Just in time for the "Occupy Bay Street" protest this weekend, Canadian Business magazine has come out with its annual listing of the richest 100 people in Canada. So in honour of the protesters and their noble cause (demanding more attention to the 99 per cent, instead of the 1 per cent), let's peruse together the sordid details of Canada's ultra-rich.
Indeed, if there wasn't already a grass-roots surge of outrage against the excesses and privilege of the wealthy, this magazine alone could spark one. It is so unself-conscious and uncritical in its slavish reporting of the wonders of wealth, that one wonders if Canadian Business's editors have any awareness whatsoever of how most human beings actually live.
The Occupy Wall Street movement refers to a series of protests currently underway in New York City's Zuccotti Park -- formerly known as Liberty Square Plaza. Since the demonstrations commenced on September 17, 2011, the "occupy" movement has spread to cities across the United States. Similar protests are also slated for a number of Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal.
The focus of the demonstrations remains protesting against corporate greed and economic inequality.
Many of the movement's organizers have cited the Arab Spring as their inspiration.
The time since 2008 has been a crucial historical moment for progressive economists to pull back the green curtain that surrounds the operation of the for-profit banking system, and expose that system for what it is: a government-protected, government-subsidized license to print money.
The problem is, as soon as you start saying things like that, people conclude you are some kind of wacked-out conspiracy theorist nut-bar. It sounds insane to claim that private banks have a license to create money out of thin air. As John Kenneth Galbraith put it, "The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled."
Yesterday's GDP numbers (a sprightly gain of 0.3 per cent at basic prices in July) ensure that there will not be a so-called "technical recession" in Canada -- at least, not yet.
Economists have a perverted definition of "recession," whereby it's considered official only if real GDP declines 2 quarters in a row. That's hilariously arbitrary. And the flip side of the coin is even more galling: "recovery" is with us, they say, once real GDP stops contracting and starts growing again. That's why Mark Carney could declare the recession over in July 2009 (when real GDP started to grow again), even though for most Canadians it hasn't stopped feeling like a recession ever since.