Commentary,  Inflation,  Macroeconomics

Webinar on Inflation, Recession … or Both!

Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently presented a keynote lecture to a webinar on Canada’s uncertain macroeconomic outlook, hosted by the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The presentation covered the causes and consequences of the recent acceleration of inflation in Canada – stressing that higher prices cannot be blamed on rising wages or ‘overheated’ labour markets. Instead, a combination of supply disruptions, international pressures, and record profit-taking by Canadian businesses are the main forces driving faster inflation. Unfortunately, the conventional response to higher inflation (quickly hiking interest rates to reduce employment and overall spending) will make things worse. Most economists now expect a recession in coming months in Canada, and many other industrial countries.

The presentation concluded by discussing fairer and more effective alternatives for managing inflation, while preserving employment and protecting workers and low-income Canadians against the effects of higher prices.

A recording of the full webinar (including commentary from Shannon Daub and Alex Hemingway, and questions from the audience) is available here. Jim Stanford’s Powerpoint slides can also be downloaded here. For further details on these arguments, please see the Centre for Future Work’s recent joint publication (with the Canadian Labour Congress), A Cure Worse than the Disease? Toward a More Balanced Understanding of Inflation and What to Do About It.

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.