For the first of the concurrent sessions, I chose to attend the one about continental economic integration, because it caught my eye. Thus far, this has been the best session of the conference in my opinion, so it was a good choice.
Some notes from Paul Bowles’ talk on Canada and Dollarisation:
- It was actually Quebec that first suggested dollarisation.
- The fact that the value of the dollar fell, and that the Euro took off in Europe around the same time fueled discussion about adopting a common currency. The fact that it was on the agenda for other nations like Argentina also helped stir up interest.
- While the Canadian and Mexican reasons for dollarisation are quite clear, the American reasons are not.
- Reasons why there is hope for the future: what was sold as inevitable has not come to pass, the political right in Canada is itself split on the issue, and the fact that the US pretty much ignored the discussion makes it unlikely to happen.
From Stephen McBride’s talk on Privatizing the State:
- For the first time this conference, it was suggested by Mr. McBride that perhaps neoliberal globalism has peaked. The reasons – there is no longer a sense of inevitability, while we have learned to admire entrepreneurs, events like Enron have shed light on corruption, and most importantly the term “globalization” has lately been replaced with “imperialism”, which conjures up much more discussion about security, and goals, and war, etc.
- Anti-Americanism has never been as widespread or as deep as it is right now, as shown by American polling agencies.
- The influence of “accidental” events should not be underestimated! Events like Hurricane Katrina have shed light on the US class system and the inablility of the government to act domestically.
- People don’t change unless there is an alternative, and only recently have there been the underpinnings for an alternative course of action.
And finally from Erin Weir‘s presentation on the import content of Canadian exports. Of all the talks so far, Mr. Weir’s was by far the best. He is an excellent speaker and presented his argument very well. And, for the first time this conference I have an actual link to a speaker!
- There is this notion that the Canadian economy depends a great deal on exports, and this idea significantly influences public policy.
- Mr. Weir showed that by using a value-added approach to exports, as opposed to gross exports, our economy actually depends far less on exports than is commonly assumed.
- There were three key points: gross exports have declined relative to GDP since the year 2000, even though our economy has continued to grow; exports contribue to GDP far less than is commonly assumed; the growth in exports that was observed following free trade agreements is as much a result of the explosion in import content as anything else.
- TINA – could also mean “trapped in North America”. An argument used to suggest that we are entirely dependent on the United States for our exports.
- The import content value-added approach shows this is untrue.
Read: Globalism Conference