Amidst the heat of Trump's second impeachment and one of the most mixed-message announcements about pandemic precautions in Ontario yet, I had to take a moment to mark a long-awaited personal "achievement unlocked": CABE’s Inaugural Mike McCracken Lecture on Full Employment.
Mike was one of my mentors, and a fierce champion of full employment policy, firm in the economic knowledge that lowering unemployment was the most important goal of the economy. He lived by this essential economic truth when it was the norm to insist on such foundational principles, and when it was no longer fashionable. As outgoing President of the professional development organization that Mike founded, the Canadian Association for Business Economics (CABE), I wanted to make full employment policy a priority issue again, and not just in homage to the passing of a great economist.
It has taken me years to bring this exchange to fruition. To a passing on-looker, the exchange that took place yesterday might seem like high-level wonkery. But to everyone tuned into the speech by Federal Reserve Governor, Lael Brainard, followed by discussion with Carolyn Wilkins (outgoing Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada) -- they knew they were witnessing the changing of the guard and attitude at the highest levels of economic policy-making.
Central bankers set interest rates and the business conditions for investors and workers alike. And now, as monetary policy frameworks are being updated, the importance of people's lives, not just price and profits, is being reweighted in the economic equation. To quote from Brainard, who channeled Mike's spirit: "Lifting the lives of working people is at the heart of economic policymaking".
You may not see change immediately, but buried in the noise of the past that culminated this week came the whispers from the future. Mark my words - yesterday was just another sign of what is becoming increasingly clear to all decision makers: the future for workers will shape the future for us all.
You can find the presentation here, thanks to CABE!
The Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers is supported by the Atkinson Foundation. Find more information here.