ECONOMICS

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Long Work Hours Don't Work For People (Or The Planet)

Beyond helping break the cycle of constant consumption and allowing people to focus on things that matter -- like friends, family and time in nature -- a shorter work week would also reduce rush-hour traffic and gridlock, which contribute to pollution and climate change. It could help reduce stress and the health problems that come from modern work practices, such as sitting for long hours at computers. And it would give people more options for family care.
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Explaining The Concept Of Consumer Surplus

A large majority of people do not smoke, or no longer smoke, and tend to accept certain bits of conventional wisdom without question. Smoking tobacco being harmful to one's health, smokers therefore need to be protected--even those who would choose to, say, patronize their own smoking restaurants and bars. And we can count on government to enforce regulations and bans to this effect. But what if smokers get something from their "vice," and that this can be explained in economic terms? The answer could be found in the concept of consumer surplus.
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We Need To Work Less To Live Better

It's absurd that so many people still work eight hours a day, five days a week -- or more -- with only a few weeks' vacation a year, often needing two incomes to support a household. Our economic system was developed when resources seemed plentiful if not inexhaustible, and physical infrastructure was lacking. We need an overhaul to meet today's conditions rather than those that existed decades ago when we were unaware of many of the potential negative consequences of our actions.
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Why Big Box Retailers Cost Communities More

What were once staples of daily living in our communities -- butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and greengrocers -- are now seen as inefficient when large chain grocery stores deliver all-in-one convenience. But "fast and convenient" has weakened our communities. As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Liberals' 2016 Budget Opts For Big Spending Over Restraint

We've seen this story before in the mid-1990s, when out-of-control deficits and an impending sovereign debt crisis led to painful spending cuts and tax increases. The government is wrong to make the return to budget balance conditional on strong economic growth. Population aging is already taking its toll on long-term projections, and too many unforeseen events can derail the fiscal path. Only tight fiscal discipline can balance the budget within a reasonable timeframe, protecting Canadians' standards of living from future large tax increases and cuts to government services.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The TPP Hands Control Over Trade To The World's Wealthiest

The world's top one per cent own more than 50 per cent of the world's wealth. The ability to make policy and to enforce it at the national level is essential to combat the slide towards plutocracy, under which society is controlled by the wealthiest citizens. Mr. Obama and Ms. Freeland, please listen to your own rhetoric. Pull the plug on the TPP and CETA.
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Why Newly Constructed Homes Remain Unsold In Alberta

I recently wrote an edition presenting a statistic that isn't covered very often and it garnered some attention and debate. The statistic I'm referring to is the number of completed but unabsorbed houses. These are houses (single and semi-detached) that are freshly built that don't have a binding, non-conditional agreement made to buy or rent the house.