Economist Jim Stanford presented an alternative view of economics at Carleton University last night—one that highlights the contribution of workers, the need for pensions, and the exaggerated importance ascribed to financial instruments, including mutual funds.

“My goal is to demystify economics and de-privilege economists,” said Stanford, the chief economist with Unifor and the lecturer at last night’s Dick, Ruth and Judy Bell Lecture, hosted by the Faculty of Public Affairs. “As a union economist, my aim is to empower and educate workers to understand the economy and the importance of work.”

Among Stanford’s comments was a criticism of the financial advice industry and mutual funds specifically. Describing RRSPs as a “get rich slow” scheme, Stanford argued that workers need pensions, not investing advice: “The best financial literacy you could offer is to teach people how to start a union. That’s virtually the only way to get a pension.”

Stanford also questioned the message of financial austerity, encouraging governments to use workers to their fullest potential to ensure economic success. He said more than two million Canadians are either unemployed or underemployed, which harms Canada’s economic progress.

More information and further reading can be found on Stanford’s website:

The Dick, Ruth, and Judy Bell Lecture is an annual lecture that honours the contributions of individuals to the political and public life of Canada. It is hosted by the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs. We gratefully acknowledge that the Lecture is supported through the generosity of Dr. Ruth Bell and the estate of the Honourable Richard A. Bell.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in , , ,
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