The dubious case for the deserving rich

Harvard University economist Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under U.S. President George W. Bush and, more recently, a key economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, mounts a spirited defence of the very rich in an article to be published in the next issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Mankiw’s central argument is that very high incomes reflect exceptional productive contributions by highly talented individuals, which benefit the rest of society, writes Andrew Jackson, Packer Professor of Social Justice at York University and senior policy adviser to the Broadbent Institute, in an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail June 26. [His] benign view of soaring inequality is consistent with the core assumptions of many economists, but is not shared by those who have most closely studied the phenomenon of rising top incomes, Jackson argues. Read full story.

A man of consensus
Hassan Rohani’s election could bring back a spirit of openness to Iran’s foreign policy, and ease its domestic decline, writes Ramin Jahanbegloo, Noor-York Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies, in The Indian Express June 26. Read full story.

Why are so many college graduates driving taxis?
It’s a parent’s nightmare: shelling out big money for college, then seeing the graduate unable to land a job that requires high-level skills, reports June 25. This situation may be growing more common, unfortunately, because the demand for cognitive skills associated with higher education, after rising sharply until 2000, has since been in decline. So concludes new research by economists Paul Beaudry and David Green of the University of British Columbia and Benjamin Sand of York University. Read full story.

The university myth of good employment
Graduating from university should not be seen as a ticket to a good job, or even to a job, writes York political scientist Thomas Klassen in an opinion piece in the Toronto Star June 23. At the heart of the dilemma are expectations – on the part of students, parents, and citizens – that are wildly unrealistic. Read full story.

Financial training: The drive to spread expertise
Ever since the crisis of 2008, and the realization that many of those implicated in the meltdown were ignorant of the risks they were taking, financial training has been high on the agenda for banking professionals, reported the Financial Times June 23. Now, in a bid to restore public confidence in banks and banking, business schools and training companies are introducing programs with a broader appeal, for those who do not know their ETFs from their EDRs. The Schulich School at York University has launched a one-year degree, with specializations in capital markets, financial risk management and regulatory affairs for financial institutions. The latter is particularly important in developing economies, says Schulich dean Dezsö Horváth. “Compliance officers in banks are in need of this kind of training too, not just regulators.” Read full story.

Indianapolis Zoo launches partnership with the Kutai National Park Authority
Indianapolis Zoo is currently exploring the possibility of partnering with the Kutai National Park (KNP) authority, reported in Indonesia June 13. Partnership will focus on efforts towards reforestation of critical degraded land within KNP, announced Rob Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo’s vice-president of life sciences. Rob said the zoo already has a partnership with Anne Russon, a York University researcher who is conducting long-term intensive research on orangutan behavior in KNP. “We hope to help the reforestation process in important areas while at the same time creating additional habitat for orangutans,” he said. (For English translation of Indonesian story, contact Anne Russon at