The Broadbent Blog


Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Large Inheritances, Wealth Inequality, and Real Equality of Opportunity


Thomas Piketty argues in his recent bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that capitalism has a natural tendency towards ever increasing concentration of wealth, and that inheritances play a major role in perpetuating and increasing inequality. While wealth inequality is much lower than in the late Victorian “Gilded Age”, we are headed in the wrong direction.

Socialists have long argued that the highly unequal ownership of wealth reflects the power of the rich  in the market and in politics, and that governments should seek to equalize wealth through taxation and other means in order to promote social justice and greater equality.

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Remembering Stephen Clarkson


Not a year since the death of Abe Rotstein, another giant from the University of Toronto's political science department has passed away. Stephen Clarkson died this past Sunday at the age of 78.

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The case for fiscal policy to spur growth


Developments in the Canadian economy have forced an important re-thinking of the respective roles of monetary and fiscal policy in supporting stable growth and job creation. But mainstream thinking about monetary policy has evolved much further than that on fiscal policy.

Before the great recession of 2008, fiscal policy had fallen greatly out of favour as a tool for macro economic stabilization. The conventional wisdom was that central banks could adjust short term interest rates to keep the economy growing more less at potential with low inflation, and indeed there was no recession from the early 1990s until the financial crisis of 2008.

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Redistribution of Working Time Should be on the Policy Agenda


More than twenty years ago, back in 1994, the federal government released the report of the Advisory Group on Working Time and Distribution of Work. (Disclosure: I served as the Labour Adviser.) The central message of the report has been pretty much ignored by governments ever since, even though it is more relevant than ever today in a slow growth world where good jobs are hard to find. 

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Budget submission 2016 — charting a progressive agenda


The Broadbent Institute is an independent, non partisan organization that promotes progressive change. Grounded in social democratic values and ideas, the Institute seeks to deepen our democracy, encourage strong action to counter growing economic and social inequality, and fuel a transition to a more innovative and sustainable economy. This submission lays out concrete policy proposals that the government should consider if it is serious about implementing progressive reforms in Budget 2016.

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Canada and the TPP: Continuity or change under the Liberals?


As the new Liberal Government takes over the reins of power from the Harper government it will be interesting to see what has and hasn’t changed in Canada’s approach to international trade policy. The early signs, for those concerned with how new trade and investment agreements impact policy making in the public interest, are cause for concern. 

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Employment insurance measures a must for fiscal stimulus


Low oil prices have taken their toll on an already weak Canadian economy, where household debt levels are at record highs and business investment continues to lag. The Bank of Canada held off on a further rate cut this week, opting instead to wait and see the size and structure of fiscal stimulus in the upcoming federal budget.

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Apocalypse Now? Declining dollar, ultralow oil prices and Canada's path forward


With a plunging Canadian dollar, collapsing oil prices, slumping stock markets and signs that the economy stalled in the last quarter of 2015, it is easy to think that we are on the cusp of economic disaster. But the state of the Canadian economy, while indeed dismal, does not justify alarmist pronouncements that threaten to make things even worse by undermining consumer and business confidence.

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Remembering Ellen Meiksins Wood



Celebrated political theorist and socialist historian Ellen Meiksins Wood passed away at her Ottawa home on Thursday at the age of 73 after battling cancer. Ellen is survived by beloved second husband Ed Broadbent, founder and board chair of the Broadbent Institute, and brothers Peter Meiksins of Cleveland and Robert Meiksins of Milwaukee. She was predeceased by her first husband, Neal Wood (1922 – 2003).

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Fighting seniors poverty


The new Liberal government is on track to seriously address the growing problem of poverty in old age. But their election promises need some critical reconsideration. 

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