2016-02-03

Embrace The One-Trick Pony Economy

Last year the overall theme of the blog was, for the lack of a better term, 'progressive derp'. Notably, I seemed to have gotten hooked on following the authoritarian streak among progressives (be it on publications like The New Republic, The Nation, etc., universities and colleges across the continent (think 'trigger warnings' and 'safe spaces', and among the political class (think Bloomberg and soda ban, reaction to Charlie Hebdo murders as it relates to freedom of expression and so on) who have taken their disdain for free speech to whole new levels.

Very little of the discourse was productive or even remotely intelligent. It was just plain reactionary. Jacobin; less Girondist and more of the Mountain variety under Robespierre and his Reign of Terror.

I myself reacted to this disturbing trend by discussing it and often mocking them mercilessly.

And will continue to do so.

Alas, another theme is forming. Lately, environmentalism has really begun to grate me. You can say I've reached peak patience with it. This whole thing about the pipeline has left me stunned for one simple reason - and I've posted about this earlier - namely the Canada is a one-trick pony economy.

Kill resources, pretty much kill our prosperity.

I exaggerate a little but just look at the collapse of the dollar. This drop relative to the U.S. dollars is correlated to the decrease in demand for natural resources; particularly in Asia led by China and India.

A substantial, diversified economy would be able to withstand a drop in one industry with a rise in another. But in Canada our other industries are not strong or big enough to take the mantle. Sure we have a couple of interesting companies here and there but it can't carry the torch. And our best talent splits for the United States thus weakening our chances of entrepreneurs setting shop here more difficult.

This is why I get annoyed at politicians like Montreal's Mayor Denis Coderre playing the green game of playing tough the with oil companies. All he's doing is hurting our economy. Environmentalist groups don't have to account for their actions so it's easy for them to pressure politicians to 'do the right thing'.

Countries like the United States can afford to do 'bella figura' and waste coin subsidizing green companies or deferring natural resources projects because of its gigantic, diversified and productive economy.

It's a little trickier with Canada.

Hey man, we made our bed a long time ago with regards to this. We never could quite escape the clutches of the branch plant economy.

The realist in me says it's enough and stop dicking around. Canada has to play to its strengths.

Now, if it doesn't want to do it, then man up and diversify.

Easier said than done and quite frankly probably too late. 85% of our trade is with the United States since Confederation. We never addressed this and I don't think we ever will. Our mentality and mode of operation is too entrenched. It would have to take a massive Attaturk level overhaul and I just don't see it.

Plenty of people ride their fame on 'one hit wonders' or accomplishments. Among nations, Canada is a one-hit wonder of sorts.




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