Canada: Of Resource Investment and ‘Net Benefit’s

Two important pieces of news for the Canadian resource sector were announced today, both reference in some way the “net benefit” clause for investment in Canada, one at a national level (Nexen-CNOOC), the other at a provincial (National Gateway pipeline review), both important to Canadian and global resource supply chains. First, the proposed takeover of Nexen […]

Has Fiscal Policy Been Tried?

Jeffrey Sachs in yesterday’s FT A-List argues that “spending has been sizeable…the structural fiscal expansion was more than 4 per cent of GDP on a sustained basis during 2009-11… Fiscal stimulus, in short, has been tried, but did not succeed in spurring a robust recovery.” But reading further into why this fiscal effort failed, he […]

California to Argentina: How Big a Nosedive?

The Great Contraction has exerted large negative effects on state and local government finances, as detailed by the Congressional Budget Office, prompting renewed concerns among the media and investors about the possibilities of bankruptcy and default. In fact, there have been few recent occurrences of municipal bond defaults, with state and local debt being extremely […]

Underwater Mortgage? Call 1-888-995-HOPE

Clearly the government needs to do more to help citizens in dire financial straits. An information hotline is a good bit short of a serious plan, such as the one described in my last blog post; Martin Feldstein and Gavyn Davies have also weighed in recently. As far as this story goes, Mandelman’s blog post […]

India and the U.S.: A Tale of Two Ineffective Monetary Policies

Monetary policy refers to the process by which a country’s central bank controls money supply, often through the manipulation of interest rates, with the aim of promoting economic growth and stability while maintaining relatively stable prices and low unemployment. Monetary policy is either expansionary (mainly by lowering interest rates to combat a recession or a […]

Funded vs. Unfunded

The Economist recently had an in-depth special report on pensions, but one confusing statement stood out:

In a sense, it does not matter how the benefits are paid for. If unfunded, they come from workers’ taxes; if funded, they come from investment income.”  

What did they mean by it, and are they making sense?

BP Oil Spill: One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that dumped 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A roundup of what has happened so far:

1.8 million gallons of dispersants released.

1.4 million barrels of liquid waste collected and 265,450 barrels of oil burned off.

Microbes supposedly ate the rest of the oil and methane.

Blown-out Macondo well was plugged with cement.

Reversing the Decline of Late Stage Capitalist Societies: Japan and the U.S.

Late stage capitalist societies like Japan and the U.S. already have the capacity to produce more than enough of the basic goods needed for our biological survival – such as food and shelter. The production of basic goods has become so efficient that we need fewer and fewer people to work to provide them. But at the same time, the population has grown because of such efficient, mass production. Because job creation and wage growth didn’t keep up with rising living costs – leading to lifestyle changes such as the two-income family, post-baby boom families got smaller, closing off a demographic bubble that will soon become a national budgetary headache. In essence, Japan and the U.S. have become victims of their own success.

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