Reposted from Mar. 22, 2011.
During my own investigations into economic and political systems, I came across the idea of worker co-operatives. These are businesses which are collectively owned by their workers and democratically managed. When I first learned about these, I was stunned at how brilliant of an idea it seemed to be. It was something of a hybrid between a corporation and a partnership. As I investigated other issues, I kept coming back time and time again to this alluring concept that had never been taught to me in my classes on business or economics. It seemed to be an excellent idea, worthy of my support. And in the end, I based some of my own ideas on politics and economics around this concept. So in order to do what I can to support these co-ops, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the benefits this form of business can have. I’ve divided the benefits into three main areas (though there is some overlap): economic, personal/social, and ethical. But first, let me describe in a little more detail what a worker co-op is.Continue Reading
The current political rhetoric in the United States (and other countries, to a lesser extent) is all about government regulations vs. the free market. Republican candidates have been spending much time making promises about budget cuts, removal of regulations, and untying the hands of “job creators.” Government regulation is said to be “inefficient” and an impedance to the progress of the country. The rhetoric here in Canada over the past few years has been similar, focusing on “stimulating the economy” and creating jobs.
Amongst all this language about business and economies, it is important to clarify the goals or end-state that one wishes for society to achieve. Certainly, people have different ideas about what society should be like, but in general I think it is fairly uncontroversial to state that society should benefit the people within it. I would submit that a good goal for society to have is to be just and equitable, and to work toward the well-being of its citizens. It is only after we set this goal that we can start to clarify whether government regulations and policies are truly a good thing. Do they achieve this goal?Continue Reading
One of the common themes that arises when discussing politics is the issue of religion within political discourse and legislation. For every person who argues for the separation of church and state, there’s another who decries the removal of prayer from schools. There is a lot of debate over the level of influence that religion should have within the political realm—whether the government should be strictly secular or not. But I would like to argue that secularism is a cause that everyone—religious folks included—should support.Continue Reading
With a Canadian election coming up on May 2nd, it’s important to take a look at just what the various political parties stand for. I’ve spent the past week or so reading over the official party platforms for the major national parties. (I’ll admit, I only got about half-way through the Green Party platform. It’s not my fault that it’s so ridiculously long.) In the process of reading them, I condensed their various “promises” or proposed actions to create a list of what each party says they will do.Continue Reading
I’m a data nerd. I accept that. I love taking a look at numbers and seeing what they tell me. But like any good data analysis, it’s best to have a purpose for doing it. So today I’d like to discuss a bit of analysis that I did regarding income and inequality, a topic which I think has some clear importance for people around the world.Continue Reading
Another year has come and gone. Where did all the time go? It seems like 2010 has flown by. But of course, as everyone always seems to do on New Year’s Eve, I’d like to take some time to reflect on the past year.
I guess that for me, 2010 was all about decision-making. I had to make some big decisions, the most important one being about grad school. Do I want to go to grad school? Should I go as soon as I graduate? Where should I apply? These were all questions that I had to answer this year, and I’ve now gone through that entire process. I’ve filled out the applications, done the GREs, sent out transcripts, got letters of reference. And now I wait. 2011 will be the year that I find out what happens.Continue Reading
I usually try to stay away from arguing with anything political, since it usually ends in fruitless debates about nothing, but I just couldn’t resist. I was reading on a forum about a British guy who’s not pleased with Bush getting re-elected. Here’s what he had to say: “It is my own bussiness since who ever is president of the US dicatates the next 4 years of how the world will be, as a country man of the US main ally I think I should say what I think about who we go to war with… Yes we do have a Prime Minister if you READ anything in my post you could see it also affects us what your stupid President decides since WE have lost lives to” – all spelling and grammar mistakes are in an effort to reproduce his post without error of misquoting. So here’s what I had to say. Boy I love arguing
“Sure. Blame the US president for the fact that you lost lives in a war your prime minister decided to join. If it’s anyone’s fault that British lives were lost, it’s either your prime minister’s fault – meaning the British voters’ faults for electing him – or it’s the British soldiers’ fault for joining the military. Obviously you take a risk of being called to war when you sign up for the military.
“Oh and by the way, before you try and burn me for being a bigoted American, I’m a Canadian.…Continue Reading