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60 Comments

politics

Federal By-Election 2013: Chrystia Freeland

Meet the Liberal candidate for Toronto Centre

Chrystia Freeland  Photo by Joseph Morris from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Chrystia Freeland. Photo by Joseph.Morris from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

For more on Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland, here’s a transcript of key portions of our interview with her.

On Income Inequality

To think that the economic policies that worked in the 70s are going to work forever is a temptation. It is intuitively obvious…that what is going on is new and different. Up until the late 70s or early 80s you have GDP growth correlated pretty much in a straight line with growth of wages in the middle. I think there are three things that drove that breakdown. One of them is the fact that there were a set of protocol changes—weakening of union protection, deregulation, and so on. But that’s only part of it. There are some underlying really big economic shifts. The technology revolution has had huge impact on a number of sectors and on the breakdown of rewards in those sectors and the number of people that are employed in those sectors. Likewise globalization.

So I just think that it’s really important to be honest and thoughtful about how the world has changed…when the problems change we’re going to need new policies. Now what are those policies? I certainly think that we need a social welfare system and a social safety net, and that had frayed a lot under the current government and we need to rebuild it. I also think that we need a real focus on entrepreneurship, we need to understand that the jobs of the past, many of them are never coming back, and the sort of life cycle where you got a job and work at the same job for your whole life, that is not going to work for most Canadian people. They are going to have to invent their own jobs, and that can be okay, but we have to be sure that Toronto Centre is a place that provides a real platform for doing that. If that seems too abstract, that is already happening here at the DMZ at Ryerson. We need to double down on that kind of thing.

A third area that we need to focus on is social opportunity and social mobility. One thing we know about rising income inequality is that it correlates in a direct line with falling social mobility. So we have to attack that by really strengthening and improving early childhood education, attack that by making more affordable post-secondary education, including vocational training.

…[E]conomic growth for Canada, for Ontario, for Toronto Centre, to me that’s an incredibly important part of expanding opportunity for the middle class here. One of the things I really worry about the world economy right now is that we could be entering a period of sectoral stagnation, and that is really worrying for people earning the median income who are struggling already. So let’s focus relentlessly on getting growth—I am supportive of expanding trade—incomes in the tradeable sector are 50 per cent higher than in the non-tradeable sector, so that’s really important.

On Jobs and Infrastructure

We need to work on developing concrete projects on infrastructure. In Toronto Centre, people who live here certainly know it needs more infrastructure. This is a city bursting at its seams in terms of transit and housing, and infrastructure is a tremendously effective supplier of jobs. The other thing I think is that we are now in contrast with the 90s or the 80s or the 70s, living in a really low-interest-rate environment and it looks as if those low-interest rates may prevail for some time. If you’re living in an environment where you need more jobs, where your infrastructure is falling apart before your eyes and interest rates are really low, it’s a no-brainer to say let’s do some big infrastructure projects.

On Working Abroad

I have had the good fortune to be born in Canada, and my eldest daughter was born right here in Toronto Centre. But this is one of the most of the most diverse communities in Canada and in the world, and that’s one of our great successes here. More than half the people in Toronto were born in another country, and one of the great things about Toronto and about Canada, and one of the reasons we have made multiculturalism work, is that there is no back of the bus. Regardless of whether you became a Canadian citizen yesterday, or you are descended from five generations here, you have an equal voice, an equal right to participate in our society. So I really feel that my own diverse life experience is a good match for the diversity of the riding, and that’s the reaction I’ve been getting at the door. A lot of people are interested in and enthusiastic about the fact that, like them, I have had a lot of life experiences outside of Canada. The other thing I would say is that now in the 21st century, at a time when the world economy is more integrated and competitive than ever, now more than ever that it’s really valuable to have people contributing to the public policy conversation in Canada who have experience outside the country. A life that involves working in and understanding the rest of the world and also involves getting a seat at the table in some of the important international conversations—I see that very much as a positive and a plus that I am offering to the people of Toronto Centre.

On Climate Change

Climate is a concern for all humans on planet Earth. I think it’s a scientific fact and there are far too many tragedies which we all see…I don’t want to make a scientific assertion which I haven’t been personally been able to prove but we certainly seem to be seeing more and more really big and tragic weather events and it’s hard not to connect those with climate change. I haven’t heard people proactively raising it at the door but of course it’s a huge issue, how could it not be?


See also:

In her own words: Linda McQuaig

Comments

  • Sanyok

    I see you covered only 2 candidates in this riding. Is there no one else in the running? Even if you don’t consider other candidates “front-runners”, do they not deserve at least some coverage that outlines what they stand for?

  • Sanyok

    I find one interesting trend with these candidates. They talk about middle class, jobs growth, etc.. But not one of them mentions any specific policies they would implement to help the middle class. Economists identify Free Trade agreements as the main reason for dwindling middle class, yet I don’t see anyone proposing re-negotiating or exiting our trade pacts. The Liberals, in particular, are supporting Canada-China FIPA which features such gems as: loss of sovereignty over our natural resources, loss of sovereignty of our courts/govts (Chinese corps will be able to sue any decision that cuts into their profits), secret investor-state litigation (lawyers rejoice at taxpayers expense!), minimum 31 year wait before we can exit the agreement and others… These politicians seem to be all talk and no action, we should demand better! And if we don’t, we deserve what we have coming to us.

    • PlantinMoretus

      I think it’s because the very things that would help the middle class – strong unions & labour protections, regulation of industries, tariffs, etc – go against the free-market brainwashing of the last 30-odd years. The minute a candidate drops terms like that, they will alienate a lot of voters, even voters who would benefit from those policies. We’ll have to go back to Dickensian poverty levels before people start to figure it out, IF they figure it out.

      • OgtheDim

        Strong unions are not necessary to have a strong middle class.

        The old options are not the model anymore.

        • dsmithhfx

          Depends on what you mean by “strong unions”. Unions don’t have a lily-white track record. But then, neither do corporations, governments, organized religion, or any other large socio-economic formations. Does that mean we should ipso facto toss them all? No.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Yeah, it’s funny how the flaws of unions (and there are many, I’m in one and I have LOTS of complaints about it) are seen as a reason not to have them at all, but the flaws of corporations and their government bedfellows are just something we have to live with.

          • OgtheDim

            Oh, don’t assume I think unions should be done away with and that corps are all good.

            I just don’t think unions are as necessary as some people on here think.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          What is your solution then?

          • OgtheDim

            Not sure.

            All I know is the idea that unions will magically create a strong middle class flies against the reality of today.

            And, I know enough about history to know that what was is not necessary for what can be.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Unions have a bad rep (largely brought on by their own actions), but that has nothing to do with whether or not strong unions create(d) a strong middle class.

          • torontothegreat

            It’s interesting to observe how much corporate and government programming has affected people. “I know unions won’t make a difference but I don’t know why” is a fascinating look into that.

            If unions won’t help the middle class, how come corporations pay millions, if not billions per year to convince our governments and ourselves, otherwise?

            The success of this lobbying and propaganda has created a generation of people who shop at Wal Mart, buy into the idea of racing to the bottom and are generally apathetic to the cause of labour, it’s anti-social at best.

            In the last 200+ years, there is a clear pattern. The more corporations have control, the worse-off society is within the scale of economics. The more unions are there to mitigate that control, the better off society is. This point isn’t speculative, or debatable.

            I mean you can’t even come up with a valid reason why unions aren’t “necessary”

            “All I know is the idea that unions will magically create a strong middle class flies against the reality of today where a lot of people don’t like them.”

            The former has nothing to do with the latter. The latter just shows how effective spending billions lobbying government and spreading hate can be.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Who said “magically”?

            And who said anything about repeating the past?

        • PlantinMoretus

          A strong middle class has never existed without unions. What other “model” will strengthen the middle class, and where/how has it been tested?

        • torontothegreat

          The “middle class” would not even exist without unions. But you knew that right?

      • Aporia27

        There is an important place for unions, and an even more important place for regulations and labour protections. But one of the things that Freeland said that is quite true is that the conditions now are really different than they were in the ’70s and before. After the Second World War, North America emerged as the only standing (intact) industrial economy; Europe was rebuild soon after. For a long time only a few countries in the non-communist world had a monopoly on industrial production. As that spread to Japan, Korea, China, and other countries, jobs were lost here, and until those countries reach the point of unionizing their own workforces and having comparable wages to those here, we have lost our competitive advantage. The whole cycle played out incredibly fast in Japan: it used to be a place where unskilled and semi-skilled labour dominated, but now it has reached the standard of living of the west….and production has moved elsewhere. Freeland is right that in the short and medium term the way to grow the economy here involves encouraging innovation and attracting industry, and doesn’t simply involve new laws legislating certain wages or union rights (though it may involve that too).

        • PlantinMoretus

          That’s pure slush. And Freeland is a joke. Since when does she know anything about economics?

          That whole “the world is different now, that’s why we can’t pay good wages” is intellectually so weak it actually hurts my eyes to read it. Productivity has INCREASED since the post-war period, corps make record profits these days, executives make record salaries – THAT is where the good wages have gone. Freeland and her ilk can get in line to kiss my ass.

          • Aporia27

            Please don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say that we can’t pay good wages, or that we can’t do things to combat income inequality. I said that Freeland is right that the solutions to this can’t be the same as they were in the ’70s, because the world IS different. However, I didn’t even say that unions and labour regulations weren’t part of the solution: they are. But we can’t expect that we’ll solve the problem merely by mandating increased wages and more union rights. It would certainly help in some sectors, particularly those that can’t be moved overseas, like service workers. I applaud fast food worker’s efforts in that area. But it’s not going to work anymore in manufacturing, which will just move overseas. Manufacturing continues to bleed jobs in Ontario: just read the newspaper. The key to attracting those kinds of jobs is to invest in innovation, so that we manufacture high-end products in ways that can’t be done overseas, developing a Canadian “brand” in the way that Scandinavian products are synonymous with style and quality. And actually, despite what McQuaig has to say about them, that’s actually what Scandinavian counties have done. Sweden now has lower corporate taxes then the States, runs some public services privately, encourages innovation, and has low government debt That’s how it has managed to sustain its generous social programmes. What exactly would you do differently? Yes, corporate profits are high, but what would you do to increase the share that average people get? Increase corporate taxes to France’s levels perhaps? Well, guess what, the French economy is stagnant and businesses are leaving.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Don’t put words in my mouth either. I didn’t say “merely mandating increased wages and more union rights.”
            Otherwise, your post is just a repeat of your earlier post. Are you shilling for Freeland? Don’t bother – I will NEVER be persuaded to vote for her. She’s not “right”, she’s just expressing an opinion, one that just so happens to dovetail with the wishes of corporations. And you are doing the same. I hope you don’t think you are presenting new ideas here, it’s just the same old neo-liberal slush that’s been circulating for decades. We followed that advice, and the average person is worse off as a result. So screw that noise.
            And stop with that useless “the world is different now” horsesh1t. The economy is a made-up thing, it always was, and we can arrange it however we want. It’s ALWAYS been that way and we DON’T have to fear punitive actions by corporations. We can pull the plug on them ANY TIME WE WANT. THEY should fear US.

          • Aporia27

            Firstly, I wasn’t putting words in your mouth. Here is what you said in your first post: we need: “strong unions & labour protections, regulation of industries, tariffs”. I asked you to elaborate on how that would work. Secondly, you don’t seem to be making much of an effort to have a thoughtful, polite conversation. No, actually, I’m not shilling for Freeland. I don’t belong to any political party and I thought carefully about both Freeland and McQuaig’s positions. I thus don’t appreciate my opinions being called “slush”. I didn’t repeat myself: I offered useful details about how I think that unions are important, and what else I think is needed.

            You’re right, the average person is worse off. The question is, how do we fix that? I say let’s take McQuaig’s own suggestion and look at what Scandinavian economies have done. If you would, you’d find that they are doing some things that you consider very “neoliberal” indeed. They are a hybrid. Otherwise, give me some examples of places or people doing things that you think would work. I am a pragmatist: I will go with what produces a good end, that is, what promotes the common good.

            And no, the economy is not a made-up thing. We can’t arrange it however we want. That kind of central-planning thinking went out of style at least 20 years ago. There is a reason why some economic systems work better then others: why, for example, Soviet-style communism just didn’t work. I doubt that that’s what you’d like, but then please tell me what you are in favour of. How do you suggest we pull the plug on corporations? What does that even mean? New laws to regulate them? Completely dismantling them? Changing their ability to lobby governments? To own media outlets? I have merely asked for some details, before I can even tell whether I agree with you or not.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Oh god, where do I start? Who said anything about central planning? Here’s how the economy is a made-up thing: it doesn’t exist in nature. Humans created it – actually a tiny subset of humans – very, very recently. NOTHING, literally not one thing, is a given about our economy. Furthermore, I’ll point out that at no time did any society get together and decide that out of all their options, industrial capitalism was the best choice. It was imposed on people by force for the most part. It’s just what happened, which doesn’t mean it’s right or good or inevitable.
            And don’t kid yourself – economies are planned ALL THE TIME. You think corporations don’t plan, don’t influence governments and policies to get the right conditions to suit their plans? What do you think the World Economic Forum is, for just one example? Or the EU? Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership a grassroots initiative? Hardly.
            Seriously, open your mind and start reading up on this stuff.

          • Aporia27

            Oh my, here come the veiled insults again, the insinuation that my mind is not open, and I have not read about these things. Actually, I have. At the moment I’m doing a PhD in philosophy, specializing in ethics, and to get to the point of dissertation writing I took graduate courses in political theory too. Moreover, I have for years been interesting in politics generally, and not just political theory specifically.

            I used “planned economy” in the sense of governments deciding what should be produced and setting people’s wages in a direct fashion. That is what ‘arranging the economy anyway we want’ brought to mind, like a child playing with blocks. In another sense, yes of course there is planning in economies: any economic arrangement is the result of a complex set of regulations and tacit norms. It’s a neoliberal myth that a free market works in ways unaided by the state.

            Yes, sure, the economy is a made-up thing because it doesn’t exist in nature. But in that sense, so is bridge-building, fine art, and politics itself. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t better and worse ways to do these things, given what humans are like and what the world is like. And I’m not sure in what sense the economy is a really recent human creation. Presumably people bartered things before, and then lived in feudal societies, which then morphed into a more mercantile economy. All of these involve a certain distribution of goods among people which follows certain agreed-upon standards for acquiring, owning, and trading those goods. Some of these systems worked better then others, and indeed, the reason Marx admired capitalism so much is because it worked even better. So I’m not sure in what sense you’re using “economy” such that it was created very recently. The large, centralized, democratic state is fairly recent, so the idea of collectively and consciously engaging in economic planning is rather recent, though those too are rooted in the European empires that preceded them.

            And if we decide to arrange the economy differently, it would be good to know what that entails, which is what I’ve now asked you several times. Please give me some concrete examples of what you think the cause of these problems are and how they can be fixed. Saying “the economy is made-up, so we can do whatever we want!” just doesn’t cut it. If you don’t like industrial capitalism simplicitor (and that’s what it sounds like), what do you envision as an alternative?

          • PlantinMoretus

            “the reason Marx admired capitalism “?????
            Oh boy, I can’t even.
            If you really knew your Marx, you would know what I meant about the economy being a made-up thing, a recent one, and all that. He discussed all that – that’s where I got it from. You certainly wouldn’t be struggling with the concept of alternatives.

          • Aporia27

            Marx DID admire capitalism, because it superseded and destroyed feudalism, and was a more efficient way of organizing society, because it encouraged innovation, or in other terms, unlocked the productive capacities in humans that had not been tapping into in feudal societies. He just thought it would be superseded by an even better system, communism, because capitalism was rigged to destroy itself due to the tensions that it inevitably brought about. Look up the idea of “historical materialism”. Marx was a Hegelian, and he thought that capitalism was a necessary stage in human development. So sorry, I’m not ignorant on this point. Jeez, just Google “Marx admired capitalism”. If anything, Marx’s historical materialism means that he thought the economy was the very opposite of a made-up thing. We can’t just decide to organize it one way or another. It follows laws of historical evolution, with each economic system superseding the last. Get that? Each one superseding the previous one. Meaning “the economy” has been here, in different forms, for a long time.

            So I’m still waiting to hear what your own ideas about alternatives are. Are they Marxist? That would be a starting point, at least, though you could do to read up a bit on Marx.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Hegelian, historical materialism – clearly your philosphy training is influencing your understanding of Marx. That’s fine, but we are not having a philosophical discussion, but an economic one, so you’ll have to re-orient yourself.
            Anyway, I really don’t understand how someone who claims to be familiar with Marx can struggle with the idea of alternatives to neo-liberal industrial capitalism. Marx wrote about a bunch of them. Many more are possible. Freeland’s ideas are tired and unoriginal. What can’t you get about that?

          • vampchick21

            They asked you what your own ideas were.

          • PlantinMoretus

            I can play that game too. What are YOUR ideas? You first.

          • vampchick21

            Sigh. Lose the attitude. I’m not the one asking, I was pointing out that aporia27 was asking. So ask them or share with them. I don’t care which.

          • PlantinMoretus

            I know aporia was asking. It’s a tactic to deflect attention away from criticism of his/her preferred views. That’s why I’m not playing along.

          • vampchick21

            You rebel you. Fight the man.

          • PlantinMoretus

            It has nothing to do with rebellion. It’s just being wise to the tactics.

          • vampchick21

            You keep telling yourself that.

          • PlantinMoretus

            So you stepped into the fray to take shots at me. Classy! and mature!

          • vampchick21

            That’s how I roll.

          • Aporia27

            Look, I can play the same game. You seem to be deflecting attention away from your own views by saying things ‘generally, there are alternatives’. And actually, I have been quite clear about my views. I started off offering quite substantial ones. What *was* your criticism? That my view is conventional, unoriginal, or “slush”. Let’s be clear: I am not, as I said, shilling for Freeland. I have my own view, that Scandinavian solutions, with a hybrid of social democratic and free market elements, seem to be working well. I’m not sure what is unoriginal about that. And if originality is what you want, ditch the Marx: he’s a dead white guy, afterall! Instead, think of a completely new idea that no one has ever had before. But by all means, just tell us what it could be, we’re all waiting. The thing with making criticisms of other views is that at a certain point you have to back up your vague criticisms, and offer at least part of a positive view in the course of doing that.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Nope – you don’t get to decide the terms of this debate.

            I notice your own views are all over the place. Freeland hasn’t said anything about Scandinavian solutions, and neither did you in your first comments. In fact, Scandinavian solutions aren’t really compatible with your first comments. The world is just as “different now” for them as it is for us, and yet they maintain their strong labour organizations and their economies are quite a bit more planned – by public institutions – than ours. Yet a few posts back you had a problem with planning the economy and didn’t see how it could work.

          • Aporia27

            I never denied that economies involve planning. I said *centralized* or *Soviet-style* planning, the kind suggested by “arranging things any way we want”, doesn’t work. I freely admitted that in a broader sense all economies involve a complex system of regulations and tacit norms. I started talking about the Scandinavian approach in my second comment here, and if you’re so interested in my consistency, you can click on the interview with McQuiag and see that I brought it up way before I even started talking to you.

            My entire point with the Scandinavian example is that it is unique hybrid. Did you know that some Swedish hospitals are private run? That Sweden has significantly cut back on government spending? That Sweden has lower corporate taxes than the States, and lower taxes in general than most of the rest of Europe? All the while they have maintained strong union rights, social programmes, and environmental regulations. Why does Sweden have this hybrid? Because in response to declining competitiveness and a shrinking economy in the ’80s and ’90s, they instituted significant free market oriented reforms. So actually, I think that they are very compatible with what I said from the very beginning, which is that we need a mix of different elements, including both union and labour oriented things, and other things related to innovation and growth.

            Look, you don’t get to decide the terms of the debate either. I offered a substantial and consistent positive view, in as much detail as I could put here. I have tried to understand and have asked you about your view, and have responded to your criticisms of mine. So there’s really nothing more I can say right now. You are refusing to answer my questions about your positive view, so I can only assume that despite your bluster, you don’t really have one worked out. So, time to move on.

          • PlantinMoretus

            I’m not *obliged* to answer your questions. I don’t know why you think I am.

          • Aporia27

            What a very individualist understanding of conversational norms. You talk about what you want, when you want to. YOU set the terms, rather then being responsive to the other person. It sounds a bit funny coming from someone so down on neoliberalism.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Right, because internet comments and political economy are like totally the same thing.

          • Aporia27

            Both can be seen as a collective activity governed by norms of mutual responsiveness – i.e., you become somewhat obliged to respond to what I say by entering into conversation – or can be seen very individualistically. Time to examine yourself for some false consciousness.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Uh, no. I’m not fair game to all comers just because I posted a comment.

          • Aporia27

            There isn’t a sharp distinction between thinking about Marx philosophically and thinking about Marx’s economic views…because that’s what Marx’s philosophy is about, and indeed, any economic view has a lot of philosophical presuppositions built into it, which is why neoliberalism is not as value-free as it likes to present itself. And the point is, yes indeed, Marx admired capitalism, and he had a view of economic systems that suggests that they follow some laws of development.

            There are any number of possible alternatives to anything, and I never claimed that there aren’t any to industrial capitalism. The question is which alternatives are good, and why, and what the substance of those alternatives are. Given that you disagree with Freeland’s views, I asked you what your own view is. So far, all I know is that because the economy is a made-up thing, we can do whatever we want. We just aim at a certain goal, and because we decide we want it, we can get it. That wouldn’t cut it. I’d like to learn a little more about what your proposed solutions are. You said that they don’t simply involve mandating increased wages or union rights, and that they don’t involve central planning. You said that we should pull the plug on corporations, a rhetorical turn of phrase you didn’t clarify. I don’t really know what you suggest as an alternative to what I suggested, namely, following a Scandinavian model, which protects social programmes and union rights. Oh, and Marx did not propose “a bunch” of alternatives. He proposed one: it’s called Marxism.

          • PlantinMoretus

            No, Marx didn’t propose Marxism. Marxism is not an economic system either. You can get some education here: http://www.rdwolff.com

            If you think you know Marxist economics better than Wolff or Harvey, good luck to you.

          • Aporia27

            Or, seeing as you understand it so well, you could explain it yourself. Seeing Marxism as an economic system is fairly mainstream, but if you don’t think it is one, then by all means, explain. If it’s not, what is the alternative the Marx put forward (seeing as you think he put one forward)?

          • PlantinMoretus

            No one can explain all of Marx in an internet comment. Hit up a library if you really want to know. But no way, no how, is it an economic system (many people are misinformed about that) and I never said he put forward an alternate economic system AND I never said Marx is the only person we should look to for alternatives.

            Looking over the comment history, my original comment wasn’t even about alternative economic systems. It was about why candidates don’t talk about the strategies that really would help protect the middle class. You’ve been trying to make it about something else with every one of your posts. I don’t even know what your objective is, but if it’s to convince me that Freeland is anything other than a neo-liberal opportunistic shill, forget it. If you want to proselytize about Scandinavian solutions, have it at, but don’t do it on my account.

          • Aporia27

            Actually, it’s quite straightforward. You said Freeland is wrong for a number of reasons; I defended her, you said I was being defeatist and just saying the world is different, so I offered a positive view and asked you about yours. Evidently, you find this kind of thing difficult. It’s much easier to stick to the empty rhetoric about gutting things.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Nope, I never said anything about “defeat”. Not even close. I checked. I talked about the increased productivity, the record profits and executive salaries – increased wealth that hasn’t gone to average working people. Totally different thing, and I notice you ignored it.

            Finally, I see what your problem is: you don’t read what I actually wrote, you project your own issues onto it and then argue against those. And you are hung up on the idea that by commenting here – before you even showed up – I’m somehow obliged to give you answers you find satisfactory to questions you choose. I’m not.

          • Aporia27

            Look, if you don’t want to talk to me, don’t really to my comment. If you do reply, you open up a conversation. That’s how it works. You replied to my comment about changing conditions. I defending myself by fleshing out more details on what I think is wrong today and how to fix it. You just keep sputting the same rhetoric, without being substantive. What did you write? We should gut corporations, we should have union rights and labour laws, but not only those things, that the economy is made-up and we can do what we want, that Marx told you that. None of this is clear or substantive.

          • PlantinMoretus

            So what if you don’t think it is clear or substantive? Again, you don’t get to decide the terms. I think I made some excellent points. You can carry on ignoring them.

          • Aporia27

            I asked: “How do you suggest we pull the plug on corporations? What does that even mean? New laws to regulate them? Completely dismantling them? Changing their ability to lobby governments? To own media outlets? I have merely asked for some details, before I can even tell whether I agree with you or not.” So, I didn’t find what you said clear and asked for clarification. Perhaps you’re not used to that request, but you’re fair game for it once you make a claim in response to something I said. Something doesn’t become clear and substantive just because you say so either: conversation is a collective endeavor, meaning that if someone asks for clarification, it’s nice to give some. Please tell me which of your points I ignored, if you care to. About being unoriginal? About the existence of alternatives? About the economy being made-up? I addressed all of them. Then I asked you about your claims.

          • PlantinMoretus
          • Aporia27

            That’s funny. It does describe me sometimes, and perhaps you. But it didn’t answer my question. But you’re right, it doesn’t matter very much. Thankfully the closest you’ll come to making real decisions about the economy is being rhetorical on the internet, so feel free to say whatever you want without defending it.

          • PlantinMoretus

            Oh god, you still don’t get it. I don’t have to answer your question, it doesn’t matter what you think of my ideas. And it’s all a bit rich coming from a philosophy student, because the economic analysis of that career choice is pretty shaky.

          • Aporia27

            I don’t do philosophy for the money. What a neoliberal way of thinking of things!

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            There is an ocean between soviet-style central planning and the ability to regulate most aspects of the economy. Making that leap from what @PlantinMoretus:disqus said is, well, pretty suspicious behaviour.

          • Aporia27

            Okay, fair enough, it was a bad move. But I am still left with a big question then about what it means in more concrete terms to “arrange the economy any way we want”. We already regulate most aspects of the economy, so presumably the idea is to regulate them differently and better. So, again, how? I’m not asking because I don’t think it can be done, but because I want to have a conversation on who offers the best ideas about how it can be done.

    • GreatSave

      Plus neither of them are middle class but profess to know what it is like. It is so condescending it makes me sick.

  • NYCBoy2305

    “I certainly think that we need a social welfare system and a social safety net, and that had frayed a lot under the current government and we need to rebuild it.”

    The greatest attack on the social welfare system occurred during the Liberal Chretien-Martin reign. Do not forget this, though she has.

  • NYCBoy2305

    Linda McQuaig link at bottom of article is dead.