Site C, Reconciliation and a Green New Deal

Reconciliation is not just about rhetoric, it is material. It is about how economic costs and benefits are shared. If we are to be serious about it, we have to be ready to take on costs that are both political and economic. The sunk and termination costs of Site C are substantial and so are the foregone benefits of reliable baseload power. If we want our governments to take on these costs in our name without fear, we have to make it a common sense proposition that they are worth taking on to forge a new relationship with First Nations.

The BCNDP is trying to have it both ways — support UNDRIP in principle but make hard decisions that contradict it. Horgan was visibly pained today in announcing his decision; it seemed honest and honestly conflicted. But it should be clear that saying sorry nicely isn’t good enough. There was little in what he said that touched on the concrete aspects of either going back to the table to get consent before making this decision or a different framework for proceeding in the future. (more…)

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r > g in Vancouver

I’m finally coming back to full functioning from a concussion so there will be less silence here (I’m still writing a book though, a strong counter-tendency). Today, I just wanted to post a revealing duo of headlines about Vancouver, the city my partner and I left (fled?) just over half a year ago.

Exhibit 1:


Exhibit 2:


In the first piece, Vancouver’s mayor offers a tone-deaf apologia for the devastating lack of affordable housing in his city. Poverty, precarity, dislocation and homelessness are unfortunate outcomes of the sins of others, little to do but wash them away with the healing waters of street festivals and food trucks. Can’t get by? Consider a delicious food truck taco!

The second piece, from long-time Vancouver columnist Ian Young, offers a devastating answer to Robertson’s question. Young reports a back-of-(data-packed)-envelope calculation showing that the rise in the value of land under Vancouver’s single-family houses was likely greater than total employment income in the city last year.

Interestingly, the sole sensible section amidst Robertson’s green elite smugness in the first piece points to why this would be so: increased commodification of housing and generalized global asset price inflation in the wake of the financial crisis. Add in a local political system run by developers — oddly missing from Robertson’s account — and you’re set.

As central bank scrambles to re-ignite global growth have managed to support r for some and left g stumbling along, Vancouver is ground central for today’s r > g.

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A short break

Just a quick note to say that I’m dealing with a death in my partner’s immediate family and will be posting far less frequently, if at all, for the immediate future. Unfortunately, this likely means I’ll miss a podcast or two. I’ll be back soon but right now need to put most of my time to other use.

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See you in the New Year

After a frenzy of posting to kick off this blog, I’ll be taking a bit of time off from now until the New Year. All the best to you and yours in the meantime; may whatever god(s) you believe in bring joy and light during these darkest nights.

I’ll be back early in the New Year with renewed energy and more of what’s been going on here for the past month. I’ll be writing on the same ramshackle mix of topics held together under the loose banner of political economy. I also have plans for another multi-part series that will be somewhat of a follow up to the first series on profit and investment after the crisis. This time the theme will be how to profit in a low-investment economy.

I’ll still be posting a bit on Twitter @MichalRozworski

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