Shocking news: Globe piece questions neoliberal policies

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Veteran investigative journalist Nick Fillmore sent us this piece about a surprising column in Canada’s foremost business paper:

This recent book also pokes holes in neoliberal nostrums

The Globe and Mail – the Canadian media’s strongest supporter of neoliberalism and uncontrolled capitalism – published a column yesterday 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 commentary, “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 piece, 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 piece 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 health care.

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 — according to  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 across Canada according to another business publication: International Business Times.

The corporate-owned media, particularly the business media, are now paying attention. Could it be that the “Barons of Wall Street” and the “Captains of Industry” are getting nervous?

Nick Fillmore, previously an investigate journalist and producer with the CBC, is a freelance journalist and social activist based in Toronto. More of his work is available at

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About Bruce Wark

Bruce Wark is a freelance journalist and retired journalism professor who lives in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. He taught the history and ethics of journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia for 15 years. Before that, he worked for 19 years at CBC Radio news serving as a producer in charge of such network programs as World at Six, World Report and The House. He also produced Media File, a national program that looked critically at the performance of the news media. Along the way, Wark also worked as CBC Radio's legislative reporter in Ontario and as its National Reporter in Canada's Maritime provinces.
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