How will the next financial crisis erupt? (Or perhaps we should describe it as a further chapter of the ongoing financial crisis.) It's like figuring out which piece of tinder will ignite after a sizzling heat wave. We know it's bad out there, but just where will the next spark hit? What follows is one of many- potential financial crisis scenarios that Canada could face.
When your doctor prescribes medication, you need to trust that you are getting the best, unbiased medical advice possible. If those pills just happened to be sold by the pharmaceutical company that gives your doc lucrative freebies, you might be skeptical about that choice of medication. You'd also want to know if the research recommending those pills was paid for by the pill's manufacturer.
This is not rocket science, folks. Medical professionals should 'fess up to any conflicts of interest so that the public can assess whether their advice or research is compromised. Transparency about conflicts of interest in medicine is far from perfect, but we all realize that this ethical principle is the cornerstone of the public's faith in medical advice and research.
Concerned about the increasing frequency of banking crises? Don't worry. Bad things can't happen to banks in Canada.
Certainly we are not Spain. Or Iceland. Or Ireland. Well, let's just say Europe more generally over recent years. Or, come to think about it, the USA with its subprime crisis and its major banks on the rails in the 2008 financial crisis.
Canada is smarter than all those other countries. Canadian banks are just better behaved than banks elsewhere, and in any case the extraordinary vigilance of Canadian banking regulators will protect us.
Anglo Canada is sticking its fingers in its ears and humming a happy song. Many in the English-speaking punditocracy and media (or perhaps mediocracy?) are doing their best to persuade us that student protests in Quebec are nothing of any consequence.
This is getting a little harder to do, now that so many other folks are joining the students. But it is not too late to jump on the bandwagon to ridicule or demonize the protesters. Just follow these simple steps.(These steps can be rearranged and amplified for dramatic effect.)
Step 1: Set the stage with a dismissive tone. Many like to scorn protesters as naïve over-entitled brats. If you really get huffing and puffing, brand students as anti-social radicals. This leads nicely into step 2.
Capitalism is looking pretty mean these days. No amount of profit is enough, and no level of collateral damage to get that profit is unreasonable. And when capitalism on steroids runs amok, any extremes of public pain are justified to save the butts of those who made the mess in the first place.
Corporations understand that they have a green light to punish people ruthlessly for even a modest improvement to their bottom line (ask Caterpillar workers if you want details). Whole nations may be bled dry to shield financial institutions from the consequences of their own bad behaviour. The Greek government is deliberately creating a national great depression to appease international financial interests.
World leaders are doing their best to provoke a global economic downturn of epic proportions. Of course, it is politically hazardous for leaders to admit this. Democratic accountability can be inconvenient when leaders are obsessed with imposing economic austerity policies.
The new Euro area agreement provides political cover for these unpopular measures. To appease financial markets, European leaders have submitted to the "new fiscal rule," a pledge to keep government budgets balanced or in surplus.
This new fiscal rule will have the force of law. Countries are required to enshrine this new fiscal rule in their national level constitutions.
Critics spend a lot of time telling Canadians that they should disregard the Occupy movement. They claim that the sins of Wall Street didn't happen here, so Canadians have no business making such a fuss.
The financial sector's PR machine has had great success convincing folks that Canadian banks are pure as the driven snow. Their message incessantly repeats their claim that there were no bailouts of Canadian banks during the 2008 financial crisis. You Occupiers have nothing to complain about, they say. Maybe in the U.S. people can be mad. But not here.
Since bank bailouts are presented as some kind of litmus test for the legitimacy of Canadian finance, we need to deal with this red herring.