The Trudeau government’s willingness to curtail Employment Insurance eligibility and throw unemployed workers off its key pandemic benefit programs, prior to employment even fully recovering, is a reminder that leaving people behind remains a feature of Canada’s social assistance regime—not a bug. Effective October 23, barring any unexpected intervention, Canada’s main support programs for workers thrown into unemployment by COVID-19 will end.
In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is attempting to transform the country’s overpriced energy industry by nationalizing lithium — a move essential to kicking out private mining and developing a robust and affordable public energy sector.
One of Canada’s largest institutional investors, responsible for managing billions of dollars in workers’ pensions, has committed to fossil fuel divestment. It’s a good step — but without pressure from the labor movement, these promises will mean nothing.
Yesterday the leadership of IATSE announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that will avert a potential strike set to begin at midnight tonight.
Our theory of inflation suggests that the US economy over the next few years is more likely to suffer from stagflation, i.e. 3%-plus inflation with less than 2% growth, than from either deflation or inflationary ‘overheating’ (4%-plus).
The Pandora Papers shine a light on the international networks used by corporations and the global elite to avoid taxes and accrue their wealth. These revelations may not be surprising, but they should be infuriating. The Pandora Papers are so named because, as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) report puts it, “the ancient myth of Pandora’s box still evokes an outpouring of trouble and woe.” In this case, the box released a major data leak that reveals the scale of wealth inequality.
It is also possible that many of these recent U.S. imports from China are in the form of high-tech products that the U.S. now openly sees as a competitive threat. The dangers from China that were earlier described in terms of a different, more protectionist, economic model are now being downplayed by a U.S. administration that is once again discovering the joys of trade protection linked to industrial policy. So the focus has shifted to using concerns about national security to prevent China from being able to access crucial inputs that are necessary for high-tech production.
There’s good reason to speculate that the Pandora Papers, the massive leak exposing the tax-dodging practices of the global superrich — which includes plenty of Russians and Chinese, but almost no Americans — is a CIA plant. Nevertheless, it’s a newsworthy story that deserves the attention it’s gotten.
“What the hell is happening?” said Rachel Patterson, who owns a hair salon in Huntsville, Alabama, and who has been screamed at, cussed out and walked out on for asking clients to don a mask. “Like, I feel like we are living on another planet. Like I don’t — I don’t recognize anyone anymore.”
The debt problems afflicting China’s real estate market deepened this week after another property developer defaulted on its bonds and the world’s most heavily indebted property group Evergrande extended a suspension of its shares into a second day without explanation. Fantasia Holdings, a mid-sized developer, that just weeks ago assured investors it had “no liquidity issue”, said in a stock exchange filing that it “did not make the payment” on Monday of a $206m bond maturing that day, triggering a formal default. The default adds to fears that a crisis at Evergrande will spread to include more of China’s property developers, which account for a large portion of the Asian high-yield bond market.
The Chinese state today wields enormous power, economic and coercive, and how it uses that power matters. As the war drums beat on, misinformation will proliferate and the danger of conflict will also escalate. Finding a path for peace is possible but not easy given that the world is already facing a climate crisis, an enduring pandemic, and the continuing effects of two centuries of settler colonialism.