Friday, December 26, 2008

WHERE is the Anger??? Where is the Seething Fury?

The American NeoConservative "gung-ho" wide open style of free enterprise has KO'd the world economy. Where is the collective anger? Where is the seething bitter fury, for what the NeoConservatives have wrought? Have they honestly bought out the media so "finally" and completely, that there is not a discerning voice anywhere, that can impel the public forward, for the need for change?

Have enough people not lost their jobs? Is that it? Do others just not understand that the creators of this debacle are exactly the WRONG people to fix it? Do we all not understand that the very system was flawed/is flawed?

I don't know about everyone else who is reasonably informed, but many of my friends/family, and I ware pretty concerned - and pretty pissed off. Just who did these American bankers, economists, and right wing politicians think they were? And now... they think they will be running things again? At least in the US the electorate shook things up. Honestly, the "Mess-o-Potamia" wouldn't have been enough to defeat the Bushies (nor the years of lies and criminal acts). The only thing that allowed Mr. Obama his modest victory was the economic floor dropping out from under the US. The Bush PR machine had to do so much spin since 2001 that they really couldn't lie much more without being called on it...

Up here in Canada, the Harper Conservatives managed to lie their way through the past year... They distracted Canadians with "small shiny objects", while they raped our economy. They destroyed our contingency fund, eviscerated our tax base (the ONLY tool government has to bail people out in trying times) to give money back to the rich, and they lied, lied, and LIED some more on their way to another slim minority.

How blatantly does a Prime Minister have to stand up in public and lie before the public wakes up? While financial markets were collapsing around him, "St. Stephen" stood and calmly - with those cold blue eyes - lied to Canadians... Nay... Did I say "lied"? He went beyond that. He implored young Canadian families to buy houses. He suggested Canadians buy stock when the market reeled in mid-election. All through, he and his finance Minister (Flaherty) lied about the state of the economy and what all economists were predicting (since early 2008) was coming. In recent days, we've found that we have been IN DEFECIT spending mode since the last Quarter - and perhaps before that. Seems to me Flaherty pulled this type of magic in Ontario years ago too...

So, where IS the anger? If we are indeed a few months behind the US, then it is surely coming. In the meantime, I get to watch sales drop in the shopping mall around me. People are NOT out there spending their money (on anything - not even liquor). I'm glad I'm not building homes anymore though... that would be painful. I have several builder friends who are quite over-extended, and may need government assistance of one form or another. It's quite a shame that these friends voted for the party that is doing everything in it's power to make things worse for them. Good luck with EI... the qualifications got much tougher for that under the Conservative regime. Home programs? Incentives for public housing and low-cost housing? Conservatives don't believe in things like that (Things that would have maintained construction jobs). We were in a situation of ridiculously low interest rates, and home sales were going just fine, as were car sales, but the Conservative clowns decided to cut the GST by a measly 1%. Lot of good that did.

It's interesting to watch people like Bush and Harper stand up and talk about how investment in the economy goes against the very grain of what they stand for. They are actually standing up and defending their "neoConservative" economic school while economists everywhere are talking about what needs to be done to save/rebuild our economies: namely, direct investment to create jobs.

It's "precious" to watch these ideologues whose policies helped with the destruction of the manufacturing base of these lands (jobs went overseas, while the big corporations these guys supported laughed all the way to the bank). Companies that have many of these neoConservatives on their boards simply left America and Canada in the last 10 years... We watched as the neoCons refused to embrace the new "green" and "knowledge" economies while there was still a chance to lead in those fields. They - in the typical Conservative way - embraced the past. They talked about job creation, when it was really "McJob" creation, while all the good jobs went abroad, or were "passed" on.

It is interesting that these conservative clowns would poke fun at the Europeans (even name-calling). Never taking a lesson from the continent which has managed to maintain a huge part of their manufacturing. Times may be tough in Europe now too (especially the US-influenced Eastern Europe), but countries like Germany and France have maintained their manufacturing skills (and skilled jobs), and will "fire up" as soon as the recession wanes. Canada may have a tougher time of it. The infrastructure and job-creation investment that was needed here was not done, and we are still very resource based.

What this part of the world NEEDS very badly, right now, is a re-thinking of politics along the lines of what transpired in Continental Europe in the 60s and 70s. We are leaving a phase of American Economic Imperialism, and we will need to adjust to a time of change. There is still much development to do in Canada. We will need to plan it out better. New technologies will be the key - but before that, we need to have an educated workforce. We are falling behind in the world in the area of education. An educated populace is a more innovative populace - a more creative populace. The Conservatives have long opposed the creative forces in Canada (making fun of what they call "egg-headed elitists"). Time to reinvest. The minds that will help us out of this mess are the young minds that are still in school learning about the antiquated "consumerist" economic system, still being taught about "economics" where it is not wise to invest in the country in "good times". Countries that did invest in themselves in good times will be far ahead when this crisis clears and the recovery begins...

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ottlib said...

Sorry WG but Canada is a first-rate country saddled with a third-rate business class.

The close proximity of the US and the abundance of natural resources has provided a huge disincentive towards innovation and creativity amongst our business class for over a century.

That will not change when Stephen Harper is finally tossed into the dustbin of history. I do not think it will ever change. Instead, Caanda is destined to become the Italy of North America and it will eventually be replaced by several of the emerging markets when the G-8 is finally replaced with something more representative of the global economic power structure.

As for where is the outrage, the advance of Canada towards eventual international economic irrelevance has been apparent for over three decades yet very few speak about it. Certainly we do not see anything about it in the business papers. So ordinary Canadians, who are too busy just trying to keep their heads above water, will certainly not see it. And if they cannot see the problem there is no way they can react to it, with anger or otherwise.

The Mound of Sound said...

The countries that will ascend this century are those that are already building infrastructure, including universities, like they were in 50's North America. We seem to think that we're above them as though we have some divine right to rule (white man's burden, etc.).
They see the challenges that must be met and, while they're hardly immune from setbacks and social disorder, they're positioning themselves to take roles we're no longer willing to meet.

WesternGrit said...

I agree with you about our "first-rate" status (and the business class comment) Ottlib. I think, however, that there is still time - if the people choose to - for us to re-invent ourselves in a way that will put us back on the world map. Part of this will be better interaction with the World. Building relationships that foster trade. Another huge part will be to create a national infrastructure that allows for growth and development of new technologies - this brings us right back to education.

Infrastructure, education, and rebuilding global relationships (all on a massive scale) should be the mantra of the Party of Nation-building (us)... We should move to fully fund post-secondary education. We should invest strongly in infrastructure projects, and we should begin a diplomatic flurry that results in many new relationships being born, while old ones are strengthened.

Maybe its been one too many Christmas scotch, but I still think we can do it, and salvage some hope.

ottlib said...


I completely agree with you regarding what the Canadian government should be doing but as long as we are saddled with the business class we now have these efforts will largely be for naught. That is, if our business class even supports the government in these efforts. A big IF.

Who do you think is pushing the continental integration movement in this country? It certainly is not ordinary Canadians. It is our business community who refuse to lift their heads and look past the North American horizon.

As well, my biggest regret in the failure of Mr. Dion was the fact his vision of a green industry will fall by the wayside. The green industry is going to do in the next decade what the computer and IT industries did in the last. Canadians had a chance to be leaders in that but as usual our business class, which includes the folks who run our MSM, fought tooth and nail against it.

In five years they will change their tune of course but that will only be because Europe, Japan, the US and several of the emerging economies will be in the middle of a green boom and our business class will want a piece.

Canadians will benefit but not as much as they could have and Canada will continue a little further down the path to international irrelevance.

WesternGrit said...

Cheers (Christmas Scotch - I save my favorite bottles for special occasions)...!

WesternGrit said...

Ottlib... I totally agree with you about the dangers of Continental Integration. Our location and resource riches mean we can work with more than just the two neighbors down South. I prefer the European and Asian markets. The booming middle classes in India and China need our resources - but also our expertise...

Europe is a strong market, with varying national strengths and requirements - meaning we can work with individual nations - keeping to the EU regs.

Personally, I think the "Pacific Rim" market and "trade zone" is most "ripe" for our joining. WE can include the US, Mexico, and some Central and South American countries (Brazil and Argentina are giants that intrigue me, and Venezuela is a market needing our resources and money). The American extension into the South and Central Pacific lends support to such an alignment.