Wednesday, January 5, 2011

sometimes, the editorial is just childish

The June 5 editorial was full of praise for the statement by a professor that, in effect, good times are just around the corner, and New Burnswick should be preparing for them.

For a start, it is not clear why the story ran at all. It is not a rarity for professors to say things; but they usually don't get reported. In this case, there are plenty of professors who have said exactly the opposite. (And they have not been reported.) When you see a professor story, and you see it accompanied by a cheering editorial, tread carefully.

For openers, a return to prosperty after a recession is not "inevitable". Nothing is inevitable. This is not just a recession. It is a collapse of the American dollar, and a dangerous slide for the US economy with implications for the military power its economy depends on; and all this occuriing in the midst of a rapid change in world pwer. It is quite possible that the US economy will never return to its old form. Indeed, it has poured money into its economy at a rate unequalled in world history; and the only result has been a sluggish recovery and, at that, often based on a return to lower wages.

As for the chances of New Brunswick finding new economic opportunities, perhaps so. But new opportunities do not mean benefits for everybody. (Remember the story about how some CEOs make more money in a few hours than their employees do in a year?) At that, it isn't the whole story. Lots of other people are taking chunks out of the profit pie long before it gets to you and me.

In fact, it is quite common that profitable business prefers a poor society to supply its work force. You can find examples of that all over Central America, Congo, Nigeria, Iraq... Haiti has been a money maker for clothing factory owners and plantation owners. But not much of that maney has ever reached the Haitians.

In short, the editorial is a shoddy piece of boosterism which, as always, ignores the fundamental problems of New Brunswick - the lack of effective democracy. the propagandist nature of most of the news media, the failure of New Brunswickers to engage themselves in the decisions that affect their daily lives and the futures of their children.

Will the US economy bounce back? I doubt that very much. With an unpayable debt, a commitment to very expensive wars, a sickening dollar, a refusal to modernize its services in health and education (in both cases because of the power of ideologues and billionaires), and its reluctance to ask rich people to pay taxes, it is difficult to see where the recovery will come from. General Motors may recover - by shifting much of its work to cheap labour countries and by cutting wages in the US. General Motors in that way may prosper. It is difficult to see a general prosperity for the American people arising from that.

If, for example, mineral wealth is discovered in New Brunswick, it will not follow that the people of New Brunswick will make much out of them.  After all, we already know that a lot of wealth has been made out of this province over the past century and more - but not a whole lot of people got it.

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