I last posted something on my site other than a course outline more than six months ago. I felt a long period of reflection was necessary for me as the amazing state of the world and North America in particular swirled around us all. In the U.S. the shocking election of Donald Trump was a lot to absorb. Given his style of governing, the sense of chaos and anomie in the world has grown. Our close American neighbours, friends and family in many cases, seem to be going through a kind of nervous breakdown, although some of the turmoil has been inflicted from outside by the evil forces of terrorism and the traditional strains of cold war style politics and talk of war and the craziness of some world leaders. As someone who lived through the Cuban missile crisis and the daily threat of nuclear war in the early 1960s as a teenager in high school I and all my generation know very well the terror and panic that that threat unleashed. The absurd ritual of preparing for a nuclear attack by crouching down under our desks and saying goodbye to our friends at the end of the school day wondering if we would ever see one another again cannot be forgotten.It is therefore very sad to see the return of such anxieties in the twenty first century some 55 years later.The rise of economic and political nationalism in the US and the frightening appearance of neo Nazi anti-semitism,anti LGBTQ hysteria and racist bigotry extremists in North America is a horrible development which most people rightly condemn.
On the economic front the neo cons and dogmatic monetarists at our central bank continue to push prematurely for higher interest rates when the extremely low inflation rate does not justify it. Unemployment while reduced from the levels of the last great crisis is still above 6 % in Canada. It could and should be lower. The Trump administration has succeeded in reopening the NAFTA trade deal in the hope that they can win major trade concessions. It may well be fair and possible to reduce the American trade deficit without excessively damaging the Canadian economy but our negotiators need to very careful not to be stampeded. Given the nature of globalization and the pressure to reduce real wages of all workers by overly aggressive corporate behaviour we need to work on reforming the trade model to bring it up to date with globalization and still make it compatible with a Keynes inspired full employment model with a just and fair distribution of the benefits of fair trade. More on this in the near future.