- Branko Milanovic highlights the futility of pretending that market mechanisms will produce anything other than profit-oriented outcomes - and the observation represents an obvious reason not to put public services in corporate hands. And David Sloan Wilson (in introducing an interview with Sigrun Aasland) points out how Norway's active government has produced better social and economic outcomes than business-focused policies elsewhere:
Modern society requires an extensive infrastructure, which does not emerge bottom-up from unregulated markets. This has always been the case, in America as elsewhere, as my recent interview with Daron Acemoglu attests. One reason that the Nordic nations work well might be because they have not—yet—succumbed to the siren’s song of free market fundamentalism.- Nick Dearden discusses how the CETA is nothing more than a ticking time bomb for citizens. But fortunately, Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew note that there will still be some opportunities to ensure it doesn't get ratified.
A strong state capable of building infrastructure is not enough. It must also be an inclusive state that works for the benefit of everyone, as opposed to an extractive state that works only for the benefit of an elite few, as my interview with Acemoglu also makes clear. Inclusiveness requires a balance of power among the various sectors of the society. Perhaps the Nordic nations work well for this reason also—strong states working collaboratively with a strong private sector, strong labor unions, and a strong, well-informed, and trusting electorate.
Even this is only necessary and not sufficient. A national economy that works well is a complex adaptive system, like an automobile with many interdependent parts. Even a strong and inclusive state won’t work well if it doesn’t put the parts of its economy together in the right way, which is not an easy matter for any complex system.
- David Macdonald offers a preview as to what to expect in the federal government's latest fiscal update. And Louis-Philippe Rochon reminds us not to obsess over deficit numbers when we have urgent needs going unmet.
- Ian MacLeod reports that the Libs are breaking another election promise by abandoning any pretense of providing for real-time oversight of Canada's security state. And Tom Parkin weighs in on Justin Trudeau's gross failure to improve the health and welfare of First Nations communities.
- Finally, Courtney Howard and Ryan Meili argue that a price on pollution will go a long way toward improving public health.