First comes financial crisis. Then an economic crisis. Then people lose their jobs â€“ millions of them. Finally, anarchy.
If you caught the news lately, thatâ€™s exactly what is happening. Unruly crowds in Britain. A million marching in France. Tear gas in Iceland. Riots and busted heads in China.
This is precisely what governments around the world have been fearful of, and that political terror has helped coordinate the greatest concerted global effort in history. Interest rates have come crashing down in unison. Monster bailout packages rushed into effect. Central bankers have burned up the phone lines. Staggering financial institutions have been propped up with golden crutches financed by taxpayers.
But, will it work? Or will the fact that 2,500 more people every day lose their jobs in Britain guarantee social unrest and some burned-out cars? After all, with the GDP numbers released in Canada and the US on Friday itâ€™s clear we are now in a semi-freefall. If the economy in this country contracts for all of 2009 at the pace it did in November, we will have a technical depression.
Well, itâ€™s late as I write this, sitting in my hotel room in Victoria. It took me far too long to wing my way from Toronto, and itâ€™s not hard to see that Air Canada is one stressed-out company.
My afternoon flight to Vancouver was delayed for more than two hours because the plane died. That meant I would miss my connecting flight to Victoria, where I am speaking Saturday morning. So, I called the AirCan reservations desk from the terminal, to change the Victoria flight. That, the snippy lady told me, would cost $340, on top of the ticket Iâ€™d already purchased.
But itâ€™s your fault, I said. And she hung up.
As it turned out, the Van flight was three hours late, and the second plane could not dock at the gate out there because of multiple malfunctions. After 30 minutes on the ground the AirBus had to be towed in by a piece of baggage equipment.
I managed to find a nice airline employee who got me on a packed shuttle to Victoria, but not before I had to sign an autograph for his brother and answer some questions about the Federal Reserve. That flight was fine â€“ all 18 minutes of it, each of which the airline had tried to charge an additional twenty bucks.
Is it greed? Or incompetence?
Whatever. Letâ€™s riot.