected to reach 25 percent and higher, has prompted heightened interest in universal basic income (UBI). Prior to the pandemic, despite a decline in poverty and a slight reduction in measures of inequality, the drum beats for a basic income were growing stronger. Canada’s business sector promoted … [Read more...] about Has COVID-19 mandated a Basic Income
Every individual... neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it... he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
The Theory Of Moral Sentiments, Part IV, Chapter I, pp.184-5, para. 10.
Public health experts and politicians are suggesting that we can see a point when restrictions could relax. But any relaxation must be careful and measured, quickly reversible if COVID reappears. Everyone maintains that wide scale testing is a key to controlling the reopening of the economy. Most of the proposed approaches, such advocated by Harvard … [Read more...] about We need a Covid DEW Line
Part of me wants to believe that Covid-19 is scaring the pants off everyone. But some family members are anti-vaxxers (the pejorative term for vaccine hesitancy) and I see their attitude to the present virus, I am less hopeful. My medical friends are certain a vaccine will emerge in the next 18 months, and for good reason. There is a full court press by … [Read more...] about Will a successful Covid-19 vaccine reduce vaccine hesitancy?
Little doubt exists that COVID-19 represents an existential challenge. But could our economic policy responses complicate the return to “normalcy” whatever that may mean? Governments everywhere are introducing massive subsidies to individuals and business, replicating the standard response in previous recessions. But what if government did much less, or even nothing? … [Read more...] about The moral hazards of our economic response to COVID-19
How is it that the Canadian economy continues to add jobs at a rapid clip despite all the Cassandra’s predicting imminent collapse.” Could it be that Trump has been good for Canada? Read more … [Read more...] about Is Canada benefitting from “Trumpconomics?”
How often do we hear or read the phrase “Statistics Canada reported today that…”? As the publisher of official statistics for Canada, we rely on Stats Can for valid and reliable facts. Surely this national resource is one antidote for the increasing flim-flam that marks current political and social discourse. By any measure, Statistics Canada is one of the world’s premier … [Read more...] about The role of Statistics Canada in a post truth world
The drumbeat for a basic income continues. Canada’s business sector has recently promoted the idea, and reaction to the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project has been almost uniformly negative, with a few exceptions. The idea of a basic income — which guarantees a minimum income to all, regardless of employment status — has always looked good at first … [Read more...] about Implementing a basic income will be complex
The recent sharp decline of 52,000 jobs in the Canadian Economy (Labour Force Survey of Canada, August 2018, raises questions about how to interpret such changes. Some commentators see the LFS as volatile and advise against reading too much into month-to-month changes. This is conventional counsel, but does this variability render it less useful as a leading indicator? Has the … [Read more...] about Does the volatility of the Labour Force Survey render it useless as a leading indicator? (September 19)
Popular culture often represents King Canute as a foolish monarch who ordered his aides to place his chair by the ocean’s edge and then arrogantly commanded the tide to stop. Of course, he got his feet wet. In fact, Canute, who was one of the great kings of England (and Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) was much wiser than this fable. He wished to show his subjects that he … [Read more...] about Legislation to mandate equal pay is a bad idea.
Fallacies in gas price sensitivity Dec 27, 2017 Writing in the Financial Post, Terence Corcoran argues (read original article here) that gas prices have had no impact on the demand for gasoline. He presents the proof positive as the following chart This is a classic example of simultaneous equations bias, which typically occurs when one uses time series data to test a … [Read more...] about Fallacies in analysing the impact of gas prices