The Value of Corporate Nationalism

September 5, 2014

Canadians take pride in Tim Hortons. It is an icon of contemporary Canadiana. When news emerged that Burger King (BKW) was planning a takeover, the media was filled with stories of people’s outrage. The political economic issues this raises are myriad. For example, what value is there to the passion of Canadians for Tim Hortons … Read more

Complexity Science and Political-Economy: Post 1 – Networks

August 20, 2014

This series of posts will explore some contemporary fields in “complexity science”. They summarize experiences from the Santa-Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School 2014, with the hope of suggesting to readers useful research tools for political-economy. Please feel free to contact the author if you are interested in discussing or utilizing any of the approaches … Read more

The Brawl on Bay Street

August 11, 2014

The world of traders has largely been outside political economic analysis. With financial values treated as ‘fictitious’ representations of real values, trading is, at best, a distortion. The actual individuals who perform this role, and supporting roles in the realm of financial intermediation, are given no consideration. From the perspective of CasP, on the other … Read more

Public vs Private Interests in Cancer Research

July 25, 2014

Harvard Medical School researchers Michelle Holmes and Wendy Chen wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about research they published in 2010 that found aspirin may be an effective treatment for breast cancer patients. The op-ed was not just calling attention to these results. Rather, it was a complaint that the research needed to … Read more

Central banking and the governance of the price architecture

July 16, 2014

With the Bank of England signalling an impending interest rate rise, monetary policy has returned to centre stage.  Since 2008 we have lived through a period of extremely unorthodox monetary policy characterised by unprecedentedly low interest rates. This era of ‘cheap money’ may now be about to end and a return to ‘normality’ (interest rates … Read more

The Story of Machines vs. Labour

July 8, 2014

The replacement of labour by machines has brought many improvements in social well-being. New machines have made a wide variety jobs safer and less physically debilitating. Yet, the process is far from decisively good, with many attendant ills. Consider the mechanization of fishing boats. Fishing is a dangerous activity and having fewer workers on the … Read more

The Geopolitical Economy of the Ethanol Boom

June 26, 2014

The corn-ethanol boom represents one of the most dramatic changes in the world food system in recent decades. The ethanol sector now absorbs around 40% of the corn produced in the US. Surging biofuels production (of which US corn-ethanol production accounts for about half) is widely considered to have played a key role in driving … Read more

The Business of FIFA and Our Love of Football

June 15, 2014

John Oliver, a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, now has his own HBO show. Like what he did on The Daily Show, Oliver’s Last Week Tonight brings irreverence and wit to politics, business and other news of the day. Recently, he did a funny and sarcastic piece on FIFA, the governing … Read more

A Price for Everything

June 12, 2014

What is a tree worth? Is this a question you’ve ever pondered? Does it seem like an odd question? Perhaps it seems like an inappropriate question? How could someone possibly attach a financial quantity to a tree? Don’t trees transcend monetary values? Trees are more the things of poetry than finance, aren’t they? Not according … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 7

April 24, 2014

The Privatization of Money: The Greatest Sabotage in Human History? Part II Last time we found out that modern money is created when commercial banks make loans to people and businesses. They are not loaning out other people’s money at all, but effectively creating it by entering numbers into a computer. Between Part II and … Read more

Kevin O’Leary, the Distillation of Capital

April 1, 2014

Television personality Kevin O’Leary is best known as the ‘asshole’ on the investment reality shows Dragon’s Den, in Canada, and Shark Tank, in the United States. The shows have self-styled entrepreneurs bring forth their inventions or business ideas in hopes of attracting investment from a panel of capitalists, which includes O’Leary. He has established himself … Read more

The Weekly Sabotage: Week 6

March 5, 2014

The Capitalization of Money Creation: The Greatest Sabotage in Human History? Every year in my course on Political Economy in the New Millennium I ask my students to do an exercise.  The task is for them to ask three members of their friends or family how money is created.  As you can imagine, the answers … Read more