Interesting twist to the Canadian economy, don’t you think? The Harper-cons were so petro-oriented and, then of course, the price of crude dropped and the economy tanked. Just-in Trudeau wins the election with a smile and a positive message and, in a short time, Canada’s image abroad improves, our popularity improves and – HOLY COW! – our economy improves. Oil is still down and yet the economy is up. One would think we were exporting smiles and hope rather than oil.
It’s not that simple, of course, but in some ways, it is. That Trudeau has changed the mood of the country is undeniable and that the mood of the country is the largest driver of the economy is well-known. Oil only represents a very small percentage of GDP. Hope and goodwill seems to be much more influential. Canadians are more upbeat. And ‘upbeat’ is a strong economic driver rather than the other way around.
The devalued dollar makes our goods easier to sell overseas. I know that. A booming manufacturing sector is really just another way of saying ‘DISCOUNT PRICES!’ So the lower loonie is probably a more real ‘metric’ indicator. Still, the change in the air is palpable. Trudeau has turned Gloomy Gus into Jolly Joe Six-pack. And, somehow, that is working in ways previously unseen. Message to business: see the extra special response to ‘going good’ and ‘delivering hope’ that is way more productive than cutting costs and jobs and wages and preaching doom.
But I don’t wanna gloat about the past and present. I really want to look at what it means to us in the future. I was NOT impressed with Trudeau and still resent, to some extent, a pretty face and a famous name gaining him our top office. Feels wrong to me. I will continue to look for that kind of superficiality in his character that I saw when he gave the eulogy to his father. But there is no doubt that he is currently batting 1.000. So far, the guy has done good. It would be churlish not to admit it. As of this date, I have no complaints and only praise. He is well on his way to proving me wrong. And I admit it freely.
Still, let us look for a minute at what constitutes success in the future….
I don’t know.
Is it just numbers? Is the GDP the brass ring? Money, money, money?
Is it Canadian unity? If we all love one another, First Nations, French Canadians, Muslims, Jews and Wasps…throw in some Syrians for spice…is that the measure?
Is it simply surviving climate change?
Maybe we are to embrace Bhutan as our model and strive for Gross Domestic Happiness? (Concept. Gross National Happiness is a term coined by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.)
But how do you strive for an enlightened state like that in a Capitalistic culture? Especially a corrupt Capitalist culture? How, in fact, do you even reconcile a cheap B flick shoot-em-up washed down with scotch in a Gross Happiness culture? Sounds counter-intuitive, don’t you think?
Anyway….the world’s progress engine is going into ‘stall’ mode. That much is clear. So, if monetary progress is halted or at least slowed, what does that do the collective psyche? Methinks technology and more massive migrations will ameliorate that effect to a large extent in some places (like the Chinese exodus of the rich to Vancouver BC) but the rich will likely get richer and the masses more redundant and revolting – in every sense of the word. What to do with the masses?
Growth, as a sustainable concept, was never viable and it is finally showing up. Jeff Rubin is proving to be right (The End of Growth). This may be the new future. The rich got what they wanted…and, so, now what do the rest of the rabble do?