Based on supporting data, the Swedish author Johan Norberg shows that the opening up of trade and international capital flows is an indicator of progress, especially for the world’s less fortunate. In a systematic way, he refutes the arguments of those who oppose free trade and capitalism. Featured in several prestigious newspapers and magazines such as the Financial Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and The Times, the work of Johan Norberg was awarded the Anthony Fisher International Memorial Award in 2002, a prize that rewards the remarkable works published by independent institutes of research in public policy. Now MEI, in collaboration with les Editions Saint-Martin, has made this significant contribution to the debate on globalization available to French-speaking readers.
A debate has raged for several years in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada on ways to remedy the shortcomings of the public health care system. However, this debate has been confused by uncertainty with respect to the Quebec and Canadian legal context. The legislative framework under which the public health care system has operated for the last twenty years is indeed not only complex, but prone to various interpretations. Just what is allowed under the current laws? Which laws could a reform-minded provincial government modify in order to successfully carry out its reforms? How much room do the provinces that would like to reform the system have under current federal legislation?
We often hear statements to the effect that growth in market economies has caused irreparable harm to the planet. A closer look at official statistics, however, shows us not only that living standards and environmental standards are far higher in advanced countries than in underdeveloped economies, but also that considerable progress has been observed in the latter in the last several decades.
The history of the Quebec education system since the 1960s can be summed up as follows: more expensive educational services, centralization of educational financing at the provincial level, and standardization of educational practices. This approach seems to have reached its climax. Increases and centralization in educational financing and standardization in educational practices no longer seem to have an effect on pupils' performance at school. Educational vouchers aim to introduce a market mechanism to the public education system by linking school financing to the number of pupils they receive. The goal is to encourage schools to respond to demands from consumers of educational services, namely parents.
There seems to be a view among Canadian governments that the domestic market and interprovincial trade are not important. Canada as a country doesn't have enforceable trade rules. Provincial governments can and do use their legislative and regulatory powers to protect local interests and limit trade in their markets. We also don't have an effective mechanism to ensure that our domestic market is functioning the very best it can to support and sustain export growth in the future.
The Report Card on Quebec’s Secondary Schools provides an annual, independent measurement of the extent to which each school meets basic needs. The Report Card thus serves several purposes. For one thing, it facilitates school improvement, and for parents who have a choice between several educational institutions, it can help them make an enlightened decision.
The history of public finance in Quebec since the 1960s can be summed up as follows: rapid spending growth and accumulated deficits until the mid-1990s, followed by a few years of budget cuts and elimination of the deficit, and then a resumption of spending growth right up to now. Contrary to what some people suggest, the Quebec government has not undergone a drastic slimming down in the last few years. Spending growth has continued since 1997.
If we analyze the housing crisis that has plagued Quebec since 2001 through the lenses of economic science, it can be attributed to a number of government policies that have distorted the proper workings of the province’s housing market. Among other factors, rent control has discouraged the maintenance of existing units and the building of new ones. Quebec’s housing regulations also throw numerous roadblocks in the way of tenant selection and the eviction of the worst tenants, which makes investment in housing less attractive.
Bastiat wrote a series of texts that use biting irony to attack the economic sophistry in vogue in his country toward the middle of the 19th century. Unfortunately, this same sophistry continues to feed public policy debate even today!
With governments up against higher health care spending, partnerships between the public and private sectors can offer innovative ways of controlling costs and improving services. Experience shows that such partnerships in construction and hospital management can provide major advantages. However, those who develop public policy must negotiate carefully and devise rules that are well thought out to ensure universal access, quality care and greater efficiency.