The United States has a higher level of human development than Canada. The latest United Nations Human Development Report compiles statistics on life expectancy, education and access to human resources in order to compose the Human Development Index (HDI). The U.S. ranked third in the world in terms of human development while Canada ranked eleventh. This is sad news for Canada because within the 13-year tenure of the previous Liberal government (1993-2006) Canada ranked number 1 in the world for seven consecutive years (1994-2000). Under the Conservative government, reigning from 2006 onwards, Canada has fallen out of the top 10.
If you were stranded on a deserted island -- without online access -- what book would most help you while away the hours? Some would opt for the latest novel by Haruki Murakami whose compelling, enigmatic stories would keep one endlessly entertained. Others might choose the Bible or Keith Richards' autobiography in order to gain spiritual insight. The question is an interesting one because it provides us with an engaging nugget of self-knowledge.
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One of the many carnivalesque aspects of consumer society is the popular fascination -- and fashion -- oriented around various types of monsters. As with previous groups that rebelled via a parodic inversion against the regulatory demands of official culture -- such as hippies in the 1960s, skinheads in the 1980s and the occasional cyborg in the 1990s -- today's zombie and vampire enthusiasts present themselves in opposition to mainstream, bourgeois style, costume and aesthetics.
Struggles against racism and discrimination get a lot of publicity when they are oriented in terms of white Northerners subordinating another group within or outside the Global North. The attention is predictable in light of the history of imperialism, the global political and economic power of North America and the European Union, and the racism experienced by various groups within those regions. The case of the Dalits in India -- historically known in the USA and Canada as the "untouchables" -- opens up the categories of discrimination to an integral analysis that includes caste, class and race.