Photos highlight gentrification in uber-hip neighbourhood

The case for a common North American energy strategy

The Canadian International Council (CIC)
As oil prices continue to slide, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico can work together to kickstart continental competitiveness.

China-US axis takes centre stage

By Yves Tiberghien. Who has the capacity to lead necessary adjustments in the global institutions that sustain the global economy? Does the apparent return of geopolitical confrontation spell doom for the global liberal regime? Advances in trade, finance and climate at November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Group of 20 summits provide important clues.

The politics of the Philippines’ vulnerability to natural disasters

The evacuation of thousands of at-risk households along the path of Super Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) is prompting renewed interest in the role of infrastructure in disaster preparedness.

Asia Pacific Memo

Asia Pacific Memo is for those interested in current issues in Asia and across the Pacific. Distributed weekly, it features 350 word essays or video interviews on contemporary Asia. Each edition addresses a compelling issue and is based in academic research.

Abe must raise taxes to save Abenomics

10 December 2014
Author: Yukinobu Kitamura, Hitotsubashi UniversityJapan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of the Diet on 21 November and called a snap general election on 14 December. At the same time, Abe announced that he would postpone the second hike of the consumption tax rate from 1 October 2015 to 1 April 2017.From a political perspective, most voters understand that a rapidly ageing population needs steady tax revenues from a broad tax base to finance its ever-expanding social security spending. This is why political parties that opposed the increase in the consumption tax rate lost their seats. Voters saw these parties as irresponsible.

Abe repeatedly praises himself on how well his economic strategy (popularly dubbed ‘Abenomics’) has worked. But Abe has been lucky: the business cycle began to turn just as he was elected, so the — pretty good — economic performance under his administration cannot all be attributed to Abenomics.

Abe’s decision to postpone the second hike of the consumption tax rate was based mainly on the latest estimates of quarterly annualised GDP growth in the second quarter, which has been estimated at -7.1 per cent. This figure shocked many market economists and politicians.

But this figure is misleading. Consumers were aware of the tax hike, so there was a rush to buy items, especially consumer durables and housing purchases, before the hike in April 2014. It is not surprising then that consumption fell in the second quarter because consumers had bought many items in the previous quarter to avoid paying more tax. The important figure is net domestic demand of the tax increase. One way of doing this is to compare output in the second quarter of this year to output in the second quarter of last year. This shows growth of -0.1 per cent per annum. The same measure for the first quarter of 2014 was 3 per cent. Overall, there we cannot identify any strong sign of structural change in consumer behaviour apart from demand smoothing and rapid ageing continuing.

The consumption tax hike should go ahead as planned. The Abe government has a double mandate to boost economic growth and escape the deflationary environment of the past few decades, as well as to recover a sound fiscal position. The second mandate might be politically unpopular, but it must not be ignored or receive a lower priority than the first.

It is also better to implement the tax reform during the early expansionary phase of Japan’s current business cycle, if it has not gone through its peak already. Postponing the consumption tax rate hike until later in the cycle could create a higher risk of recession.

In addition, a large part of the extra revenue from a consumption tax hike would be redistributed to households, mainly through the social security system. A consumption tax hike therefore doesn’t necessarily reduce household’s disposable income. Of course, some may argue that the social security system is too generous to the elderly and too mean to the young. But this is a problem of the transfer system, not the consumption tax per se.

What should Abe do next? For better or worse, Abenomics is a direct successor to old-fashioned Keynesian fiscal and monetary policy that prevailed in the high-growth era in the 1960s. Implementation of the third arrow — radical structural reforms — is eagerly awaited.

To stoke private sector growth, the Abe government must set monetary and fiscal policies consistent with the structural reform strategy. When the economy nears full employment, further government stimulus crowds out private sector activity. In this case, the first and second arrows of Abenomics need to give way to the third. Put bluntly, further expansionary monetary and fiscal policy will harm economic growth in the private sector as the economy reaches full employment.

Yukinobu Kitamura is a Professor at the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

Vancouver Named Most Entrepreneurial City in Canada

While Vancouver may have a reputation as a laid-back town where people bask in the lifestyle, Futurpreneur Canada has named it the most entrepreneurial city in the country.

The non-profit organization dedicated to entrepreneurial advocacy bestowed the honour on Vancouver for the first-time ever after the city hosted 89 registered events during Global Entrepreneurship Week, which ran November 17-23.

Ottawa previously held the distinction of most entrepreneurial city in Canada the last two years after putting on the most registered events that would connect entrepreneurs with potential investors and partners.

But Vancouver had the good fortune of Global Entrepreneur Week lining up with Startup Week, which drew similar events such as the Cascadia Summit and Vancouver Impact.

“We’ve been absolutely gearing up toward this the last few years,” said Jill Earthy, Futurpreneur Canada’s B.C. director.

“We were able to collaborate a lot more effectively and do a lot more.”

While Futurpreneur’s decision to recognize Vancouver was based on the number of registered events held in the city, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) — which specializes in securing capital and financing solutions for entrepreneurs — compiled data showing B.C. consistently outperforms much of the rest of Canada in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

A 2012 BDC study found the province was exceptionally entrepreneurial based on the percentage of population that’s both self-employed and hiring new employees.

The report showed in 2011 that 0.27% of B.C.’s population became self-employed with employees compared with the national average of 0.23%.

Even during the 2008 financial crisis, 0.37% of B.C.’s population became self-employed with employees compared with the national average of 0.24%.

And although B.C. had 12.9% of Canada’s population in 2011, its nationwide share of self-employed residents with employees amounted to 15.6% that same year.

Whereas 38.6% of the country’s population lived in Ontario in 2011, that province had 37% of the country’s residents who are self-employed with employees.

“There’s more of an influx of entrepreneurs coming to Vancouver from (other) countries,” said Danny Lidder, vice-president of financing and consulting at BDC’s Vancouver office.

“And there’s more of an entrepreneurial spirit as they come to Canada as new immigrants and they’re setting up shop.”



Faculty of Arts Council Meetings 2014-15


The Faculty of Arts Council is constituted by the Senate under the authority of the University Act.  Faculty of Arts Council Meetings (“Faculty of Arts Meetings”) are chaired by the Associate Dean responsible for faculty affairs.  All tenure-stream faculty are invited to attend Faculty of Arts meetings.  The meeting agenda and relevant documents will be made available in advance on this site to those invited to the Meeting.  The meeting venue will be announced closer to each meeting date.  Further information about Faculty Council Meetings is available on the Senate and Curriculum Services website.

2014/2015 Faculty of Arts Meetings


The first Meeting of the year will be held on THURSDAY OCTOBER 16, 2014

meeting time & location: 12:30pm to 2:00pm Buchanan B211

Members and representatives will be provided with a formal notice of meeting and instructions on how to access meeting materials.

This program is subject to approval by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education

Become a Global Change Maker. Get the Policy Degree the World Demands.

UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs Program has received formal approval from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. The MPPGA is a two-year global public policy program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.