Pep talk

(The Guardian reports) The International Monetary Fund is warning that the weak recovery in the west risks turning into near stagnation after cutting its global economic growth forecast for the fourth successive year. “Six years after the world economy emerged from its broadest and deepest postwar recession, a return to robust and synchronised global expansion remains elusive,” said Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF’s economic counsellor.

I can’t imagine the number of credentialed economists, accountants and statisticians employed by the IMF and G7 governments.  Must be thousands.  All university educated, too.  And it took them this long to conclude that the economies of the world are in stagflation?  How inept.  I knew. You know.  Just about anyone with a three-digit IQ knows, so why announce that in headline news?

But, before we get to that (next blog) – think about Harper and the Muldeaus for a minute, each one of them starting their next speech with…..“Our economic plan, blah, blah, blah…..”  They have no economic plan!  They haven’t got a clue how to kickstart a stagnant economy or even manage a sputtering one.  Not a clue.  And, if they did have some kind of clue, what good would it do them since we are so intertwined with the rest of the G7 and they are all, in the IMF’s highly educated view, flat and stagnant?

And what does Harper do?  He doubles down and tries to ‘weld’ our economy even tighter to the others that are mired in the mud with yet another all-encompassing trade deal.  His obvious management mantra? ‘If you don’t succeed, try the same thing again’.    

I’ll say it again: the economy is a numerical reflection of the collective attitude of the people.  It is behavioral science, not math.  It is psychology, not engineering.  It is a construct.  We make it up as we go along and people need optimism in good ideas for the economy to grow and prosper.  If they don’t have that, you get recession, depression and/or stagflation.  The politicians don’t seem to get that. They never seem to get that.

“Why don’t they get that?” Mostly because they don’t ‘get’ the people.  They don’t like change.  They are afraid of big ideas.  They are invested and indebted to the status quo. They are coddled, isolated elitists. They are ‘above’ us.  Politics does that.  Parties do that.  They tend to separate us.  Winning politicians are even more coddled and separate. And gaining power does that to the max.  They can no longer take the real pulse of the nation from real people and so they can’t diagnose squat.

The way to improve the economy is simple: give the people hope, inspiration and faith.  To do that, requires that we trust what they tell us.  But we don’t.  We have no trust in these people because none of them speak the truth about anything so they can’t inspire us to enervate the economy. We are at a psychological stand-off when we do not trust those who are there to inspire.

If you don’t ‘get that’, then imagine the time when you were a kid and you didn’t like your teacher or your coach.  They didn’t garner your respect.  You didn’t feel they were someone to look up to.  They were dorks.  So, what was your attitude then?  Were you inspired to do well anyway?  Did you and your classmates and team-mates coalesce around your mutual distaste for your appointed mentor?  Or did you just stop listening?

Some carried on.  Most didn’t.  Most either quit, stopped trying or found other more charismatic leaders whose message they believed.  It’s what we do.  It’s what most people do.  It is why cult leaders and gangsters have followers.  They provide real albeit misdirected leadership.

You feel like following Stephen Harper?  Just-in?  Tom?  Or are you choosing the best of the worst because voting is free and easy?

The bottom line is this: none of them inspire.  None of them lead.  None of them have vision.  None of them are worthy of our respect.  Or our vote.  You want leadership?  You want inspiration?  You want to feel good about yourself, your country and the society in which you live?

Then lead.

Lead something.

You don’t have to lead a party.  You don’t have to lead a company.  You just have to lead something, something positive, something good, something that will inspire.  Just do it.

An older couple leads kids at the local school in constructive activities.  A friend of mine leads a small scout troop and, amazingly, both are inspirational to me.  It is good.  It is small but it is leadership.  Real leadership.  A few million Canadians leading something good will set us right.

Think about it.


12 thoughts on “Pep talk

  1. There are economies that were hardly touched by the latest down turn, recession, slow down, retraction, or whatever one one wants to call it. These countries continued to thrive and will continue to thrive but Canada was not one of them that grew much because “world wide forces were against Canada.” Hogwash! I say this because some countries were better prepared than Canada but the government of Canada was not prepared nor was it putting in place policies that fostered growth. (Their view is that the government hand is the job killer in the economy) We have a government that makes ‘please pity us calls, blames others, plays the victim card, wheedles, whines, snivels, mocks new ideas, in short takes no responsibility for their part in grinding the economy to a halt. Because as they explain, “We did not do it.” They did and they should man up. It seems so hopeless to join their pity party and infer that no one will do any better. Futility is doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results. Corporations survive in much higher tax environments than exist in Canada must we continue our corporate handouts knowing that the corporations take this “dead money” and give it to their shareholders not to creating jobs, not investing in Canada, not building infrastructure but padding the bottom line. It’s a great time to be a corporate guy.


    • Well, you know I agree with the above but that was not the point of the blog. I missed the mark. The point is: we have to take the lead. We have to inspire. It may have to be in small ways (it will be for me) but we have to provide inspiration. In something. Anything.
      Are you pursuing a new idea? Are you supporting a needy cause? Are you creating a mood of ‘can do’? Because that is what we need. From everyone. That is why I liked Occupy and Idle No More and all the First Nation’s politicking. They may not be always right but those folks are not sitting on their butts. Neither is LeadNow or SumofUs or Elon Musk or even, in my opinion, Elizabeth May. Hell, one could even point (and gag) at Donald Trump. Fool that he is, he is putting himself out there. He is stepping up. We all have to do more of that. And most of us aren’t. That was the point of the blog. Find a passion and follow it.


      • In my preretirement days we had mission statements, goal setting, development of an ethos, self evaluation, policy creation…the sort of activities one can expect in an organization. We never has a meeting where we threw up our hands and said, “Since we can not get behind our leaders let’s all do our best to plug along.” Let’s see who can form a minority government and get the confidence of the House of Commons. Whoever it is let’s give them a chance.


        • Well, not to pick nits but I am saying something different than ‘throwing up our hands’. In fact, it turns out I am saying what Paul Hawken and many others outside the establishment are saying: “Our leaders are not leaders. They are party-slaves, tokens to democracy and incapable of inspiration, creation, or original thought. If you want any of that, do it yourself or look to those who have great ideas and are already hard at work on them.”
          I agree with ‘let’s see’ what the election brings but, if history and the current campaign is anything to go by, we will not be electing anther Ghandi or Martin Luther King. We may, in fact, be electing another (very immature) Trudeau but I am not so sure that is what the country needs right now.


          • Well it might be JustinTrudeau diapers and all. For the first debate he was told to wear pants and he did. Everyday I hope for a fair discussion of the issues but the spin seems to return to personalities and that is depressing sort of. Will Canada be able to compete with the low wage economies and if not jobs will be lost to the current corporatist agenda. I agree with aphorism that it is better to have ones nose in the tent than to be outside. The big question is will Canadians adjust to the opportunities of a larger market. The premise is that Canadians will pay less for goods. How did that work with NAfTA? We paid more. Many folks are working to make Canada greener with a sustainable economy. Americans are not happy with trade agreement that they made with Korea and the middle class is no better off. I agree with you that all of us need to be more resourceful and step up our contribution to society but we will do better working as a society.


  2. Volunteerism is dying.
    People are either uninterested unless something directly affects them personally.
    Or they are “too busy” , “too tired”, etc.
    Ive helped out on several community clean ups, donated blood, etc. but even these well intentioned volunteer organizations seemed to have morphed into politically correct, touchy feely organzations that spend more times “meeting” rather than “doing”.
    There’s nothing more annoying than showing up to plant flowers at a community plot at the entrance to a small village on a rainy saturday morning and being forced to stand and be photoed with a politician wearing a suit, polished shoes etc. A politician who was later booted for corruption and people assume you supported him because of a photo.
    Nah. I’ll just pick up litter, hold doors for people, thank people for holding a door for me, and help the odd elderly person cross a busy street .
    The rest of these “volunteer organizations”( insert job networking or resume pumping here) can take a hike.


    • Well, I agree with that, too. I won’t do anything that requires attending meetings. But, again, that is not what I mean. I mean ‘do something’ on your own or with someone you regard as deserving of your respect (there will not be many to choose from, I know). I don’t mean ‘community gardens’ and helping seniors wipe their bums. I am talking about your own stuff of which you have a passion. For me, it is teaching/mentoring kids (REAL-LIFE-SKILLS lessons, not dry-as-dirt curriculum written by dickheads), building-off grid, writing and trying to find age appropriate adventures. NOT boring. NOT politically anything. Seriously, your intelligence put to a task you love will make a difference.


  3. How can I, you and anyone be surprised.

    “Six years after the world economy emerged from its broadest and deepest postwar recession, a return to robust and synchronised global expansion remains elusive”


    • ‘Anon’ covers anyone who doesn’t have a ‘signature’. Anon can be any one of dozens. Having said that, there are two separate ‘anons’ on this blog post (I recognize one writer, therefore there are two including the one’s whose writing I do not recognize). One of the ‘anons’ is NDP to the bone. The other seems to have a slightly more ‘mainstream’ (read: liberal Conservative) voice.
      Zat help?


    • Whilst I consider the failures I am convinced that ‘We will succeed’ in re-establishing ourselves as world leaders in peace and policy.

      Of course, that will be much more difficult if, after the election, the Cons are still majoritized.


      • Canada will succeed no doubt. I’m not NDP to the bone but tend to have an ecleticist philosophy. Not looking to direct any supplicant’s votes.(Not sure how Arencee is using the term supplicant) At this point I think that voting for ones informed self interest makes logical sense but clearly there is a huge emotional/viseral/ family tradition component too. The terms left, right and centre tend to muddy the waters in that all parties share many common values including ‘peace, order and good government’! I would add govern fairly, equitably and reasonably to the list. Child poverty is a concern as is a concern for the vulnerable. None of the parties embody all these aspirational views but some come closer than others.


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