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Contentious Politics in North America: National Protest and by Jeffrey Ayres, Laura Macdonald (eds.)

By Jeffrey Ayres, Laura Macdonald (eds.)

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This is because it is supply that drives the economy, not demand. Rather, cuts in taxes should be directed toward the wealthy and business to induce savings and investments. Stephen McBride 19 In addition to a policy agenda favoring generous tax relief to capital, supply-siders are concerned with labor-market flexibility and ensuring that welfare benefits do not act as a disincentive to work. They believe that generous social benefits produce disincentives to work and that trade unions create monopolies of labor, forcing up the price of wages.

It privileged national economies and their industrial bases (Duménil and Lévy 2001: 585–588; Harvey 2003: 57). The demise of the Bretton Woods system triggered a period of volatility in the international financial system and provided an opportunity for business to assert a new paradigm, the implementation of which would enable finance capital to emerge into a hegemonic position. The increasing fusion of different types of capital created a demand for flexibility in its deployment. The neoliberal policy package, both domestically and internationally, conformed to this requirement on the part of finance capital.

The election of a minority Conservative government in 2006 meant that this situation was likely to persist. The government’s approach to social policy had predictable results, including the growth of inequality (Yalnizyan 1998: 127). Always unequal, ownership of wealth became even more skewed. 7 percent in 1999 (Kerstetter 2002: 12; see also Morissette, Zhang and Drolet 2002). Income statistics show a similar trend. 7 percent, average after-tax income in the pre-recession peak year of 1989 (Statistics Canada 2000).

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