Government Limited
THe Corporate Takeover of the Public Sector in Canada

Calvert, John
Publisher:  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  1984
Pages:  180pp   ISBN:  0-88627-036-7
  Dewey:  350.1623
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3213

A central purpose of this book is to challenge the claim that Canada's economic crisis has been caused by the growth of the public sector. As Mel Watkins writes in the introduction, "the advocates of free enterpirse didn't hesitate to take the credit when things were going well. Now that they're going badly, they refuse to take the responsibility but instead blame the government and blame the workers." Calvert argeus that "while the role of government in the economy is complex, a careful examination of Canada's economic problems reveals that they can be more realistically attributed to the deficiences of the private market economy."

Calvert also maintains that "Canada's economic problems are rooted in the wider crisis of the international economic system. They reflect Canada's increasingly dependent position within an international order dominated by multinational corporations and international banks. Our economic problems are also characterized by regular boom and bust cycles......Recessions and depressions were experienced long before government--whether in Canada or elsewhere--played any significant role in economic affairs."

According to Calvert, "the central problem with government lies in its increasing subordination to the interests of the corporate sector and not, as its detractors suggest, in the inherent deficiencies of public programs. Far from challenging the priorities of business, government policy is aimed at establishing a more favourable investment climate for private capital. Corporate taxes have been reduced, social programs have been slashed, and the rights of unions have been deliberately undermined. Deflationary economic policies advocated by the private sector have also been adopted."

GOVERNMENT LIMITED supports these contentions with a wealth of detailed information. A final chapter puts forward an alternative economic strategy. Among the policies advocated are ending cuts in public spending, lowering interest rates, nationalizing the banks, expanding public ownership, and expanding public services.

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