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My friend Laura is one of the most critical, creative thinkers I know – and she’s also one of the most optimistic.

So it didn’t wholly surprise me to hear her talking about the global recession that is now upon Canada not as a crisis, but as an opportunity.

Recession, the fall of the super rich, and the demise of our trust in corporate gold diggers is the best thing that ever happened.

“It’s a ‘crisopportunity’,” she exclaimed, drawing from a Simpson’s episode that coined the term.

“Crisopportunity. It’s like the great equalization: Boof! You’re all poor. It can reset the clock to a more human, a more humane, way of life.”

Gone, she says, are the heady days of empty materialism. It’s the end of expensive, high-end, corporate excess. Gone are the illusions of richesse that led us to renovate kitchens with granite countertops and mortgage ourselves on monster homes we could ill afford.

Turns out, it was just stuff. And it was as bad for the health of our planet as it was for the health of human beings.

In its place, Laura says, comes a great disillusionment. (It’s a positive thing).

Instead of trying to mirror the lives of the rich and famous, perhaps the recession will bring us back to our roots, to a point where we place value on simple human kindness, compassion for others, equality.

Things that got lost in the blaze of economic madness.

Part of a series on Canada’s changing economy.

Trish Hennessy is director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Inequality Project www.growinggap.ca.

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