• Commentary,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics

    Taking Away the Punchbowl

    Central banks in Canada and around the world have begun an aggressive cycle of monetary tightening: lifting interest rates quickly to undermine domestic employment and spending, in hopes of brining inflation back down toward their preferred targets (2% in Canada). Already, this shift in policy is having major impacts on forward-looking asset markets: stock markets, debt trading (especially for emerging economies), cryptocurrencies, and housing prices are all falling sharply. Many forecasters expect a worldwide recession to result from these measures. History suggests they are likely right: never before in Canada, and rarely anywhere else, have central banks succeeded in disinflating their economies to the extent now planned without experiencing a…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  Technology,  Time & Working Hours,  Uncategorized

    Ontario’s ‘Right-to-Disconnect’ is no Such Thing

    The Ford government in Ontario, portraying itself as being on “the side of workers,” recently passed legislation setting out certain requirements for some businesses in the province regarding expectations of workers’ availability outside of normal working hours. This legislation has been widely, but very inaccurately, reported as a “right to disconnect.” Some coverage has even fawned that Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to protect this right. This claim is transparently false – and individuals who (wrongly) believe that such a right exists might take actions (such as refusing instructions from their employer) that could jeopardize their employment. The Ontario law simply requires that firms with over…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    Corporate Power and Post-Pandemic Inflation: A Deeper Dive

    There is abundant research (including from the Centre for Future Work, here here and here) showing that corporate profit margins have expanded significantly in the course of the current acceleration of inflation. It is not solely a process of companies passing along higher input and labour costs to consumers through higher prices. Rather, corporations have used their market power and disruptions in normal supply channels to widen their profit margins.  In Canada, after-tax corporate profits have increased to their highest share of GDP ever, coincident with the sharp rise in consumer prices. Since it’s corporations who literally set those prices, perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. Labour costs, meanwhile, have lagged…

  • Commentary,  Inequality,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    New Video: Profits, not Wages, are the Driving Force Behind Inflation

    What’s causing the current surge in inflation? And what should be done about it? In this new video, the latest in our “Debunkers’ Academy” series, Jim Stanford from the Centre for Future Work shows it’s not higher wages driving higher prices — in fact, wages are lagging far behind prices, and falling in real terms. The real culprit is corporations, who have taken advantage of the disruptions of the pandemic to jack up their prices (and their profits). This inflation is different than the 1970s, and it needs a different solution. Watch and learn! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DgwM7nruQg

  • Commentary,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    Business Profits from Inflation, but Workers Will Pay to Bring it Down

    As the Bank of Canada announced another increase in its trend-setting interest rate today, new data from Statistics Canada confirms businesses have pocketed record-breaking profits from accelerating inflation, while workers’ wages lag far behind. Centre for Future Work analysis of national income accounts released yesterday by Statistics Canada indicate that after-tax corporate profits reached their highest share of GDP ever in the first quarter of 2022, as inflation surged. After-tax profits grew 11% in the quarter (compared to the fourth quarter of 2021), to an annualized total of over $500 billion. That represents the highest share of total GDP (18.8%) since Statistics Canada began collecting GDP data. Meanwhile, workers’ wages…

  • Commentary,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    Don’t Make Workers Pay for Inflation they Didn’t Cause

    The gap between inflation and wage growth for Canadian workers is exacting a punishing toll on real living standards. In the last 12 months alone, consumer prices increased more than twice as fast as wages. The gap between the two translates into a substantial reduction in real living standards for workers. In this commentary (which originally appeared in the Toronto Star), Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford provides evidence that the current surge in inflation cannot possibly be attributed to labour costs. Business profits have widened as inflation picked up steam. Lifting wages (for both private and public sector workers) to protect against the effects of inflation does not…