In the Long Run We're All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint

By Towse, Raymond | British Journal of Canadian Studies, May 2007 | Go to article overview

In the Long Run We're All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint


Towse, Raymond, British Journal of Canadian Studies


T. Lewis, In The Long Run We're All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), x + 278pp. Cloth. $64.95. ISBN 0-7748-0998-1.

This work is a solid analysis of the shift in public policy from early deficit financing, through postwar Keynesianism, to retrenchment in the governments of Mulroney and Chrétien. The shifts in political philosophy that underpinned the transition from an economy 'in the red' to Ottawa's elimination of the deficit in the 1990s are illuminated clearly by the author. The decline of Canada's flirtation with Keynesianism made way for politics focused on balanced budgets. This pervaded not only Ottawa's legislature but those of the provinces.

Discussing the title of the book, the author notes that it not only emanates from a phrase used by John Maynard Keynes in A Tract on Monetary Reform in 1923, but also that much of the book's thrust pertains to the life and death of Keynesian ideas and policy with regard to deficit finance. The book aims to address three specific questions : the ideas over time that contributed to deficit finance; the cause of changes in those ideas; and the consequences of those changes. …

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