Progress

TK 2 modified

When my father was a boy, almost a hundred years ago, his father ran a hardware store in a small Ontario town. When they needed to go into the big city (London), they took the stagecoach.

Yes, stagecoach. With, like, horses. Six of them.

When I was a boy, sixty years ago, we stopped on the way to our ramshackle summer cottage on Lake Erie to buy an ice block. For the icebox. Weighing 50 pounds and covered in sawdust it had been cut from the frozen lake by hand, hauled back to the warehouse and stacked. It went into the backseat of the car, where the dog licked it until we arrived.

I mention these things not to underscore the astonishing fact I’m still alive, but to remind us that we take progress for granted. In my father’s lifetime, we went from a stagecoach to a lunar landing and email. My grandfather, the hardware guy, was blind because he had cataracts. They’re now zapped away in 15 minutes.

So, life’s been getting ‘better’ for a long time. Optimists think the graph will keep going up. Like Vancouver real estate prices. Others fear this will end up being a Bell curve. Like house values in Japan. Or peak oil. In other words, might we be at the apex, or already starting to descend the other side – despite having iPhone 6, Instagram, Teslas and doctors who can keep a heart beating in a jar?

It’s an interesting thought. And while each generation expects things to improve, it’s not hard to be jaded. Ebola might be a game-changer. Maybe the ISIS thugs will destabilize the world. And it’s easy to worry about Brad Lamb, Bob Rennie and talk radio. But these are likely transitory issues.

More consequential is the fact 50% of all the animals on the planet have disappeared in the last forty years (since I married Dorothy) says the WWF. That could be the ultimate harbinger, and yet nobody cares much when cops in Calgary shoot one of the area’s last cougars. (Number of documented cougar attacks in the last 100 years: 27.)

While half the animals have purportedly left us, the human population has almost doubled since 1970. The optimum number of people is believed to be what it was when Pierre Trudeau was the prime minister, so we’re 100% above that. Another billion is added every decade, while life expectancy keeps increasing and personal consumption rises.

No wonder food production is a major concern. Especially as millions more join the middle class, and eat animals that feed on grain, instead of eating the grains themselves. Of course, climate change layers over all of this, making ground water depletion worse, augmenting drought and raising energy consumption. In the five minutes it takes to read this post, 255 babies will be born to Indian mothers. They all need sustenance.

Most worrisome is the disparity of income and capital. There have always been rich and destitute people, but never this many wealthy. Or this number of poor. When the Occupy kids spilled over onto Wall Street yelling “We are the 99%” they had a valid point. Even in the most favoured society on earth (ours) money has never migrated to the top the way it is now.

True, many of the 99% have made stupid choices. They buy condos with nothing down, embrace debt, are financially illiterate and stay in school until they’re 30. But there’s no question one of the greatest inventions of the modern age – the middle class –is breaking down. When half of Canadians can’t survive one missed paycheque, most 60-year-olds are incapable of retiring, and family debt spikes off the chart, society seems headed for catharsis.

As I said, this is the First World, where we live. Imagine life now in Liberia.

Many people come to this pathetic blog to carp about the monetary system, the banks, government pensions, politicians and wrinklies. That’s fine. There’s lots of blame to go around for the fact young people are bitterly disappointed and the nearly-retired are stressed out. But don’t expect gradual change to correct it. It’s more likely events will overtake us.

If this is the backside of Bell Curve of human progress, it’s worth knowing. When today’s hipsters are eighty-year-olds, will there be 15 billion people and even fewer animals? How about water and oil? Did my father live in the halcyon age? Or do we?

These aren’t doomer questions. Sometimes I just wonder what happened.

229 comments ↓

#1 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 6:01 pm

The massive progress your father and grandfathers generation saw were the result of a robust private sector. Capitalism in North America was still allowed to flourish without much interference from government. Those that provided the most value to consumers through the goods and services they provided became wealthy – those that did not, suffered (and rightfully so). This system led to improvements in the living standards of everyone as they stood to benefit from it. The past few decades the system has been undermined. That’s why a middle-class father can no longer support a family, house, and 2 cars on his own. Both parents must work, and yet they still struggle – even though family sizes have gotten smaller!

Here’s a great movie based on a true CANADIAN story that demonstrates first hand what has happened over the past few decades from the perspective of someone your fathers age. “When did we become a country full of bureaucrats?” – it’s the story of a man who wants to build his wife a new house for her to die peacefully in:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2073086/

Demonstrates the difficulties today compared to past generations in creating wealth. You shouldn’t have to ask permission to be a productive individual and take initiative, but that’s what we have now. Shame.

#2 dogman01 on 10.13.14 at 6:02 pm

“whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause without population control”.

The animal thing, 50%, is very disturbing for me, I saw that last week and had to not think about it, it is just too sad.

#3 Mike T. on 10.13.14 at 6:05 pm

Have you been diagnosed with a ‘disorder’? That is societies way to deny its own illness and point the finger at you.

There is a better way.

Thank you for the space to create this message.

#4 Goody Niosi on 10.13.14 at 6:10 pm

Thanks, Garth. Things to think about.

#5 Mr. Nihilist on 10.13.14 at 6:11 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I spent time with my middle class mother and father, which was lovely. My chronically ill sister, who is on a medical pension, was well enough to visit overnight with friends. Her milennial kids, neither of whom have a whisper of a chance at steady employment, were visiting their dad. Of the Dozen or so people closest to me, only one has a job. And it’s not me.

I’m not complaining. But slightly worried.

#6 Rural Rick on 10.13.14 at 6:13 pm

As a boy in Toronto the smelt runs we so big sometimes you could not lift your net out of the water there were so many. Haven’t seen any smelt in years.
Lots more coyote now.
My grandfather told me that the sky went black for three days when the passenger pigeons flew through his town.
They are extinct now and we are next if we don’t change our ways.

#7 totalinvestor.com on 10.13.14 at 6:13 pm

What a depressing write up. Happy Thanksgiving :)

http://tinypic.com/r/2h7mluo/8

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=3094j91&s=8#.VDxOahYpnfc

#8 Freedom First on 10.13.14 at 6:15 pm

Progress. Yes. I agree with everything you wrote about human population exploding while the animals and resources are disappearing. These are irrefutable facts. However, if one is at a house party, and you bring up these facts, or the fact that Canadians worship at the altar of home ownership and are debt laden financial lunatics, which are also irrefutable facts, well, you will very quickly be standing alone in the room. There is a shortage of sanity in Canada, as well as the rest of the world. Myself, I do what I can to make this world a better place, and realize that which I can’t change. So, I look after myself the best I can, try to help others, and always, always, put my freedom first. My advice, do whatever you can to live happily, right now.

#9 Hawk on 10.13.14 at 6:16 pm

The more a society expand Big Government, the worse things get. But it seems Canadians are believers in Big Government, so things will likely continue the way they are.

Well at-least till our mining resources run out………..

#10 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 6:16 pm

GT, the 50% mammal extinction rate claimed by WWF was debunked as baseless eco-propaganda about 15 minutes after it spewed into to MSM.

Sorry, but no crisis there. Just a bunch of fear mongering claptrap so that they can raise $$$$. And there are no “Last Cougars” unless you count those that used to hang around The Brass Ring on 10th Ave in Cowtown. Those may be extinct now.

#11 Bob Copeland on 10.13.14 at 6:18 pm

Very well said and that’s how I feel often. I’m 65 1/2 and remember the good times.
I still believe we’ll all grow and things will be better. We just need a reset. That reset may take 10 years but it too will pass. Remember ’79-’81?
My only change is my will. Leaving it all to my 12 grand kids, my kids are fine. They will need it more.

#12 BG on 10.13.14 at 6:21 pm

I think we hit the peak during the 90s.

An event will eventually wipe outs millions or billions, I just hope it comes after my time.

#13 Gord In Vancouver on 10.13.14 at 6:28 pm

While half the animals have purportedly left us, the human population has almost doubled since 1970. The optimum number of people is believed to be what it was when Pierre Trudeau was the prime minister, so we’re 100% above that. Another billion is added every decade, while life expectancy keeps increasing and personal consumption rises.
_______________________________________

Garth, thank you for drawing attention to an issue that many mainstream media people refuse to touch – uncontrollable population growth.

#14 james on 10.13.14 at 6:29 pm

#10 Van Isle Renter

Even if that claim is specious, there is no doubt that biological diversity (including human diversity) is in big trouble. I suggest reading up on changes in the sea life off the coast of Jamaica and Trinidad. Formerly diverse and heterogenous populations are disappearing. This is bad news, as resilience depends on the presence of multiple redundant actors capable of fulfilling the same role.

Anyone with a basic understanding of ecology knows that reducing biological diversity is a very bad idea. Sure, it can recover, over time scales that make human civilization look irrelevant.

#15 Exurban on 10.13.14 at 6:30 pm

The animal extinction claims, at least as regards North America, are completely baseless. Cougars are on the increase from Florida to California to British Columbia. The decline of hunting has also allowed populations of bear, deer, and coyotes to increase.

Cougars are extremely dangerous animals that cannot be allowed to roam around populated areas. There is a celebrated book on the subject that I strongly recommend:

The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator’s Deadly Return to Suburban America

#16 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 6:30 pm

This one is a classic:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-13/doug-kass-day-market-died

Sing it to the tune of Don Mclean’s “American Pie”.

I will repeat my oft-given advice. Do not buy individual stocks unless you have a seven-figure account. — Garth

#17 mark on 10.13.14 at 6:34 pm

I don’t need to think about this. Jesus and Sean Hannity told me it would be ok.

#18 Basil Fawlty on 10.13.14 at 6:35 pm

Yes, most of the large ocean fish are gone and more species of plants and animals go extinct everyday.
In addition, the climate is changing rapidly.
Michael C Ruppert, who commited suicide in May, used to say that “infinite growth is impossible on a planet of finite resources”. In the meantime we are fed a steady media and political mantra of economic growth trumps all. What fools.

#19 JSS on 10.13.14 at 6:38 pm

A very deep, and in some ways poetic, blog post today.
Makes me think…

thanks and have a good thanksgiving

#20 Chuck Clark on 10.13.14 at 6:39 pm

The Worldwide Wrestling Fund for Nature makes the Real Estate Cartels you warn us about look as reliable as day follows night. It’s difficult for your readers, or at least this reader, to regard your faith in one and evisceration of the other with anything other than amazement. At least you’re right in one case, keep up the work.

CWC

#21 Blacksheep on 10.13.14 at 6:39 pm

“If this is the backside of Bell Curve of human progress, it’s worth knowing. ”
—————————–
Sounds a lot like “The next twenty years, are going to be nothing like, the last twenty years” (C.M.)

This series was quite influential for me back in 2008.

Chris Martenson’s Crash Course. Very short video’s
1-15, skip the rest.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse

#22 Scumop on 10.13.14 at 6:39 pm

So after having been thoroughly cleaned out by two failed marriages (yes, there are far riskier ventures than real estate), the bear arrives as I am at the beginning of rebuilding.

New focus is on physical fitness. Will need to be able to defend whatever bridge I end up living under. Sounds like it will be quite competitive.

#23 Ben on 10.13.14 at 6:40 pm

Without land value tax all progress goes into pushing up land prices. We need a fundamental shift away from pulling forward earnings through mortgages to push up GDP today. It’s nuts.

#24 deaner on 10.13.14 at 6:42 pm

More doomer stuff:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x98KFcMJeo

#25 Squatter on 10.13.14 at 6:43 pm

Wow Garth! You’re a great writer, not just a financial advisor!
Now can I borrow the bike? :)

#26 Happy Renting on 10.13.14 at 6:43 pm

The future is constantly shaped by our actions, in small and big ways. Forget the extreme dystopian (or utopian) fantasies we see in many movies and TV, I think future society and values will be medium-sized tweaks of what we have today. (An episode of Futurama comes to mind, where the word “mom” is trademarked for commercial purposes. I think we may see that, a world of excess commercialism, though not to the point that corporations have a monopoly on breathable air or anything.)

There will be social and technological progress, the question is how much we encourage it and share it around. That, in turn, will determine how mean and dangerous the world gets.

#27 Arfmooocat on 10.13.14 at 6:50 pm

I grew up in the country and remember my mother (90 now) telling me she rode a horse 40 miles to school and back when we complained because it was 40F below and were standing at the bus stop for 15 minutes.

#28 slim on 10.13.14 at 6:50 pm

Duck Dynasty Congressional Candidate Says Godlessness Will Cause “Mass Carnage and Mass Death”

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/10/zach-dasher-duck-dynasty-tyranny-and-death

There you have it…right from from the horse’s rear end.

#29 gtrz4peace on 10.13.14 at 6:51 pm

The greed of the fossil fuel oligarchs knows no bounds, and people continue to consume what they know, fearing the transition to less polluting fuels in a way that makes the oligarch’s job like taking candy from a baby.

Only this time, this moment, we know the stakes are different. We KNOW that we must divest from polluting technologies, that we MUST do something to address inequality that most likely, will involve a “socialist move” – forcing the extremely wealthy to stop ripping off their employees and demand, by rule of law, that some sort of minimum standard of life is yours if you are able and willing to work. That fact used to be true — but it just is not true anymore.

The quote from Basil Fawlty, “infinite growth is impossible on a planet of finite resources” — that is true.

But the kind of growth that is truly unlimited is the growth of the psyche — of ideas, of inventions and innovations yet unseen. This is how we differ from our animal companions on earth.

Unfortunately, the ruling oligarchy has targeted education and independent thought as efficiently as they target the planet. New ideas are only welcomed that support the status quo, and the very systems that they should be REPLACING.

We need to unleash the TRUE potential for unlimited growth – in ideas, and bid farewell to the system of predatory capitalism that has made so many of us wealthy while impoverishing countless more.

Not sure if this will happen, but just a thought.

#30 500 Days - and counting on 10.13.14 at 6:55 pm

Same thoughts that have troubled me, Garth. Since the 1970s, our environmental problems have ratcheted up steadily, and we only start to deal with them before a recession hits, then forget all about them again in pursuit of short term recovery through “growth”, as if it is limitless and the exponential function is meaningless.

Suzuki is right that Canada is already overpopulated and also that it is wrong to think we should take the best and brightest from other countries to prop up the “growth” ideology here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU14fItHGgc

Your most compelling words today –

“But don’t expect gradual change to correct it. It’s more likely events will overtake us.”

Honestly, who reading this blog and being aware of recent happenings does not have a spidey sense right now that we are about to overtaken by some pretty major events?

#31 gtrz4peace on 10.13.14 at 6:55 pm

#15 — And you say those figures are “baseless”? Really, are you an environmental scientist? An research expert? Perhaps even a geologist or a biologist?

If not, please be aware your “denial is not just a river in Egypt” views is part of the problem we face, and regrettably, not part of a solution…

#32 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 6:56 pm

#14 james on 10.13.14 at 6:29 pm
#10 Van Isle Renter

Even if that claim is specious, there is no doubt that biological diversity (including human diversity) is in big trouble. I suggest reading up on changes in the sea life off the coast of Jamaica and Trinidad. Formerly diverse and heterogenous populations are disappearing. This is bad news, as resilience depends on the presence of multiple redundant actors capable of fulfilling the same role.

Anyone with a basic understanding of ecology knows that reducing biological diversity is a very bad idea. Sure, it can recover, over time scales that make human civilization look irrelevant.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The point that I’m making is that the the WWF, Sierra Club and Greenpeace are utterly without shame when it comes to raising $$$. There is nothing that they will not stretch, bend fold on manipulate as long as $$$ end up in their pockets.

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/08/big-green-hypocrites/

Oh, you mean like the National Citizens Coalition, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Conservative Party? — Garth

#33 Marko on 10.13.14 at 7:00 pm

1. A 110 years ago my grandfather decide to build a house. It was in todays Croatia, that time it was Austro-Hungarian Empire. 3 workers stay there for 3 yerars. and my grandfather was able to pay all work from his savings. That is stone house and still in good shape, almost like new. 50 years ago my father build his house, it was insulated concrete block house, and with no mortgage. 20 years ago I bought a house here in Canada. It will take me 20 more years to pay it off.
And by that time it will be for demolition.
My grandfather finised 8 yr of school, my father finished high school – 12 years, and I finished University 12 years.

2. Yet another story: A 500 years ago in Italy, there was a pries philosopher and he wrote books. He said: “Technology is so advanced today, so we should have Mondays not working days, like Sunday and Saturdays.”
And 500 years afterthat I work 6 days a week, developing tehnology, indeed :)

#34 espressobob on 10.13.14 at 7:02 pm

We live in interesting times. People walking around in a state of confusion & apathy. Sound familiar?

More of us should try harder to be a part of a solution instead of being the problem!

#35 Marko on 10.13.14 at 7:02 pm

University 16 years – sorry for mistake

#36 Smartalox on 10.13.14 at 7:03 pm

A bell curve is used to measure the dispersion of a distribution of a sample of known points to estimate a mean.

The problem with using the bell curve analogy for continuous observations (such as the rate of exploration of new oil wells, or for Garth’s argument, the rate of creation of new wealth) is that the peak cannot account for unforeseen discontinuities – such as non-traditional oil-producing assets (Oil sands or ‘fracking’ to release shale oil), or some other disruption (positive or negative) that might affect the rate of wealth creation.

Is the rate of wealth creation slowing, or is wealth merely being re-distributed?

#37 VICTORIA TEA PARTY on 10.13.14 at 7:04 pm

“THINGS” DON’T GO UP FOR EVER…

…just like house prices, gasoline, food, medical care, taxes.

Taxes?

That’s about ALL that DOES go up forever.

THE BIG PICTURE, AS RELATED BY ST. GARTH OF ANIMAL PLANET…

Animal extinctions, population growth, fracking our fresh water into toxic mud and the rest of the industrial strength “lifestyle” we just love so much is what’s killing us all? I think so.

The Earth cannot abide this abuse forever, hence: gravity WILL inevitably dial in as investors have just found out from the recent unwelcome visit of Mr. Market.

He has been doing his level best to bring market things “back to normal” for the past few trading days.

He may take a breather tomorrow, but he’ll be back!

As Bill Bonner the famous American “rogue economist” points out time and again: We may complain if we don’t get what we think we deserve. But we’ll damn well DESERVE what we finally get!

So, what will we get? Flocks of Black Swans…

Swan number one…

Is ISIS a Black Swan in our future, ultimately sacking Saudi Arabia and facilitating a gigantic oil/nat gas price rise that’ll ruin us all?

Or is this new war just a continuation of an old one: to wit World War One?

By that I mean ISIS’s obvious attempt to revoke the Sykes/Picot Treaty of the 1920s.

That’s where Britain and France, victorious in WW1, divvied up the Middle East (eliminating the Turkish Ottoman Empire), creating Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, “Palestine”.

Apparently, ISIS wants to create a caliphate to include those countries and perhaps more.

Meanwhile, through an unintended consequence, is Turkey watching ISIS murder the Kurds so it can move in and re-create ITS Ottoman Empire, amongst the Iraqi and Syrian ruins?!

Like I say a resumption of WW1 in the Mideast.

BUT THE MAIN BLACK SWAN IS…EBOLA…

Is Ebola the “finally” in the story of humanity?

Don’t know.

Apparently scientists and bloggers are trying to find similarities, in its “ability” to spread, and are back looking at the Black Plague that eviscerated Europe in the 14th Century, in their research.

My big question: how competent is our medical establishment in curtailing this beast? Too soon to tell. But read carefully the numbers of blogs on the subject and try and sort it out for yourself if you can. I can’t. It’s just TMI real or imagined.

ON A MORE PROSAIC FRONT…MEANWHILE…

Mr. Market will be right back, following this public service announcement…

#38 takla on 10.13.14 at 7:07 pm

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDIQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fchartsbin.com%2Fview%2Fg7e&ei=A1U8VL25JMuwyATK54DYDw&usg=AFQjCNEneLkfeAFVFkmeWGVyrMK0nuTeyA

great topic today garth.being a peer{age wise } of yours I remember being raised at a time that was far less complicated.Grew up on 500 acreas with a garden every spring,had live stock and hunted annually,not so much for meat{had lots with the farm}but to pass on tradition to our kids.Milk was traded for with the dairy farmer down the road,Barter was the norm as money was harder to come by,everyone got by fine without stocks/bonds/fianial assets or gold.

Ubove is a link to population growth,note since the advent of oil the world population exploded as food production grew massively with the gas/diesel engine ,making farming on large scale feasible for the first time in history.As resource depletion takes hold over the next century,Many believe we will have die-off as the world has finite resources,seen it on the farm,the yrs that produce less grouse the cyotee count would fall..natures way
I know families living up north that still have outdoor plumbing ,Alaska hyw…that get by great and if I showed them this blog theyd have a good laugh,uneffected by 99% of what we belly ache on here
about.

#39 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 7:21 pm

The point that I’m making is that the the WWF, Sierra Club and Greenpeace are utterly without shame when it comes to raising $$$. There is nothing that they will not stretch, bend fold on manipulate as long as $$$ end up in their pockets.

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/08/big-green-hypocrites/

Oh, you mean like the National Citizens Coalition, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Conservative Party? — Garth

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My point exactly. When politics of any stripe enters the building science is eviscerated.

#40 OMG the original on 10.13.14 at 7:24 pm

At the risk of being pissed on by the environmental gallery……

The planet’s ability to sustain human population is astounding. In every generation there are those that believe the planet cannot cope with anymore people. And then we just add another couple of billion and keep on going.

And agricultural technology just keeps packing on the world’s productive capacity. Yes I know, climate change will make great swaths of currently productive desert, but other areas will be winners. We are seeing this already in Canada.

So I am an optimist, I believe technology and human ingenuity will keep plugging ahead.

Who knows, maybe we will be clicking over to the 15 billion mark in 50 years time.

#41 Uh Oh Canada on 10.13.14 at 7:25 pm

I’m amazed at those in denial- over climate change, extinction, housing bubbles, and the like. Optimism isn’t denialism, nor is it rejecting the facts. It’s about casting our first world problems in a different light, appreciating what we do have, changing or accepting the negative things, and moving on by growth.

Denial gets you nowhere.

#42 Caveman on 10.13.14 at 7:30 pm

Perhaps too gruesome to release, but doctors have kept hearts beating in jars for at least 75 years. Progress is slow for those with enough historic perspective ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiments_in_the_Revival_of_Organisms

#43 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 7:30 pm

Re: #6 Rural Rick

Regarding smelt and passenger pigeons – both of these are the result of the collectivization of a resource. No one person or entity has any incentive to ensure it is used sustainably. That’s why government is so dangerous to the environment – there is no single entity responsible for the management of a resource and the losses are collectivized.

What we need are STRONGER protections of private property. Private property owners have an incentive to ensure things are well managed and kept. Collective ownership does not.

Businesses shouldn’t be allowed to pollute their neighbours air, water, or land. But government has taken it upon themselves to issue ‘permits’ which allow them to do just that! Try taking them to court and see what happens: “Judge, the government issued this permit to us. We are well within the parameters of it.”. This gives them a license to pollute – this is not ‘runaway’ capitalism or free markets – this is cronyism/fascism! Privatize the gains, socialize the losses.

Look at the environmental record of the Soviet Union to see evidence of this. Or modern day China. Yes, they are developing pseudo-property rights. But the government still has a large say over what is allowed.

A great example of free market private property protections of the environment is Haiti vs Dominican Republic. They consist of two parts of the SAME island. Look at a picture of the island on google earth. You will see a VERY clear difference between the two. The reason? One has stronger protections of private property rights, while the other socializes land – it’s that simple folks. The wonderful thing about this example is it can’t be claimed that one country has more natural resources or a better climate or anything silly like that, because they’re both on the SAME island!

Demand that your representatives protect private property. Demand that they quit issuing permits to big business. Demand the elimination of property taxes. Demand stronger enforcement by the courts when your air, land, or water rights are infringed. Then you will see a difference.

#44 Michael Francis on 10.13.14 at 7:35 pm

My old man just celebrated his 100 th birthday. Survived mustard gas, WW1, WW2, depression, Spanish flu and a v2 taking out the family home. Shunned debt and hates banks.
5 years ago a real estate agent offered him a deal on his multi million dollar property that he bought for peanuts in 1955 and still owns.
Told the agent to get off his property or he’ll rip his f##cking head off.
Got to admire these old buggers.

#45 TakingResponsibility on 10.13.14 at 7:35 pm

A thought-provoking post.

Sometimes “Reality” is just damnable hard to accept.

But I can hardly “act” (rather than re-act which often involves some sort of ‘emotional drunkenness’) without awareness and acceptance.

BTW, I don’t know who is doin’ all the populating….
I (and several friends) have pretty well “accepted” that we will not ever be grandparents.

Too expensive or risky(?) to raise children, I guess (and I know it’s none of my business so I don’t ask).

#46 Stephen Fowler on 10.13.14 at 7:39 pm

We always remember the past through rose tinted lenses. The present always looks bleak. The future, nihilistic. The reality is never so sad. Tomorrow will be like today, but a little bit better. Then we will complain about how much worse it is. It has always been so.

#47 Oh Boy! on 10.13.14 at 7:40 pm

@16 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 6:30 pm

I have a song too, see if you can pick it;

There is a house in Vancouver town
They call it the Rising Price
Its’ been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know, I’m one….

My Mother was a saver
Opened my first account
My father was a family man
Down in Vancouver town

The only thing a saver needs
Is 5% to sign
You’ll never be satisfied
Until you fully paid

[Organ solo, take it away]

Oh Children, tell your Mother
Don’t do what I have done
Spend your life in misery
In the House of the Rising Price

Well, I got one foot in the debt pit
The other foot in a pay-cheque
I’m goin’ back to Vancouver town
To live in a slump, by the dump

Well, there is a house in Vancouver town
They call it the Rising Price
It will be the ruin, of many a poor by
And God, I know, I’m one

#48 Nemesis on 10.13.14 at 7:44 pm

#Robert*PromisedMeItWouldAllEndWell… #Eventually. #BelieveIt.

http://youtu.be/2LqzF5WauAw

[NoteToSaltierDogz: Robert*Who? ThisGuy: http://tinyurl.com/oy3ndk6 NoteToGT: JustForYou – http://youtu.be/h9oIDiYy8wQ ]

#49 Larry Laffer on 10.13.14 at 7:44 pm

“Oh, you mean like the National Citizens Coalition, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Conservative Party? — Garth”

Thanks that was great!

#50 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 7:44 pm

I, for one, am glad that Leonardo diCaprio took time away from doing hotlaps in his Prius on the deck of his s superyacht to become the UN’s Climate Change Ambassador. I admire his restraint.

Mr. di Caprio had originally planned on doing the yacht based hotlaps in his Ferrari, but was informed that Gwyneth Paltrow wanted to have her Prius airlifted onto the forward helo pad of the yacht (as the rear helo pad was in use by Neil Young doing a drifting demonstration in a Greyhound bus) so that Ms. Paltrow could also participate.

Mr di Caprio gallantly deferred and decided on also using his Prius so that they could both take the Fantail Sweeper corner side by side in a show of solidarity.

Bravo to them all for raising our awareness of the evils of fossil fuels!!

#51 Smudgekin on 10.13.14 at 7:45 pm

I blame Wall St. All this pressure on double-digit yields from corporate stocks is what’s killing the middle class. All the outsourcing & cost cutting to get there. I’d like to see more localized, greencentric business co-operatives adopted in Canada. Free & independent from Wall St performance criteria.

#52 Annek on 10.13.14 at 7:48 pm

#8
“However, if one is at a house party, and you bring up these facts, or the fact that Canadians worship at the altar of home ownership and are debt laden financial lunatics, which are also irrefutable facts, well, you will very quickly be standing alone in the room.”

This is so true.
I have since learned to keep my mouth shut when the wrinklies talk about their recent condo ” investments” made for their kids or their future retirement residences. Why after all, you cannot lose!

#53 Kurt on 10.13.14 at 7:50 pm

What happened?

I heard once that the intelligence of a group is inversely proportional to its size. A group the size of all humanity is about as smart as an amoeba.

Humans, taken together with their livestock and pets, constitute 98% of the land mammal biomass. The systems we live within did not evolve to support the kind of load we are putting on them.

We need to get a lot smarter and a lot smaller, but I don’t see any workable way to get from point A to point B.

#54 Stupesing in Cabbagetown on 10.13.14 at 7:53 pm

I also wonder what happened. I am so disappointed in my (boomer) generation. We have known about air and water pollution for decades. We have known about greenhouse gasses and ozone depletion. Yet in spite of that knowledge we built McMansions in the burbs and poured chemical fertilizers on the lawns. We jammed the highways with SUVs, we developed a fondness for meat grown on feed lots and super farms and we drank our water out of plastic bottles. Our mothers cleaned their homes with rags made from threadbare clothing; we pull a wet wipe out of a plastic box that is then discarded when it is empty. And then we shake our heads as though this is all someone else’s fault.

#55 Sheane Wallace on 10.13.14 at 7:55 pm

We are pushing the ‘progress’ in an environment without birth control. Without GMO food ‘revolution’ the population would be 4 billions.

We either have to enforce severe birth control limitations in the developing world now (having 11 kids without the means to support them is irresponsible) or swipe the planet like a virus depleting it of all natural resources and wild animal life.

We will imminently come to a catastrophe of some sort and it most likely would be war.

We are digging very fast our own graves.

Watch the movie idiocracy.

#56 TEMPORARY® Foreign Prime Minister on 10.13.14 at 7:55 pm

Until recently, there has never been a medium quite like the Internet available to the ideologically self-indulgent who are determined to polarize the uneducated and weak-minded into believing and doing really stupid things to themselves and each other.

#57 saskatoon on 10.13.14 at 7:55 pm

#10 Van Isle Renter

i, too, tend to approach such “shocking” information with caution:

after all, WWF was created by the head of the british eugenics society: julian huxley.

#58 Sheane Wallace on 10.13.14 at 7:55 pm

without oil the earth can support 2 billion people.

#59 Ottawa on 10.13.14 at 8:02 pm

Really interesting post today.

I think that we are about to turn a corner, although much of the damage is done and will continue for some time.

It’s one thing to deride “foreign environmental radicals”, it’s another to ignore the companies that manage $30 trillion in capital.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/investors-call-for-climate-change-deal
More than 340 institutions managing £15tn of assets say governments must put a ‘meaningful’ price on carbon

The tide is turning and we will turn with it – no matter which party is in power. Ironically, if we would have focused earlier on meaningful federal action rather than delay and public relations, our pipeline would have been built.

#60 Piccaso on 10.13.14 at 8:06 pm

Meet The Bank Employee Who Asked His CEO For A $10,000 Raise, And CC’d 200,000 Colleagues

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/meet-bank-employee-asked-ceo-172751075.html

#61 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.13.14 at 8:08 pm

2014 There will never be another 2014 in our lifetimes.

Think about that. We get ’em 1 day -24 hours at a time.
We can work, study, sleep, eat, complain, invest divest, buy, sell, or hold. Tomorrow a new 24 hour cycle begins.

Some thoughts…

Why should government give you a ‘deduction’ for each kid? They should charge you a YEARLY BIG TAX for all beyond the replacement rate (2).

Fossil fuel can be augmented by buying the ‘right’ car.
i have a hybrid that have averaged over 39 mpg for 67,000 miles. Do I give a dam about petrol prices? NO. if Petrol is such a ‘precious thing’ why is it so cheap? TAX IT like you’re in Europe!! fuel prices are down to $3.10 a gallon (3.89 litres)
Since I retired my mileage is half what it used to be annually.Would I consider an alternative fuel vehicle? YES.

Stock market is a hissy fit moment. Am I worried? Mildly, but good companies rarely go out of style, or business, or leave the country. I’m balanced 60/40 but the numbers show loss anyway, as they did show gain a few weeks ago

I drive slower these days, why hurry? I eat better too. More good stuff in my diet. Who knows what the world will be in 20 years? Actuarially, I won’t be here anyway. My wife, maybe. I don’t hunt, fertilize my lawn, throw antifreeze down the drain, or otherwise act like too much of a boob. I do enjoy a few cocktails a couple days a week, helps we sort out the despairs of the moment.

I do enjoy music. I do not like the Chinese made inferior players available today. I prefer my 1958 Seeburg to play those Boomer 45’s (55-85) that I lived! non better!

My politics are always in flux, not by my values changing, but seeing the best qualified candidates are never owned by a single ideology. I vote the candidate not party.
Gold should be worn, only. Land has ethics attached to it.

I have lots to be thankful for, and sometimes forget to show my thanks to all my fellow creatures. At least the 4 leggers are forgiving of that. -end RANT-

#62 Godth on 10.13.14 at 8:08 pm

We’re not special? It’s not different this time?

Civilizations rise and fall, nothing new. Spring, summer, fall, winter. Birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. Welcome to mother nature, infinite growth on a finite planet is a certain sort of lunacy that has gripped our culture in a juvenile orgiastic vice. We struck oil, cheap energy and bloomed (in numbers anyway) to unimaginable heights – what goes up must come down. Balance on this rock demands it. No one has to like it. Welcome to fall. The religion of progress was a temporary fantasy and wasteful extravagance that the future will not afford.

Climbing Down The Ladder
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/2007/10/climbing-down-ladder.html

#63 Cow Man on 10.13.14 at 8:11 pm

Sir Garth:
While 50% of animal species may have disappeared, a far greater percentage of farm families have been removed in Ontario in the same period of time. The latest round of attacks by those who purport themselves to be savers of the environment with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine designations put another generation of Ontario farmers out of competitive farming. Perception is only a viable tool in politics. There were far more species when there were far more farmers.

#64 José on 10.13.14 at 8:13 pm

OH MY GOD!

Only this blog could make another dismal day in the stock market look pretty good in comparison. Holy crap – it’s all (life as we know it) going to rat shat.

What, was your turkey raw Garth?

#65 Chickenlittle on 10.13.14 at 8:18 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Folks!

First off, sorry, Garth, about my last post. I had a fever of 103…I promise I won’t post sick anymore…

………..

What worries me is the loss of freedom of speech. Everyone is “offended” or “shocked” or both.

People have their opinions. Get over it. Not everyone agrees with everything. Get over it.

Whatever progress the west has made in the way of freedom of speech and expression and, well, even personality and way of life, it is all being swept away by compliance and uniformity and of course, the celebrity cause of the day.

Just watch.. We will all one day “become one with the Borg.”

#66 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 8:19 pm

Re: #52 Kurt

We need to decentralize the responsibilities of the government. The reason is because governing is COMPLICATED and the closer you are to an issue the better you will be to resolving it. We experience this during the early periods of our history but have spent the past few decades homogenizing and centralizing everything which explains why we’re getting poorer.

People fled the European landmass in DROVES to escape the big government tyranny that had plagued them for centuries. The west boomed because for the first time in human history our individual talents and imaginations were UNRESTRAINED by an overbearing central government. Unfortunately, it started to reverse course after world war 2.

************

Re: #50 Smugkin

‘Green’ businesses will spring up once they become profitable. They are not. If a business requires subsidies, which is essentially theft from productive businesses, in order to survive, it shouldn’t exist at all.

Capitalism is not to blame for our woes. Cronyism/fascism is. The only way to get rich in a capitalist society is to provide a good or a service to your fellow man that they value. Theft and fraud are not allowed. In a crony capitalist system, like the one we have today, big business gets big government to do it’s bidding. They don’t need to convince people to voluntarily pay for their services if the government has created an environment that forces them to do so. An example of this is the electrical power companies in Ontario – try getting through all the regulatory hurdles that have been imposed to establish your own power company. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to compete.

**************

#44 TakingResponsibility

The problem with raising children is in your name: you’re too responsible. Those that are reckless and don’t take precautions to not get pregnant are rewarded today. They get all kinds of welfare help and child benefits. Those of us who are responsible and feel we should be able to provide for our children are being squeezed out by the increasing burden of maintaining these lucrative social nets.

*******

#49 Van Isle Renter

All the people demanding that we reduce our living standards back the stone age should stop breathing. Seriously. They are emitting too much CO2.

Dogma is so incredibly dangerous to logical thinking. People, we are in an ICE AGE. If the planet warms, that’s a GOOD THING. Most of earth’s history, there haven’t been any polar ice caps. Don’t believe me? Look it up, it’s true. We need to IGNORE these people. The ones complaining about pollution are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE that complain when prices increase at their local grocery store because it’s had to comply with expensive legislation they promoted. These people are hurting all of us.

The funny thing is, if you study the history of the planet, you know that oxygen was once a poisonous gas. When it was first produced, it killed a whole lot of life on this planet. And yet, we need it to survive now. We need to quit the damn hysteria and start looking for the truth.

All we need are strong property rights to protect the environment. See my writeup at number 42.

#67 tkid on 10.13.14 at 8:24 pm

Here is a good three part series on Ebola in Liberia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AZidJ36nA0
the first video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMELNLTh-b0
second video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOkDsGPhn48
part three

Watch it and then buy bleach and few extra cans of food. If you don’t have a months worth of food in the larder for each member of your household, how will you survive being quarantined if the authorities order a quarantine?

All the old rules are back in play.

#68 Cow Man on 10.13.14 at 8:28 pm

# 23 Ben

What you wrote contained more truth than Garth’s excellent post. I hope everyone reads it. All that our Finance Ministers do is pull forward demand to keep the party going.

#69 Renting and Loving it on 10.13.14 at 8:32 pm

As I walked around the Grand Canyon last week, I thought the same thing…. millions of years of geology in front of me and all I could think of was how much the human race has destroyed on this planet in less than 100 years.

And yet they refuse to admit it. Reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone park changed the way rivers flow, but we still allow people who are less than honest about their travels to venture into and out of Ebola-infested areas freely. Climate change is apparently to some, a “hoax”. Whaling, killing of dolphins, sharks and other top predators goes unchecked because there’s $ involved. So what if millions of acres of coral and sea life are dead? So what if our oceans are landfills full of plastic that are slowly poisoning what life is left there?

Someone once said that if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

People not believing that real estate isn’t the panacea that the mortgage brokers, banks and Real Estate boards want you to think it is, is hardly surprising.

#70 TurnerNation on 10.13.14 at 8:33 pm

Still spending lots of time with my Realtress. No sign of hockey stick’s subsiding. Guess blog dogs can play both sides of the market.

……

Attn. new blog dogs. The following usernames are still available; reserve yours today

Tabula Rasta

Chancellor Rebalancer

Gold Buggered

Blog Dogma

Sticky Figures

Jerk of all Trades

Treasury Blonde

SmokingNation

The Chartist Guy in the room

Garthflation

…..

Reserved:
Blog Dog Poloz

#71 HJD on 10.13.14 at 8:39 pm

Garth, That was a powerful and timely message, one that obviously goes far beyond taking care of our financial and real estate interests. Michael Greger Md (NutritionFacts.org) provides the same sort of honest and professional perspective on all matters dealing with nutrition and health. Garth and Michael – what a team! Their two websites help me stay on top of this complicated world. Merci

#72 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 8:39 pm

Re: #57 Sheane Wallace

Fret not – the earth can support as many people as the market will allow. Don’t concern yourself with trying to figure out how – the market is too complex for any one individual or group of individuals to figure out. That is why central planning is so dangerous.

When I was younger and didn’t understand economics to the extent I do now, I too was worried about things like overpopulation. But I know now that there is nothing to worry about. If people are hungry, someone will provide food in order to earn a profit.

THE ONLY WORRY ANY OF US SHOULD HAVE IS THIS:

That the FREE MARKET allocation of capital and the pursuit of a profit is INTERFERED with or INFRINGED.

That’s it folks. All of humanities problems will eventually be solved as long as that one thing does NOT happen.

When it does happen, that is the only time there are famines. The only time there is struggle. The only time there are shortages. The only time our standard of living declines. The only time people die when they could be saved. The only time a lack of progress is made.

#73 nonplused on 10.13.14 at 8:42 pm

A nice compendium of things to worry about today Garth. Good thing it’s a holiday and I’ve got a glass of Gibbon’s on.

Here is the way I see it. There are 2 possible outcomes to things. Oil depletion leads to a bell curve and eventually we are unable to maintain and contain all the nuclear waste sitting on site at the various nuclear reactors around the world, and life on the planet, well, ends. Oh well that is years off and we had a good run. The sun will still shine tomorrow and we aren’t out of oil yet.

The second possibility I see is that higher energy prices eventually raise an awareness in the public that we need to do something. My bet would be on Thorium nuclear reactors, which many researchers say they know how to build already but at present we are stuck with the capital investments we’ve already made in coal, gas and light water uranium reactors. If all the claims they make about Thorium are true, the energy crisis that’s coming can be solved. Heck there’s a guy at the university of Texas that says you can even use them to speed up the decay process of the nasty stuff that comes out of a light water uranium reactor so that it’s safe in years instead of millennia. If he’s right the solution to our problems is within our grasp but so far there doesn’t seem to be any funding for it.

It should be noted that the reason uranium reactors were the build of choice in the 50’s and 60’s is because the various governments wanted the plutonium for their doomsday bombs. Thorium’s potential for generation was already understood if not yet perfected.

But anyway the point is there is hope that’s within our means now but won’t be if we don’t start on it before we run out of the oil we’ll need to build the first ones first. If we go Mad Max it’ll be too late and all the current piles of nuclear waste will eventually escape to the environment and kill everything. Failed societies don’t have the resources to keep them contained.

I’m also not to concerned about global warming. Yes I believe it’s real, but the part of the conversation that’s missing is that we are already half way through (or there about depending on how you count unconventional oil and gas) and the CO2 in the atmosphere has only gone from 320 ppm (parts per million!) to 400 or so. So the maximum potential CO2 levels when we run right out of oil is maybe 480 ppm, which is totally survivable by both animals and plants. In fact plants grow faster and bigger at that level according to greenhouse tests. What would be wrong with growing huge tomatoes in Alberta?

The water problem is obviously a concern but a Thorium reactor would be a great way to desalinate sea water and generate power at the same time. The world’s water never gets consumed, the problem we have going forward is that fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce.

The population concern is also valid but unfortunately also self correcting. When we reach the point where we cannot support the number of people on the planet, the strong will survive and the weak will starve. Yes, it sucks, but that’s what will have to happen. However history has already shown that women who have access to good health care and economic opportunity already curtail the number of children they have. The population explosion is not a first world problem. All first world nations have experienced dramatic reductions in their birth rates regardless of religious or cultural traditions. It is really cruel to say, but the third world has always lived on the verge of starvation, and the only reason there are so many of them now is that modern farming has increased the availability of food. That may not always be the case.

The loss of animals is also a valid concern but primarily a nostalgic one. 99.99999999% of every species that has existed on this planet has eventually gone extinct or given way to new species through evolution. It just so happens we are the most successful creature right now and we are terraforming the planet to our own interests. A cougar doesn’t stand a chance against a cop with a gun. Never did.

Does that mean we shouldn’t try and save them? No that’s not what I am saying. I’m all for parks and reserves and even expanding them as we move more food production to greenhouses powered and heated by Thorium (if it works). We won’t need such a big footprint and we will be able to give back some of the land. But that’s years away. In the utopian future, there will be plenty of money to ensure we can keep the elephants alive if for no other reason than that we find them entertaining.

But even if there is hope for the future, we are at a crossroads. The way we are doing things now isn’t sustainable. We must either move into the future with some sort of new and vastly expanded energy source, or we will be forced to move slowly back to the past and then the “rubbles of our sin” will do the rest. There is no guarantee. It will be up to us to make the right decisions. I believe it is within our capacity, but unfortunately I am not terribly impressed with our current crop of leaders. The powers that be seem to be living in the past, and clinging to the French notion “After me, the deluge.” (That’s translated of course but for those who don’t get it, it sums up the zeitgeist that you put yourself first and don’t care that the world dies afterward.)

Can we survive the coming crisis? I believe we have the technology and that technology provides a level of leverage to labor never experienced in all of history. But right now we don’t seem to be making very good decisions with that capacity. The powers that be seem much more concerned with controlling the remaining oil than building out an alternative. Maybe they know something I don’t, they’ve tested Thorium and they know it doesn’t work or something. But I say we should try it and anything else promising. I don’t think we have a choice, and I think we are running out of time.

#74 Here there on 10.13.14 at 8:48 pm

As the late George Carling said, mother nature will take care of it. Besides, the important thing is, that HGTV says granite kitchen counters are divine. Supermarkets are helping to save the planet by charging 5 cents for a one cent plastic bag. And Mr. Tory is running, again. Apparently, everything is kosher, halal and so on. So let’s keep eating crab legs, from the organic part of the ocean, as SM said. And be merry.

#75 rower on 10.13.14 at 8:58 pm

What happened is that instead of living in harmony and balance, someone decided that they deserved all the power and money. This goes right back to the beginning of time.

We have seen through history the coming and going of such people. Each war has been a resource war because someone thought they were more entitled to the power, control and money that resource brought than anyone else was.

I don’t think it has ever been more apparent, though, than it is now with all of the instant news technology. The whole “I’ve got mine and yours and to hell with the rest of the world” attitude has led us to this point.

We are now overtaxed, over-regulated, overly policed, and overdue for a major correction.

The revealing continues and it isn’t pretty.

We can’t fix it all, but we can do our best to be good stewards of the land, grow our own food, and eschew this corrupt system as much as possible.

Realizing that divide and conquer is a very successful m.o. is a good place to start.

Peace.

#76 Inglorious Investor on 10.13.14 at 8:58 pm

The confluence of positive and negative factors today is very interesting.

Perhaps in no other time in history has our global society enjoyed such amazing potential (thanks to technology, energy, and expanding knowledge) and dire hazards (thanks to things like war, disease, environmental degradation, species extinction, debt, corruption) simultaneously.

We could be on the verge of a new golden age for humanity––one that transforms our world in wonderful ways we cannot yet imagine. However, it looks like before we get there, we may have to experience and work through a complete crash and burn. A global reset, if you will.

Now be patient, because if that is indeed the case, then the timetable will not be one of years or even decades. I think the process could well take a century or two. But even during the dreaded Dark Ages (when war, fear, disease, pestilence and poverty were rampant) life went on and humanity prevailed. We pulled through. What to do in the meantime?

Well, as Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

#77 Cow Man on 10.13.14 at 9:05 pm

Maybe one of our blog community can explain who is the “good guy”. Communist China has a population control policy, that they have tried to enforce. The Roman Catholic Church opposes birth control Which one is the “good guy?”

#78 nonplused on 10.13.14 at 9:16 pm

Oh and how do we get it done? Right now there are something like 50 million people in the US alone surviving on food stamps. Pay them $10/hour to build reactors. Any kind of reactors but hopefully some Thorium reactors to test them out. The state sponsored food for votes has to stop in the first world and be converted back to food for work. Even if they build something silly like the Hoover Dam at least afterwards you have the dam. It’s a better idea than having them sit on their ass playing video games all day and getting free food. If we are going to solve our problems, everyone is going to have to sweat a bit.

It must be remembered that labor = wealth. Always has and nothing can change that. Even Adam Smith understood that capital was excess labor, reinvested, and leveraged through technology that could only be developed through labor.

Paying people to not work is folly and will destroy those nations that do it. They can build bike paths for all I’m concerned at least we’ll have bike paths. But if we are prudent about what we pay them to build we might get an irrigation system like we got in Alberta in the 40’s. Or maybe a new energy source.

#79 not 1st on 10.13.14 at 9:18 pm

Garth, don’t you think its a little hypocritical to bring up all these continuing problems we have while nearly 5 trillion was pumped into the economy to keep the game afloat.

That money could have lifted a lot of people out of poverty or cured a lot of diseases. Instead, its all just gone to numbers on the Dow Jones and Nasdaq screens.

#80 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.13.14 at 9:18 pm

#1 Cato The Elder

Somewhat Hogwash my boy. We were lucky our forbears found a continent largely uninhabited, except for a few indigenous natives. They set up “civilization” as they knew it along the east coast. 13 colonies finally rebelled against the mother country (great Britain) financed by nemesis France, and others. The colonists prevailed.

The US was an experiment in self government most of all.
Each era was not always wildly successful. Our domestic industry prospered by the imposition of high import tariffs to protect domestic manufacturing, and farmers until they could ‘compete’ (read: their (our) prices got too high). Crony capitalism is hardly a ‘new’ idea.

Most of the US is zoned. We have land use, building codes etc. Some brought in by tragedies like the Triangle Shirt Waist fire in NYC. These rules are open, anyone can find them. There ARE penalties for scofflaws. They are meant that your freedom to build doesn’t infringe on your neighbors right to enjoy his property. We have property taxes to staff a fire dept, a police dept, and provide public education for our, or the neighbors kids, local roads, and local government. You got a problem with this design?

if my neighbor builds saw mill, there are rules on particulates in the air. As long as he holds his “pollution” within the legal limits, I have no right to bitch. Otherwise, I might bitch just because I CAN thereby, depriving him of HIS property rights. You got a problem with this design?
Offer me a better one.

There are fishing ,limits, hunting,limits yet who knows how well they are obeyed?
Over fishing has ruined the northeast fishing waters, or greatly retarded their productivity. Same to the great lakes, but there pollution seemed the larger threat. Thankfully we got serious with the clean water, and air acts of the early 70’s or imagine the mess we would have now. IS it perfect? no never will be, there are constant attempts to weaken, or destroy those rules.

Climate change. Rather obvious to me, but you need to see for yourself, and decide upon the evidences.

Nothing will destroy capitalism like capitalists. (Just LOOK at the record of 200 years). They need to be controlled just like their collectivist relatives.

#81 Mark on 10.13.14 at 9:30 pm

The collapse of RE in Canada is going to concentrate a lot of wealth away from those who own RE, and towards those who own businesses, particularly in the form of stocks of large corporations with enduring assets. Or those who own asset classes that have inverse correlation to bonds and RE.

The RE bubble, at least temporarily, has been a giant wealth ‘equalizer’. People who ordinarily would be barely removed from being trailer trash, have enjoyed, over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unearned equity, and abnormally low finance costs. They’ve used the funds and debt to buy abnormally expensive vehicles. Fill Air Canada and WestJet’s aircraft taking vacations. And all sorts of other middle-class ‘luxury’ consumption.

True upper class will prosper. Those in the upper middle class, particularly those who are public “servants” are going to have it really handed to them during the next decade or two. Especially as severe austerity has to be forced onto the public sector to pay for the result of some of the $900B of CMHC’s subprime mortgage guarantees going bad, as well as the erosion of the tax base due to the decimation of the housing industry.

#82 Nemesis on 10.13.14 at 9:32 pm

#Murphy’sLaw… #PriorLink… #NotCrossPlatformCompatible… #ThisOneIs… #JustForSaltierDogz… #WhoNeedsMustRelyOnMobileDevices:

http://youtu.be/zSWdZVtXT7E

#83 OttawaguyRenting Worried but not too worried still a worrier but look on the brightside on 10.13.14 at 9:43 pm

Smoking man drunk tonight. Epic.

The collapse of normal is near. Deflation is a real bitc* if it rears an ugly 6-8 quarters worth. Could topple our CDN $.

Meltdown.

What happened to the kids? Remember when Moms would call them for dinner. Now they txt them from the kitchen to the basement dwelling…

Smoking weed by the bus stop before heading home.

Catching a movie with friends for fun.

It is all too real now. Getting old. Looking at savings pile up. Work exchanged for “someday I can stop running on the f788king hamster wheel”
Really?

A pill to get hard while the bank gives you nothing for your HARD earned cash.
Doesn’t seem right.
$14 non generic a pill and the interest on the monthly checking won’t cover it.

Soft Landing it won’t be

#84 I'm stupid on 10.13.14 at 9:59 pm

What a depressing post. It’s funny that the generation that consumed the most in human history, are now telling others not to consume. It’s like Al Gore driving a V8 around preaching about climate change.

The boomers are and will be remembered as the best generation to have ever lived. The 80s is known as the decade of excess and for good reason, if you were rich you had a limo with a hot tub in the back and a pet tiger. How ridiculous does that sound? Micheal Jackson owned a monkey.

I don’t feel sorry for boomers, or how they will eat canned tuna in retirement. They had huge growth and they pissed their money away. Now as wrinkles they expect sympathy and help from the sacrificed generation. Being born in 1980 I inherited the future tax burden this generation has placed on me with their excess.

I’m not angry or bitter about it. They lived it up. I envy them for having the fun they had. But, all parties end at some point and the bar bill needs to get paid. I sure as hell don’t want to pay for the party, since I wasn’t invited.

The world needs to change, we can’t afford to live like this any longer, if we haven’t reached the tipping point we must be close. The longer we wait, the harder the choices. How can the western world tell China to become greener when they wasted so much for so long? That’s the problem. The U.S. tells Brazil not to cut down the rainforest and Brazil says you cut all your trees. PITA tells African countries to stop selling hunting rights for black rhinos and they say rhinos are almost extinct because of rich foreigners buying ivory. It’s a race to the bottom that I cant see changing.

#85 Van Isle Renter on 10.13.14 at 10:02 pm

#69 Renting and Loving it on 10.13.14 at 8:32 pm
As I walked around the Grand Canyon last week, I thought the same thing…. millions of years of geology in front of me and all I could think of was how much the human race has destroyed on this planet in less than 100 years.

Climate change is apparently to some, a “hoax” to some..

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your statement is an excellent example of how the eco-movement and the MSM have perverted and mis-stated the issue for political gain. According to them, either you believe in “Climate Change” or you don’t. That whole wedge-issue is intentionally made misleading by the eco-movement to confuse and garner support.

To reiterate the stance of myself and every other geo-scientist on the planet: Climate change is real. It has been ongoing since this planet condensed out a of pile of swirling gases 4.6 billion years ago. What is in question is whether the minor variance of a very small trace gas (CO2) in the atmosphere will “end life as we know it” as John Kerry stated a few days ago.

Given that the geologic record clearly demonstrates that CO2 has been 400% -500% higher in the geologic past with absolutely no ill effects on the biosphere at the time, I can say with absolute confidence that it is inconsistent with demonstrated reality that a variation of 10% or even 100% will “end life as we know it” as claimed by John Kerry. His statements are nonsense.

The larger issue is that if we continue spending $$ on nonsense issues we will squander our future to the point that when real problems like ebola show up, we’ll have nothing left in the kitty to deal with them.

It ain’t politics, it’s science and the science is piling up clearly and daily that the “Climate Change” scare is massively overblown.

The question you need to ask yourself is: “After 4.6 billion years of planetary climate change fluctuating between tropical heat and ice ages hundreds of times, does it make any sense that the eco-movement can actually stop the planet’s climate from changing by levying taxes?”

The eco-movement wants you to think so. Does that make any sense?

#86 Ruben on 10.13.14 at 10:04 pm

Best Garth Turner post ever…

#87 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 10:11 pm

Re: #80 Retired Boomer

So many things to address.

You’re right, cronyism has been around for a while. Nothing like it has today post-world war 2 in the US and Canada. We only got an income tax after 1913. So 150+ years of growth without having to subjugate your livelihood to an entity you don’t agree with – that’s pretty huge.

The gold standard also inhibited unrestrained government growth. They could only spend what they had. If the didn’t, they had to raise taxes. People didn’t like higher taxes, so the government generally stayed small throughout that era. Not anymore. They spend too much and don’t take in enough taxes? That’s ok – they’ll print the money to make up for it. Of course, that’s still a tax – we all feel it with prices that go up year after year without end.

Zoning laws are not needed to maintain a society. Houston has over twice the population of Toronto, and NO ZONING LAWS. Zoning laws are another government intrusion in an area that would be handled by simply respecting property rights. Watch this:

http://youtu.be/n-zESacteu4?t=4m22s

Property rights are simple: you can’t infringe on someone’s property without their permission. Get it? No polluting their air, water, or land without permission. Government can’t overrule your decision by issuing permits to big business that says they can.

How would this be handled? Maybe a business owner would approach homeowners in an area and offer to pay them in exchange for the right to discharge something. However, ALL OF CANADA would not be penalized through these stupid permits that hurt us.

Property taxes are not needed to fund most of what local government does. User fees could handle much of it. Don’t want public garbage disposal? Pay for it privately. Insurance providers would provide fire services as a part of their policies. Even much of policing could be done privately (I’m talking about personal protection, not paying a private force of people to go around harassing people).

Regarding fishing, again, it’s a collective resource. It’s not in private hands. Very difficult to manage a collective resource – no one has a vested interest in sustainability for the future and they are all concerned with benefiting TODAY. This happens in every industry. I’m sure there are many examples around the world of policies that DO work, and I haven’t researched them all. Just speculating, but I’m sure if you granted a monopoly on the stock of the fish to be managed by a single entity for 50 years you would see a MASSIVE increase in the populations.

Climate change has been happening since the beginning of our planet, and will happen long after we are gone. What concerns me is the desire of people to implement policies that augment human suffering in trying to ‘combat’ it. That is a stupid decision. If people want to lower their living standards, go from driving a car to a bike, not eat meat anymore, quit showering, etc. they can go ahead – but stop trying to force the rest of us to do it too. Interesting fact that people don’t know is that 1000 years of US garbage could fit in an area 35 x 35 miles:

http://youtu.be/rExEVZlQia4?t=24m28s

So we need to relax – there’s plenty of room.

I love the environment. That’s why I am so interested in enacting policies that will ACTUALLY HELP IT. Property rights are what will save it. Government intrusion of any kind will kill it. History has proven this. Take a look at this picture. One side is Haiti which doesn’t respect property rights and the other is Dominican Republic which has SOME semblance of property rights. See if you can guess which is which:

http://www.livetolearn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/HaitiDominicanRepublicBorder-1024×717.jpg

The US is the greatest experiment in the world as to what can happen when you decentralize and liberate processes. They lost their way, but they showed the world what can happen. The middle class the world over owes a great deal of gratitude to those brave men that took the chances they did in founding their nation.

#88 BG on 10.13.14 at 10:17 pm

Mankind on this planet is in a bubble where each generation hopes they won’t be the greater fools.

#89 devore on 10.13.14 at 10:21 pm

It seems the more we try to fix things, the more we break them.

#90 Third Chimp on 10.13.14 at 10:21 pm

As bad as the WWF figure is – this is much worse:
“The seven billion of us account for about one-third of the total body mass of large animals on the planet, with our domestic animals accounting for most of the rest. (Wild animals only amount to 3 to 5 percent.) ” – Gwynne Dyer
There is no way to see that other than massive human population overshoot.

#91 DreamingIntechniColour on 10.13.14 at 10:23 pm

Must be that everyone is starting to realize having “stuff” is not as important as sleeping well at night knowing you are not slaving away to just pay high $% interest e.g. for a house house, car, balances on credit cards, other payments etc. I view true success as being every time I can sell off some of the “stuff” our family accumulated over the years to a “greater fool”, and put some of their hard earned money into my pocket.

#92 villagemoron on 10.13.14 at 10:25 pm

Must be that everyone is starting to realize having “stuff” is not as important as sleeping well at night knowing you are not slaving away to just pay high $% interest e.g. for a house house, car, balances on credit cards, other payments etc. I view true success as being every time I can sell off some of the “stuff” our family accumulated over the years to a “greater fool”, and put some of their hard earned money into my pocket.

#93 TakingResponsibility on 10.13.14 at 10:25 pm

RE: #72 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 8:39 pm
“THE ONLY WORRY ANY OF US SHOULD HAVE IS THIS:
That the FREE MARKET allocation of capital and the pursuit of a profit is INTERFERED with or INFRINGED.”

Such Idealism. Such Fervour! And, Passion!

Unfortunately, there has NEVER ever been a ‘time’ when there was not political/militaristic interference with capitalist markets. Nor did any such market(s) develop here on Turtle Island without militaristic interference.

Love the Idealism, though. ….The Elusive Free Market Dream or perhaps it’s just a Meme….

#94 Sebee on 10.13.14 at 10:26 pm

I recall an interview with Mowat about his view of how unnatural urban city living is. He quoted risk. Can anyone come up with a list?

#95 East Van on 10.13.14 at 10:26 pm

Garth,

You see clearly What a mess of things we are making. Those in power either do not, or they just don’t care. What does it matter how much you have in your TFSA if the intricate web of life on this planet is irrevocably destroyed? Is it time for you to go back to Ottawa? A different party perhaps?

I think we must all use our remaining time wisely.

Respectfully,

Brent

#96 wallflower on 10.13.14 at 10:28 pm

#43 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 7:30 pm
regarding private property
I believe we need to move to a public ownership, private stewardship model – with double entry monitoring; natives here had the correct overall framework – we could have stepped in with a private stewardship model on top of that and be leading the world today in the most effective means of both land stewardship and ecology build and sustain models. Public bodies can provide guidelines for permissions and private entities can contract lease ownership. If the guidelines are met, the land steward contract is saleable. If the guidelines are superseded, the land steward contract is saleable profitably. If the land is abused, it is not saleable, returns to public, and owner enters into a lifetime contract of obligation for remediation. The land is not ours to abuse. This applies to the water and the air. We are fools to think otherwise.

#97 AB Boxster on 10.13.14 at 10:31 pm

#80 Retired Boomer on Cato the Elder

Thank goodness someone on this blog took exception to the silliness spouted by CTE.

The ‘capitalism will solve all problems’ line of drivel is too much. Its ultra-libertarian view (or ‘short pants’ view in the PMO) that ‘unfettered capitalism’ is the solution to everything is nonsense pure and simple.

In fact the most accurate representation of the bastion of capitalism (ie. the corporation) is that of a psychopath.

Below are seven diagnostic criteria that are used to diagnose antisocial (aka, sociopathic or psychopathic) personality disorder (be mindful that only three of the seven are needed for a positive diagnosis):

1) callous disregard for the feelings of other people
2) the incapacity to maintain human relationships
3) reckless disregard for the safety of others
4) aggressiveness
5) deceitfulness (repeated lying and conning others for profit)
6) incapacity to experience guilt
7) the failure to conform to social norms and respect for the law

source:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-corporation-as-psychopath

Yep, giving these guys free reign will certainly solve all of the problems in the world. How could it fail?

#98 learningfromyou on 10.13.14 at 10:32 pm

Long time ago some of our greatest people already discovered that we took the wrong paths

it applies to finances, health care, science, etc.
The sad part of it, like a heavy truck accelerating downhill, it will be very hard to revert the trend, too many Garth like people are missed for this goal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Schauberger

“As best demonstrated by Nature in the case of the aerofoil maple-seed, today’s propeller is a pressure-screw and therefore a braking screw, whose purpose is to allow the heavy maple-seed to fall parachute-like slowly towards the ground and to be carried away sideways by the wind in the process. No bird has such a whirling thing on its head, nor a fish on its tail. Only man made use of this natural brake-screw for forward propulsion. As the propeller rotates, so does the resistance rise by the square of the rotational velocity. This is also a sign that this supposed propulsive device is unnaturally constructed and therefore out of place.”[3]

#99 Smoking Man on 10.13.14 at 10:35 pm

DreamingIntechniColour on 10.13.14 at 10:23 pm

Stuff is cool when you know how to offshore it.. A drunk said that to me.. The key, the crap table..

#100 Joe Bifspik on 10.13.14 at 10:39 pm

I grew up in a green, forested, distant suburb of Vancouver now known as ‘the sewer’. I remember the milkman delivering fresh bottled milk in a horse cart. Neighbors were counted by the dozen. We waited for our turn on the shared telephone ‘party line’ and anyone on your street could listen to your conversation.

Now ‘ the sewer’ has exploded in population and become the murder capital of Canada. There are more crack houses and marijuana grow ops in ‘the sewer’ than any ghetto Ive ever seen. Hookers working the sky train are common…and getting stabbed walking home at night is likely. I’m not sure this can be called progress.

In the more recent past….I remember, as an articling chartered appraisal student, writing a paper on the poor quality design and construction of what would become known as ‘the leaky condo crisis’. The cheeky paper titled ‘Building tomorrows ghettos today’ caused a bit of a stir in the inner circles of city management and I was roundly criticized .

In my paper I pointed out the quality , engineering, architecture design, inspection and materials used in the construction of the very first project ( which had already began to leak only weeks into construction) should never be replicated as none would stand up to local conditions. But… city mgmt wanted Vancouver to look like pastel plaster Arizona and killed any discussion.

Trouble was…I was right then…and right now… it’s impossible to ignore the history. 30 years later, it has cost the public consumer billions for what could have easily been tweaked to upgrade the construction standards to meet a uniquely Canadian application.

The new buildings of today are constructed following the same pattern of official willful ignorance. It is not just the facade of concrete towers that are affected by the core superstructure.

Rain still seeps past shoddy unprotected window frames into the center of the concrete/steel pour following the re-bar to rust from the inside out. Eventually, these buildings structural integrity will weaken and collapse in sections. The evidence can be seen in parking areas where staining is evident without exposure to the environment. Where is the water coming from you ask? Good question…raise it the next strata meeting. That will be one hell of a ‘special assessment’ if the parking lot crumbles.

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/10/13/toronto-housing-condo-market/

#101 Poorgeoisie on 10.13.14 at 10:41 pm

From what I have seen life is but a series of increments where one looks back and says “man, was I ever stupid two years ago, good thing I’ve got things figured out now.”

#102 Smoking Man on 10.13.14 at 10:42 pm

#88 BG on 10.13.14 at 10:17 pm

Man kind is just a dumb down version of Nectonites, happens every time you splice DNA of dogs and sheep with Nectonites..

I was on a conference call with the counci today, 12 unelected goofs from my planet.. Universal governance types..

Thank God for nude selfies on Twitter… It made the 6 hour conference call via the UCC tolerable….

#103 Quest tion on 10.13.14 at 10:45 pm

Hello, what’s the BDI and is it bad being under 1000 points? Anyone know?

#104 nonplused on 10.13.14 at 10:45 pm

Third Chimp,

Ants, collectively, weigh more than people do, collectively, if you add them all up. So what? Should ants practice birth control? Or maybe we should eat them?

#105 saskatoon on 10.13.14 at 10:48 pm

#86 Cato the Elder

wow. nice comment.

thanks, too, for the great video link (tiny homes).

#106 SWL1976 on 10.13.14 at 10:57 pm

Great post Garth,

I have spent a good portion of my life concerned with our natural environment, and have always tried to comprehend and understand it all. My father would always burn garbage and still does to this day, but as a child I said to him ‘you shouldn’t burn that garbage for it gives off toxic smoke, and I would rather live on a pile of garbage than breath toxic fumes’ When I catch him still burning garbage to this day we both reminiss on my statement as a child. Also the fact he knows that its wrong yet still does it also is a testament to human habit and human nature.

As a child I always though it would be easy to get involved with politics and bring about great changes in the world and close to home. As I aged I guess I became slightly jaded and came to the realization that one can go in to politics with the best intentions, but by the time you get to any position of power you become the people you want to change, or you get the boot. The way I see it the system is so damaged right now one could have the best of intentions going in, but spend enough time with the wolves and you will become one.

Now, not too much bothers me, I still see the world for what it is but am able to laugh more, enjoy my time here, and not sweat things like I used to

I used to always think the system is so broken why don’t they fix it? But then I realized the system works perfect for the ones who control it, so why would the fix it, it works perfect.

Thanks Garth for this site, so glad I stumbled on to it sometime ago while trying to figure out just how long this housing bubble could go

#107 whitey on 10.13.14 at 11:02 pm

The over population business is pure mythology, as anyone who has traveled through the vast expanses of unoccupied lands would already know. Any Canadian who has uttered such silliness should give their head a shake or take a drive across this country of ours.

The entire population of the world could fit into Texas with the same density as NY city:

http://www.simplyshrug.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63:the-overpopulation-myth&catid=31:general&Itemid=50%29

#108 Nemesis on 10.13.14 at 11:10 pm

#OneLastTime?… #ItEndsWell.

http://youtu.be/pdj6LH-hvsQ

#109 wallflower on 10.13.14 at 11:10 pm

In my opinion, an absolute max human population for this planet is 3B. Max. Probably healthy at 1.5B. Humans are obliterators. We have demonstrated this continuously.

#14 james on 10.13.14 at 6:29 pm – coastal regions the world over are devastated and the ocean is very sick (human obliteration) – in my opinion, it is the ocean that will be ground zero for the ecological tsunami that hits us – and we will claim the ocean wiped us out; not; we obliterate and so the despoiled ocean no longer sustains… it is a simple ecological imperative.

Japan is ground zero for the economic tsunami headed our way – ironic, given they are doing the best job of depopulating of all nations today.
And, therein lies the conundrum.
So, as long as we lead and structure society on economic value paradigms, we have this condundrum.

Just look at our Canadian Thanksgiving. We’ve got it backward. This is a day we should NOT eat; truly take the time to appreciate the source and means of food and its production. Conundrums everywhere built on economic paradigm models.

#110 Entrepreneur on 10.13.14 at 11:14 pm

“Sometimes I just wonder what happened.” in the article above. #1 Cato the Elder “result of a robust private sector. Capitalism in North America was still allowed to flourish…through goods and service.”

A hundred years ago the middle class bought goods and services from people in your community. The people controlled the world around them through this transaction. Once this is taken away then you have what we have today. No more (silent) say from the people by using the goods and services method.

Earth will correct and the animals will come back. As for mankind, we are all equal.

#111 Nemesis on 10.13.14 at 11:14 pm

#iOS8.0.2Erratum. #CorrectLink:

http://youtu.be/JGh7zp_gBy8

#112 Waterloo Resident on 10.13.14 at 11:18 pm

Remember back in the Summer I told everyone that this Ebola stuff was going to be the thing that ended the world as we know it. WELL…… guess what’s happening ???

#113 Aaron - Melbourne on 10.13.14 at 11:20 pm

Garth, I just had to share this story from Melbourne Australia showing the lengths that some will go to in this bizarre day and age.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/10/14/08/13/family-sells-house-after-throwing-cat-into-the-deal

Why is anyone shocked that $$$ comes before morals when dealing with Real Estate Agents, greedy vendors and ridiculous demands from manipulative buyers.

#114 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 11:21 pm

Re: #93 TakingResponsibility

You’re right – things will never be perfect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move in the direction of more freedom and more capitalism with each passing day.

I’m not a typical Canadian. I don’t like that ‘oh well, that’s just the way things are gee golly’ type. IMPROVE. QUIT ACCEPTING WHAT WE HAVE. DEMAND BETTER. We know what works and we don’t need to apologize for it.

*******

Re: #96 wallflower

Collectivism doesn’t work. It’s been well proven not to work. The only times it is MODERATELY successful is in a TIGHT KNIT small community. The reason? Social pressures (such as wanting to be liked) by your peers ensure compliance. That is the type of system native americans had. That is why it was moderately successful. However, any objective look at the way the native reservations are run today will demonstrate it’s flaws. Decrepit, lack of progress, and falling apart is how I would describe them. An influential native Canadian leader has been pushing for ‘private property’ rights on the reserves as the way to fix things – I forget his name though. He is absolutely correct.

Doubt what I’m saying is true? Think about any small communities you’ve lived with – such as with your family. It’s hard enough getting people to cooperate with communal property such as ‘cleaning the bathroom’ or ‘changing the milk bag’ – imagine what it’s like amongst thousands, and you see the extent of the problem.

***********

Re: #97 AB Boxster

You are COMPLETELY wrong and are spouting the type of nonsense socialist have been talking about for ages.

There is NOTHING moral about STEALING from people to redistribute it – even if you have the BEST intentions, it’s still g-ddamn stealing.

Entrepreneurs ARE charitable – they provide JOBS and people get to SURVIVE off the wages they earn at those jobs. How many jobs has the government created? NONE. The government has to steal through TAXES from the profits of PRODUCTIVE businesses in order to fund their programs. They have NEVER gone out into the marketplace and built something from scratch. The reason? Most of them don’t have the courage OR personalities to go through the hardships of it – it isn’t a vacation.

Most business owners LOSE MONEY. The FEW that you see around you are the ones that SURVIVED. They survived because their customers felt they were providing enough value to warrant a purchase of their service or good. That’s IT.

Capitalism is the most moral system ever devised by man. Even if a capitalist was the sociopathic variety you describe, he couldn’t get rich without providing a good or service valued by his fellow man. He can only get rich by HELPING others.

Fraud and theft are NOT allowed in a capitalist system governed by an impartial mediator. Unfortunately, our government has transformed from impartial mediator into a player on the field, bullying the little guys and helping the big guys. Any distortions that have occurred over the last few decades have happened WITH COMPLETE GOVERNMENT COMPLICITY. This is not free markets. Free markets wipe out scammers very quickly and reward honest, hard working people that build up good reputations.

Marx did NOTHING for people. He promoted an ideology that ultimately requires government coercive VIOLENT force to implement. Working hard, building a product for yourself? Share it or ELSE we will use violence to compel you. You’re too idealistic. Read some history. They always end up the same. You’re not EVER going to elect some magical man who is immune to the abuse of power that the system requires. How is that moral? Is that the system you envision?

I am appalled at the lack of worldly understanding you have. Over 100 million people were killed by their own governments in the 20th century alone by coercive governments – and I’m sure they had ‘good intentions’. And by the way, that’s in MODERN DAY DEMOCRACIES: Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, etc. and it doesn’t include WAR dead – just those that were killed for resisting their central planners desires.

The truth is, you don’t like capitalism because you can’t take it. You can’t compete with the likes of men like Garth who ventured out there and built something that enriches the lives of customers AND employees. It comes down to what it always has – the great inhibitor of human progress – jealousy.

#115 OttawaMike on 10.13.14 at 11:27 pm

Most of the world’s problems can be tangentially traced back to the fact that there are just too many people trying to exist on limited resources.

Bring on the Ebola(but spare me of course)

#116 watcher on 10.13.14 at 11:29 pm

Humans are travelling with increasing speed on the road of self extinction. There will be no meaningful progress. Too much damage to the environment has been done already. There are no holding policies or working mechanisms to stop it. So we’re crossing the point of no return right now. Past that point it will be quick. It will not take decades. Middle age generation will witness that tragedy. And I’m not a ‘doomer’. Just a ‘watcher’ and I always see the ‘big picture’ There is too few people like me. I wish I could be ‘blind’ like almost everybody else. It’s sad. We can’t stop it.

#117 Ronaldo on 10.13.14 at 11:31 pm

(Number of documented cougar attacks in the last 100 years: 27.)

I was attacked by a cougar one evening in a nightclub in Kelowna a few years back. It was never documented.

#118 Waterloo Resident on 10.13.14 at 11:32 pm

Check this link to see how quickly the Ebola virus is spreding:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140925-mapping-the-spread-of-ebola/

August 1 = 1,500 people infected
September 1 = 3,000 people infected
November 1 = 6,000 people infected

It seems to be doubling every month.
At that rate some time around July 1 2016 everyone on Earth will be infected, all 7 Billion.

#119 Shawn G in TO on 10.13.14 at 11:37 pm

unlike others, I come here to carp about the misinformation spewed by the mainstream media. well, ok, I’m not the only one.

technology is progressing. we have the technology to zap cataracts, but it doesn’t mean everyone is getting a zapped. not so with entitlements.

according to Bank of Canada’s website, inflation from 1950 to today is almost exactly 10x. How many teenagers would buy a $80 disposable gadget every couple of years back then? in comparison, iphone 6 starts at $750. many would pay more to get the higher model, or even more for a iphone 6+. and take that with a $40+ monthly plan.

today, entitlement in first world countries is sky high. technology can progress, but entitlements cannot grow as fast as before.

#120 M on 10.13.14 at 11:42 pm

Brad Lambs, Bob Rennies and the conventional thinking/entitled expectations/leaving beyond their means of the “vulgus” are the dynamite. ISIS, ebola, Harper’s dihareea… are triggers.

To go kaboom we must have dynamite AND triggers at the same time, any one of them missing we’re sort of safe. Now..stand back and look: what’s easier to keep in check: transient triggers or generational layouts of dynamite ?

Does the “middle class” look anything like being conservative ? Or having common sense (anymore) ?

One thing a collapse would do, would trigger a re-evaluation of our values: individually and collectively. Re-evaluations are always good. What’s bad is it needs a catastrophic event to make this happen.

Recessions and depressions are the correcting mechanism of miss allocations. What is to be feared the most is a complete lack of understanding of this simple fact.

Failure to prepare is preparing for failure. Cauchy distributions vs power laws risk.

“Be positive”…how’s that for linear thinking ?

#121 dave c on 10.13.14 at 11:48 pm

Had dinner with some people and one person was a RE agent. She was trying to convince the table that everyone should own a vacation property (this is in the lower mainland). I piped up and said why not just rent something for the few weeks that it will be used.

She said that I had a “renters mentality”. Which is funny because I own my home outright in Langley that I bought in the early 90’s. She doesn’t know that.

I then asked her if she thought that real estate prices would keep going up and she said “of course”. I asked her about the US where they had a crash. She said it won’t happen in Canada because the government will protect us and then said “end of conversation”. I let it drop and smiled inside.

She’s been an agent for over 20 years and has clearly drank the kool aid.

#122 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 11:48 pm

Re: #109 Wallflower

If people appreciated the real story of thanksgiving, we would all be better off:

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/real-story-thanksgiving

For those that don’t have time to read, it’s the true story of Plymouth Plantation. The first few years the settlers pooled their harvests and took from it throughout the winter. Unfortunately, collectivism doesn’t work and many chose not to work as hard as others, and to take more than their fair share. Many starved and died. Each year harvests declined as those productive peoples refused to work as hard knowing that they would not be rewarded. Eventually after many failed attempts, the governor decided to divy up the plots of land for each settler to use as they saw fit. Record harvests followed as each new landowner could rest assured their hard work would not be wasted. Thus, human nature was first melded with economic policy and the basis of property rights as a provider of human wealth was born. The American spirit of free enterprise and private property rights grew out of this to give rise to a never before seen middle class.

Yes, we really should be learning the real meaning behind it because it is DAMN compelling.

#123 The turkey was delicious on 10.13.14 at 11:48 pm

“These aren’t doomer questions. Sometimes I just wonder what happened.”

Can I give my honest opinion without being scolded by one of your patented repartees?

Remember what you wrote in a comment yesterday, Garth? Something like “noone but you is responsible for not being able to afford what you want to buy”. This attitude is what brought us here. The attitude that ever man is an island. That if you’re poor you “deserve it” and if you’re rich you also “deserve it”. That if you have money it means you must have earned it, you owe society nothing, and you can feel free to consume everything you “deserve”. To devour anything that can have a pricetag put on it.

In a world where nearly everyone would be solidly middle class, resources wouldn’t get consumed like this. Middle class people don’t eat shark, own yachts and airplanes, and they don’t make decisions to dump toxic factory juice into the lake. If everyone had stable income and free time to be active citizens, politics would be more inclusive and action would be taken when a majority of people are worried about a problem, whether it’s pollution or animal endangerment, or the ozone layer being stripped away.

http://31.media.tumblr.com/f02c52724ddfcccfed6ef3df812f4830/tumblr_nct5hmkjgR1r3p7hso1_1280.jpg

It was only through the rise of unions, as well as the western world’s “new deal” in the wake of WW2 that we accidentally created the now much beloved middle class. This is what turned capitalism from robber barron exploitation into the most humane and prosperous system for organizing an economy ever devised. This is what brought us from the horse drawn wagons of your father to putting a man on the moon. The hard work of the middle class, a majority of society becoming creative and productive in a frenzy of excitement that their effort will allow them to take home a good wage. A belief that no longer is universal. Ask around. The belief that an engineer can be born poor, but go to school anyway, and then have stable work at NASA, or at GM, or anywhere really, and have a home and a car or two and a wife that can stay home and raise a coupe of kids if she wants to. Without needing to research changing market conditions constantly, being scolded for not going to Alberta to weld, or being asked to “market” himself if he wants a job. Not a career, a job.

Resource abuse is a symptom of greatly unequal wealth. Which would not be possible if the middle class wasn’t being assassinated in broad daylight, directing money away from large numbers of people leading reasonable lives to a (relatively) small number of people leading extravagant lives that care nothing for the effects caused.

You live in Ontario, right Garth? Surely you’ve heard the moaning over our province’s investment in solar, wind and hydro power generation. About how it “wastes tax money” and it “costs too much per kw/h”, making factories too expensive. But what about the air we breathe? This is a question the middle class asks, but the rich not so much. Because the rich own the factories and they want them to run cheap, the air and the water be damned.

Ever since the 1970s, greed was allowed to take over, with the government no longer accepting the idea that it’s their job to act as the referee, no longer willing to ensure that individual corporations don’t commit a tragedy of the commons. For every company that underpays or under-employs its workers, outsources jobs, provides them with precarious employment, or abuses programs like TFW, the pool of middle class spending money that keeps our economy humming is diminished. Until now increasing levels of debt made up for this lack of income. But for how much longer?

We’ve seen productivity increases of over 300% since the early 1970s, but what is the labour market like now? Adjusted for CPI, one specific measure of inflation, min wage is at around the same level as back then. Adjusted for gdp/capita? Closer to 18/19 dollars an hour. If we had a min wage of 19/hour, imagine how that would increase GDP due to increased spending. If we pegged min wage to gdp/capita, it would probably stabilize at well over 20 dollars an hour for the MINIMUM wage. That’s what it would be if the fruits of our economy were split in the same proportion as it was back then between owners and workers.

Instead we live in a country where the median wage is less than 20 an hour. Where we have stats canada turning hundreds of thousands of job losses into gains by changing methodology and redefining what self-employed means. Where we solve poverty by redefining terms.

So why are animals dying, forests disappearing, water being poisoned, and why do you need a HEPA-certified mask to breathe in Shanghai? Because we allowed ourselves to believe that markets are self-regulating. That socialism is the same as communism, and interfering in the market is always bad. That a person’s right to own property means that a corporation has that right too, and who is the government to tell them what they can and can’t do.

A fierce propaganda machine tries to convince us that while socialized medicine may or may not be great, any other form of socialism is bad, whether we’re talking about mandatory public pensions or employment insurance. That people who make mistakes should not be bailed out by society. That a brutal meritocracy is what we should base policy on, despite clear evidence that economic mobility is at unprecedented lows. That we can’t expand the Canada Pension Plan on “philosophical grounds”, even as our elders are about to be dehumanized by lack of money worse than Russian babushkas ever were.

Nearly every policy that your former political friends have pursued is based on the view of every person is a tower of power who is an island onto himself. The idea that everyone has perfect self-discipline, that perfect information symmetry pervades our society, and that everything is always purely meritocratic. Where an egg that got fertilized 24 hours ago has a right to life, but once he becomes an adult he can starve in the streets, his fault he can’t find a job. That an injured vet that can’t use his legs anymore gets a $50,000 one time payment (true story), because paying him a pension would cause too much tax burden. We live in a country with no inheritance or gift taxes, regardless of amount. We, right now, are creating a trans-generational de facto landed gentry that would make pre-magna carta England blush. And history will judge us. Is it a wonder this gentry consumes so voraciously? Why wouldn’t they? What else are they going to do with so much money that has accumulated in so few hands?

A million dollars can create enough passive income if invested reasonably well to sustain an income of ~40k indefinitely, including inflation adjustments. Median wage in Canada is around 40k/yr gross. If a person was gifted a million dollar trust fund, one would never have to work ever and could indefinitely live even better than more than half of all working Canadians (due to favorable taxation on investments). Think about that for a moment. Canadian corporations have over 600 billion sitting idle in checking accounts, and they cry that increasing EI contributions would make them unable to hire, that they need a tax break to afford employees. Mark Carney called this dead money. And you wonder why? Why our youth is disillusioned and angry, why water is polluted, why animals are dying, why the most disenfranchised humans reproduce uncontrollably, while our own youth repeatedly fails to launch and puts off buying a house and having a kid, maybe even indefinitely? You ever wonder, Garth, where the youth’s nearly-sexual attraction to condos comes from? It comes from being faced with a harsh economic reality and wanting to deny that reality. Wanting to show themselves, and everyone around them, look mom, I bought a condo, I have a job, things are good, my gut feeling is wrong. Everything is fine, I made up for low income with low interest loans. It’s gonna be ok. Look, I’m starting a family. Don’t worry, the condo will appreciate in value. Everything will work out.

All this global resource and economic drama is because some asshole entertains himself with a yacht that burns 500 gallons of gas per hour, while crying that his taxes are too high, and those bloody welfare queens are cramping his style. Of course, it takes a crew of 60 full time workers to keep someone like that entertained, to keep the boat running and serve shrimp and margaritas.

We’re being told that government has to tighten its belt and welfare is for losers, meanwhile someone inherits a billion dollars and pays no taxes on it. Because while a significant and increasing portion of our fellow Canadians go to food banks (look it up Garth, see how many had Thanksgiving dinner due to charity today), some asshole is eating shark fin soup, wearing an exotic fur coat, or buying his trophy wife 400 dollar perfume made of endangered whale blubber. Because the religion of money has taken over, and most of us now live only in the dream of being like the rich, consuming as many high end goods and services as possible, in as conspicuous a way as possible. How can we criticize them when we dream of being just like them?

We’ve convinced ourselves that we have no responsibility for each other. That once we “make it”, it’s all an individual achievement, and noone has a right to tell us what to do. That everyone enters into contracts (such as employment) with no duress whatsoever, so who needs the creation and enforcement of strict labour laws. That the just world fallacy doesn’t exist, and if someone has fallen on hard times it must be his or her fault, and society needs to reject them. Because protecting the excessive wealth of fewer Canadians than can fit in an airplane is more important than paying the other 35 million a fair wage.

Garth, I came to Canada as a young lad from a third world nation. I remember as a little kid seeing this dude exit his condo to head to his imported BMW, and pass a few inches away from a scraggly looking person who was looking for breakfast in a large garbage can. And not even flinch. Not even turn his head even a little. He was wearing a suit and tie, and walked right past that woman, and even the smell didn’t seem to bother him. It was routine to ignore it, extreme inequality had become just the way things had to be. Then, when I arrived in Canada, I saw a different world. A long time has passed and I am now grown up and Canadian down to every last bone in my body. And it makes me want to cry seeing that while in theory our country is more prosperous than ever, more and more of us are getting left behind. And some people don’t care. Not even to turn their head. Because it’s not their problem. If you’re poor you deserve it. Just like the rich deserve to eat endangered species, go on lion hunting safaris, or burn hundreds of gallons of dino juice every hour to keep themselves entertained. It’s their money, they earned it. What, you want to complain? You’re not jealous, are you?

I too worry about the future. I think we can turn things around and start another economic golden age, but I know the government now believes they are not in the business of intervening in anything. And that’s what it would take, we can’t rely on corporations or charities to do something. We need some form of guaranteed minimum income. Maybe a much more progressive tax system. Something like a 25 dollar minimum wage (admit it, you laughed when you read that, right? you think it’s impossible). Something that probably won’t happen until people really start to flip their shit. And let’s face it, we’re too polite for that. We’ll sit there and grind our teeth, and we’ll stay civil because if we complain, that’s rude.

P.S. wow, just realized I’ve been writing for over an hour. This is really long by now, and I have a good temptation to just delete it all. I guess this post touched me somewhere, because normally I don’t have this much attention span for something that doesn’t pay. Well, at least I got a whole lot off my chest. Feel free to delete the comment if you want, Garth. You’ve said your piece, I’ve said mine. I don’t have a blog, so I dumped this wall of text here. I couldn’t help it once I read your muse today. Sorry.

#124 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.13.14 at 11:49 pm

#87 Cato the Elder

Gold should only be worn, not as a currency. Oil maybe, it has value in so many ways, but a bitch to cart around, that;’s why we use paper. Fresh water might be the next currency. Ever wonder why they call it ‘currency’ because it is always moving.

Income Tax 1913 instituted to compensate for the lack of liquor and beer taxes when prohibition became law in 1915. Prohibition repealed in 1933. WHO had any money in 1933? the RICH. Hoover goosed up income taxes on the RICH, Roosevelt did as well. During the 1950’s the Top Marginal TAX rate on income in the US was 91% (lest we forget). Today less than HALF of that (no wonder you have more money flowing upwards. DUH!! Not to mention unearned income capital gains rates, carried interest.
I had a 6 figure income last year my real income tax rate 13% plus there was $19,000 income exempt from ANY INCOME TAXES. (You guys have the TFSA…this was the American version thank you!).

Zoning…. Ever been to Houston? I have. Hell hole describes it aptly. Refineries, then 6 blocks away a nice home, the smell (yuck). No land use, no zoning, Freeways that dead end onto 2 lane roads. Short on planning as well. Go there if you area impressed, well…

Not saying its a ‘perfect world’ it is NOT. Capitalism as defined by corporations tend to reduce everything to a commodity status. Everything, from people, to raw materials, to land, to factory locations to taxes. Reduction ad absurdium (Sorry if that’s not quite right). They tend to hold few if any ethics, profit is the only motive.

I want my civilization top hold dear much more than profit. I need it to hold public lands dear, water dear, music, art, education, food, wildlife. Society itself (us = worthwhile).
Profit is important, but honor is MORE important, Integrity more important still, and love the most important.

Cato, start with your neighbor, then yourself.

#125 Cici on 10.14.14 at 12:03 am

This post was sobering: should have read it yesterday; it would have sorted out all of that Thanksgiving festivity confusion, and I would have known what day it was ;-)

Thanks for every point you brought up tonight Garth. We are not taking care of this planet or our fellow inhabitants (animal and human). Instead of fixing minor issues, we prefer to spend money like thieves in a quest to prove to our neighbours how much better we are than them.

At some point something’s got to give. I hope the bitter millenials figure out a solution before it’s too late. I think they may be our last hope. If we could just get them to stop buying condos and/or having wet dreams about buying condos, we’d probably be able to tap their brilllance and build a better, more equitable and safer world.

Either I’m right, or that hangover is still lingering and it’s all just wishful thinking.,

#126 Goldie on 10.14.14 at 12:08 am

Lol, now we have “extinction deniers” to add to our list of various types of deniers. Is there any depth to which some won’t sink in order to perpetuate and justify our world-damaging lifestyles?

#127 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.14.14 at 12:12 am

# 114 Cato The Elder

You are really blowing your creditability today sir. Usually, your posts are interesting if not always enlightening….

You assert Government has NEVER gone into the marketplace and built something from scratch.

Pure unadulterated BS!!!

Let me take you back to depression days. Rural Electrification. Without that most of the rural US (farmers) would still be listening to radio on their battery operated Zeniths. TVA Tennessee Valley Authority, both flood control AND electric power.

Interstate AND Defense Highway system. 1956 Brought the struggling trucking industry into the modern times.
Look at the developmental progress made from GOVT
aerospace, air travel, the list is almost boundless. Advances in health care.

YES it costs tax dollars. That’s WHY we are assessed.

Would IBM have been as far advanced without the government paid research thru Bell (telephone) Labs in 1940’s invention of the transistor?

Cato, I don’t know how old you are, or if you are an immigrant to Canada,v 2nd or 3rd generation Canadian or an American. Actually, it doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is your myopic view and narrow scope of history.

Know more of what you speak, before making a silly ass comment that shoots your credibility. It’s more fun when your comments are mostly correct.

#128 IVoteIndependent on 10.14.14 at 12:12 am

I quite liked this blog without the Malthusian nonsense. The idea of a planetary population limit, though simplistically seductive, has been shown time and again to be completely wrong.

Besides, the population growth rate in Europe is already negative, and here the population is only increasing because of immigration, not reproduction.

Malthus himself was actually impressed that humans had not already wiped themselves out in his day, and his conclusion was that other forces (especially economics) must be at work and should be studied.

#129 angela on 10.14.14 at 12:23 am

Not doomer questions? While reading it I thought, “Can’t this guy ever write about anything cheerful.” If it’s not real estate and the stock market and hipsters and boomers and wrinklies and condos and Bob Rennie you have to start going on about species extinction and population explosion? WTH? I challenge you to look on the bright side for once. I’m beginning to think this blog only exists to fuel the schadenfruede of the penniless millenials and depressed individuals that can’t bear to be happy and carefree.

#130 John on 10.14.14 at 12:49 am

I am beginning to understand that all the progress and crawling out of the depression was the result of cheap oil

#131 AB Boxster on 10.14.14 at 1:07 am

#114 CTE

Wow, you write so much but say so little.
Your lack of understanding of Marx is outstanding.
And to attribute any sense of morality to any economic system is bizarre.
Capitalism is neither moral or amoral.
Socialism is neither moral or amoral.
Systems do not have morality. People do.

You do know that for the hundreds of thousands of years of human life that the only way mankind actually survived was through collectivism right?
Mankind would not even be here today to without the collective nature of man to survive. But don’t let millions of years of human evolution get in the way of your logic.

#132 icebloc on 10.14.14 at 1:12 am

Interesting story about the ice block. For some, it still remains a way of life:

The Last Ice Merchant
http://vimeo.com/66507747

#133 len on 10.14.14 at 1:37 am

What happened? You were among the politicians who sold Canadians the neo-liberal globalization ideology. Transnationals rule and even imperial Harper and Obama have precious little influence on the future of their countries. Now we must hope that the casino crumbs fall under the well diversified table. Job well done to you and your fellow ideologues!

And the opposite to an integrated global economy with established protocols is, what? Tariff barriers, trade wars, nation-state tribalism and the kind of isolationism that helped birth two world wars? No thanks. — Garth

#134 Exurban on 10.14.14 at 1:43 am

#84 I’m stupid

It’s like Al Gore driving a V8 around preaching about climate change.

There is no way to break this to you gently. Al Gore DOES drive a V8-powered SUV around preaching about climate change. He also constantly flies on jets to far-flung destinations around the world, lives in large mansions, uses a Macintosh with three large monitors hooked up to it, yadda. So do most of the other green crusaders. As Instapundit puts it, I might begin taking this stuff seriously when they do the same.

#135 RobH on 10.14.14 at 1:53 am

A motto for the good ol Boomer times “après nous la deluge”. Praying to Ayn Rand has been a tragically poor substitute for the concerted world wide action needed to respond to the looming crisis. Massive world wide environmental degradation, deforestation, all the major fisheries collapses in the past 100 years, the Mexi-Cali drought (and on it goes) just cannot be ignored or wished away. Our species acts less like custodians and more like locusts with each passing decade. For the corporate apologists on this blog I’ll see your Rand and raise you Malthus and Hobbes. We’re dancing on borrowed time and the piper will be paid. I suppose we should all just sit around and wait for Elon Musk to invent the Greenhouse-Omatic.

#136 Rural Rick on 10.14.14 at 1:57 am

George is not worried about the planet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNxNgfVzAvo

#137 MJ on 10.14.14 at 2:09 am

Wowwww, Garth! You blew me away. What a brilliantly written post and what a worthwhile topic! Thanks!

#138 AB Boxster on 10.14.14 at 2:14 am

#114 CTE
Sorry but what does 100 million dead have to do with capitalism?
We all get that governments do some pretty stupid things(often at the enrichment of their wonderfully moral capitalist friends) but how this relates to free markets eludes us all.

And actually the great inhibitor to human progress is not jealousy.
Jealousy is a stupid human emotion that has nothing to do with progress or lack of it.

Progress is inhibited by narrow minded perspective, unwillingness to listen and change, and dogmatic belief in the face of all contradictory evidence.

Oh, and recent societal progress was certainly inhibited by he greed, fraud and lies from some of our greatest capitalists . You know, the ones which almost crashed the global economy and which were bailed out by government money. Yes, I know, it’s OK because they were trying to be helpful.

#139 80scalled on 10.14.14 at 2:27 am

DELETED

#140 BigM14 on 10.14.14 at 3:52 am

@ #1 Cato

Nice movie suggestion, funny and sad at the same time.

When I was a kid, my father (an engineer) did the foundations for a Kent home to have a finished basement.
All the measurements, got a contractor for the pour and the walls, and presto.. downstairs living.

I somehow doubt that could be done these days.

#141 hmmm on 10.14.14 at 5:28 am

“When half of Canadians can’t survive one missed paycheque”

This comes from a bank survey, it’s wrong. The sample used was old people and they thought it was linked to monthly payment. My folks were on the list of people asked.

They said they “need monthly to survive”, but they don’t. They said that because they believed it was way for the government to lower or cut the pension payments

Canada has a + savings rate, so many people have money for rainy days.

I wouldn’t harp on this point to much for housing or society in general.

#142 Londoner on 10.14.14 at 5:40 am

For all you guys looking at CPI, the good news is that falling commodity prices means lower energy and food prices. If you follow that school of thought then inflation will remain below target for longer then expected. The real reason, of course, is subdued wage growth and productivity.

#143 PJ on 10.14.14 at 6:29 am

Heartfelt and I completely agree. I really liked this piece Garth.

#144 Franco on 10.14.14 at 6:33 am

Like your incorrect predictions on RE, you are also making blanket statements on making predictions on a future based on past performances and in the world of investing you should know that. I am at about the same age as you and have learned that things change, before in Canada and the rest of the western world, many families had 10 – 15 kids, now many do not have children and the ones that do only have a few. I am assuming that like me, you also have no children, so we did our part. Now if the rest of the developing world becomes more affluent and educated, I truly believe that humanity will overcome the most pressing problems that the human race is facing.

AS the old song says, Che sera, sera.

#145 nobody on 10.14.14 at 6:48 am

#117 Ronaldo on 10.13.14 at 11:31 pm
(Number of documented cougar attacks in the last 100 years: 27.)

I was attacked by a cougar one evening in a nightclub in Kelowna a few years back. It was never documented.
_______________________________

Damn, there goes the coffee. You owe me a computer screen, buddy. LMAO

#146 yorel on 10.14.14 at 7:25 am

Yeah, times change. Who knew?

#147 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 10.14.14 at 7:26 am

EXACTLY! And do you really think “money” is going to save anyone. They who rest on their pathetic fat assed laurels thinking they are “secure” because they’ve got an equally fat assed bank account or stock portfolio are sadly mistaken. That fat monetary savings makes them more a target. Not only have they missed the truly important aspect of life they have lost the essential life survival skills that may someday come home to roost.

We live in Disneyland. There are a lot of others on this planet who would love to live the bountiful lives we live in relative peace. When it comes down to it, given the opportunity to compete for their fair share, they will not back down from fighting for what they consider their fair share. Think about it… does the U.S. of A. not have an army for just such purpose… not just to defend their boarders but that which they believe is their just due within others.

It’s a jungle out there. You need to have the skillset necessary to compete in order to survive – that doesn’t mean just the financial wherewithal to be able to buy things and build fences. It means having the skills necessary to survive – be it the ability to eke out a living today or the ability to hunt, gather and defend in a less civilized environment you unexpectedly find yourself in. We have become a complacent lot of pathetic fat asses. Be it Ebola, ISIS or a financial crisis you need to be prepared for anything because you just don’t know what it’s going to be that’ll try to get you.

Balance in ones live just as balance in nature is sought at all times. If you don’t have balance you put yourself at risk. Equilibrium is sought ALWAYS. That is why SHIFT happens… because true equilibrium is never attained and nature is ALWAYS trying to achieve it just like markets are NEVER balanced but for a fleeting moment as they SHIFT back and forth through equilibrium.

We are not unlike a virus on the face of this planet. As Ebola may be to the human race the human race is to Planet Earth.

Rats in a cage.

It is intellectually dishonest to speak of environmentalism without discussing population control.

One thing seems to be certain; in most every SHIFTS there is a hockey stick end as we invariably overshoot resulting in such excess that a dramatic and uncomfortable take back ensues.

What an AWESOME life and planet we have. Step back and take stock of what you have that really matters.

#148 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 10.14.14 at 7:34 am

#139 BigM14 on 10.14.14 at 3:52 am

@ #1 Cato

Nice movie suggestion, funny and sad at the same time.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2073086/

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘ bout! };-)

#149 Gord Morrow on 10.14.14 at 7:36 am

Great commentary Garth. Not only does this speak to the speed of change over the past 100 years but also to our never ending need for more.

Growth in the past for the most part required real money, not the creation of huge debt. As the G20 continue to meet and discuss how they can stimulate growth. Despite near zero interest rates, even more stimulus is still the call by some countries.

Economic growth is really about wealth. One can not can create true wealth with constant debt. At some point that money needs to be repaid. If most of our money (including governments) is going toward paying interest payment, no new wealth can be created.

It now time for everyone (including governments) to get their financial house in order. Pay off debt and start to save and invest to create true growth and wealth.

Lets start to think about quality of life not quantity. More is not better but ENOUGH is. Perhaps that shift will also save some of our animals

#150 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 10.14.14 at 7:52 am

#1 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 6:01 pm

Here’s a great movie based on a true CANADIAN story that demonstrates first hand what has happened over the past few decades from the perspective of someone your fathers age. “When did we become a country full of bureaucrats?” – it’s the story of a man who wants to build his wife a new house for her to die peacefully in:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2073086/

Based on the trailer that looks GREAT movie recommendation and I’d love to see it. Something I read suggested it was on Netflix yet I couldn’t find it. Not surprising that, even though a largely Canadian film about a true Canadian story it wouldn’t be allowed to be shown on Canadian Netflix IPs probably due to the bureaucracy of the CRTC. Would that be ironic given the premise of the film?

#151 dienekes on 10.14.14 at 8:01 am

Wasn’t it a demonstrated fact that population declines were going to start happening around 2040-2050?

#152 pbrasseur on 10.14.14 at 8:12 am

«I will repeat my oft-given advice. Do not buy individual stocks unless you have a seven-figure account. — Garth»

But more importantly don’t take investement advices from pundits (such as Doug Kass) who make a living by drawing attention to themselves.

#153 bigrider on 10.14.14 at 8:12 am

#133 bigrider on 10.13.14 at 4:14 pm
Oh well, bye bye balanced portfolio returns for the year.

Funny how it takes all year to make what it takes 10 to 15 trading days lose. Been like that since that start of the secular bear market for stocks some 14 years ago.
You can lose a lot more money and a lot faster than you can make.

Lets just hope that the current ominous decline does not accelerate into a full blown crash. Getting really ugly

You don’t lose if (a) you had rebalanced as I suggested and (b) you don’t sell into a falling market. — Garth

It may be true that if you had re balanced you would have preserved some of your gains this year, although I find it hard to believe such ,since everything has been hit quite severely and you would be re balancing into another declining asset ,but I wont challenge you on that.

You however don’t seem to deny that the stock market declines ,since the start of the secular bear market some 14 years ago, occur much faster, go deeper and with greater severity and depth than any of the gradual, slow, stubborn lengthier gains that same markets make.

The TSX is down approx. 9.13% since Sept. 3rd , approx. one month. I doubt you nor I will live to see a time when that same index adds 9.13% in such a short period of time, ever.

The TSX gained 27% in twelve months before giving back 9%. Get a grip. Meanwhile bond prices have jumped, making a balanced portfolio a comforting thing to own. — Garth

#154 TurnerNation on 10.14.14 at 8:21 am

Remember in the 1990s there existed a trend towards “reduced packaging?” Some products even trumped this ethos.

Fast fwd…where are the “enviro-lefties” and handwringers now?

How it worked out:

– Bottled water. Plastic bottle waste taking over this Earth. This should be banned. The worst product. Ever.

– Keurig K-Cups for coffee: one-time disposable plastic single serve cups. Green Mountain bought this co., now in every store.

– 1/2 sized Coke cans (I don’t drink pop anyway). Wasteful sugar water packaging.

– How many millions of Sbux or Timmy’s cups end up in landfills daily? No politician or municipality will stand up to them. Cups may be recyclable but who has those facilities.

Cue dissonance and “earth hour” chants.

#155 Kevin on 10.14.14 at 8:22 am

In my father’s lifetime, we went from a stagecoach to a lunar landing and email. […] In other words, might we be at the apex, or already starting to descend the other side

I think we clearly ARE going backwards. Yes, we’ve put men on the moon, but not in my lifetime, and I’m 39. We had space shuttles there for a little while, now they’re collecting dust in museums. T’was a time when one could raise a family, with a wife and 2-3 kids, on a blue collar income, with enough left over for the occasional vacation and a little retirement savings to augment the defined-benefit pension.

I can only think of 2 significant inventions in my lifetime: the Internet and cell phones. Airplanes haven’t gotten any faster (slower, actually, with the retiring of the Concorde). My parents only saw 3 wars (although admittedly, one of them was a doozy). My generation sees a new war start up every couple of years. Gulf Wars 1 & 2, Afghanistan, Crimea, Syria, Libya… who will it be next week? The beautiful natural wonders of the world have become polluted and overrun with tourists more obsessed with taking a selfie than in really immersing themselves in the rich history of what they’re seeing. We’ve got our heads buried in our phones instead of conversation. Terrorism, disease, famine, recession… the world is crushing itself with this incessant, relentless compulsion to multiply ourselves. There are many reasons why my wife and I chose not to have kids. We have it harder than our parents did, and I think kids being born today have virtually no hope at all.

#156 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 10.14.14 at 8:23 am

Culture in Decline

#157 Victor V on 10.14.14 at 8:25 am

‘Flippers’ and bubble fears: Toronto scares off big U.S. home builder

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/the-real-estate-beat/too-many-flippers-scared-big-us-home-builder-away-from-toronto/article21085209/

The CEO of a U.S. luxury home builder says his company considered expanding into Toronto’s condo market but was scared off by the high number of investors buying real estate in the city.

Toll Brothers Inc., which designs, builds and finances homes in 19 states, “snooped around” in the city about three years ago, but was concerned that 60 to 70 per cent of condo buyers didn’t plan to live in their homes, said CEO Douglas Yearley.

“We’re always looking for new places to grow, but the level of investment, and not just foreign investment, is what concerned us,” Mr. Yearley said following an appearance at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in New York on Friday.

“We saw a lot of people buying with no intention of living there – they just planned to flip,” Mr. Yearley said. “When you have a lot of flippers, that’s when a bubble comes.”

#158 Harbour on 10.14.14 at 8:32 am

Retired sister and brother-inlaw down sized from a house to a condo 3 months ago. They hated it and bought a house again.

Bought and sold the condo FSBO through Comfree

#159 Apocalypse2014 on 10.14.14 at 8:32 am

This is very scary news. Fits with the theme of questioning our progress.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/we-will-pay-for-antibiotic-abuse/article21055715/

(Plus they are telling us on CBC radio to expect a much more wicked flu season this year. How much antibiotic overprescription will that lead to?)

#160 Detalumis on 10.14.14 at 8:40 am

#123 actually wrote a better column than you did. The only think incorrect is that the median earned income in this country hovers around 30K not 40K!!

I grew up in an inner city, working class, but there were stable family structures and hope. Fast forward to today and the life expectancy there is now 66.5 so third world. It’s a hotbed of baby mammas and men who flit from jail to flower and back again, selling some dope and doing petty crime on the side.

I think of it as removing all opportunities for the bottom 25% to participate in society and then hurling vitriol at them. Not everybody is intelligent enough to become an RN or an engineer, and there really aren’t enough jobs in those fields to sustain the entire country. Manufacturing used to offer a simpler line of work, much like a sheltered workshop, but it bought social stability so was worth something.

I just bought some new baking pans from USA Pan made in a small town in Pennsylvania, they cost about $5 more each but are ten times the quality and will last a lifetime, you could pass them down they are that good. Yeah we sold out 25% of the population for cheap baking pans and turned my old neighbourhood into a slum in the process.

#161 crowdedelevatorfartz on 10.14.14 at 9:07 am

@#112 Waterloo Resident
“Remember back in the Summer I told everyone that this Ebola stuff was going to be the thing that ended the world as we know it. WELL…… guess what’s happening ???”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hmmmmmmm, Nostradamus is alive and well in Waterloo?

Pray tell. Would you be so kind as to give me the winning Lotto max numbers for this Friday?

#162 gladiator on 10.14.14 at 9:12 am

Oops…
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/canada-condo-boom-rolls-buildings-fall-apart-051254182–sector.html

#163 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 10.14.14 at 9:18 am

These aren’t doomer questions. Sometimes I just wonder what happened.
_____________________________________________
I can tell you all what happened.
Shit happened, its just part of the evolution of life on this particular little blue planet.
So my philosophy is don’t worry about stuff you can’t control!
By the way though only about dozen potentially habitable exoplanets have been detected so far, scientists say the universe should be teeming with alien worlds that could support life. The Milky Way alone may host 60 billion such planets around faint red dwarf stars, a new estimate suggests. So if we mess this one up there are new worlds to conquer.

#164 Big Al (New) on 10.14.14 at 9:22 am

Infinite growth is impossible in a finite world. No one in my circle understands the exponential function and it’s ramifications to society with promises of 1-2-3…8% annualized growth. Whether it be in GDP or population growth or inflation or corporate profits, it’s all unsustainable.

#165 gmc on 10.14.14 at 9:27 am

#123 The turkey was delicious
Hey thank you for sharing your one hour

I work overseas in Madagascar and see first hand poverty, (80% illiteracy) and at the same time people working together to eek out a living, many here only have rice for days on end, but they do sing together and make the best of their lives, knowing they will have nothing in the future and no chance of travel, and no way out of this poverty.
We could never survive like them with our harsh climate but we could all learn something from these folks. Nothing is FREE, everybody does their part and NOBODY should be bailed out, never, no banks, or busniess or people, it is a failed experiment, someone should have to pay for the damage.
The banker are the ones that have done this and will keep going until there is nothing left, my question is, what is their goal and where can they go if 90% of the populace realize they have been robbed of the land that their father have fought for….. 7 billion people looking for the 1%, ugly picture.
The world is truely a small place, we will see changes only once the rule of law returns for all and people actualy put in jail for these crimes, then we can talk about a new future or new world order for all, not just for the 1%
The big distiction of the third world countries is that a life mean nothing.
What I have learnt from working overseas is that we Canadians still believe that a life means everything, even our PETs have a chance to life and enjoy a good life, but here and other places that have nothing, a life mean nothing, and if that is where we are headed, then great misery is awaiting us all.
I Love my country and it’s great people, I just wish our politicians were more like us.
I go home from time to time and my favorite place is with my friends in a small aluminum boat in northern Ontario with my line in the water soaking up some sun and tellings eachother stories and lies. Time seems emortal there, no city noise, just the bush, we are so fortunate, and our folks generaly have done us well for we have a good reoutation as good neighbors as poeple of this great planet, we are judged by other as being kind, and caring.
Eisntein famous quote:
The world is not dangerous because of those that do harm, but becuase of those who look at it and do nothing……. and that is my thank you to Grath, he is doing something…. keep the word going , even if I don’t agree with his Keneysian views of our finiancial world….. Garth is trying to get us to talk and listen to others about the pain that will come.
One of the best books an old friend gave me to read was Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay, it was published in 1841, and it still stands as a testamony for mankind and why we are so nuts for realestate, it happened many times in the past and it stands for TODAY, read it and you will understand why we are so screwed………….

#166 Lineman for the County on 10.14.14 at 9:27 am

I hear you Garth, there is some scary shit going on. On the cougar front however, we may be ok. Although they are hard so spot because of their secrecy, they are seen regularly in southern Alberta. Urban planning has created many more green spaces and these big cats have adapted quite well. But the big picture is scary no doubt, no easy answers. We must all do what we can to make the world a better place.

#167 Grantmi on 10.14.14 at 9:49 am

You know the world RE market his hit STUPID level when a family wants the old owner to THROW IN THE CAT!! for $140,000 extra to close the deal.

(Hell! I would have thrown it in the CAT for free! The Dog would have been $110,000 more. lol)

*********************************************
http://yhoo.it/1sGaLIp

Family sells cat as part of house deal
Yahoo!7 Pty Ltd October 14, 2014, 4:33 pm

A cat has helped seal a multi-million dollar property deal, who paid an extra $140,00 for Tiffany the cat to stay. Emily Angwin reports.

#168 Cato the Elder on 10.14.14 at 9:53 am

Re: #124 Retired Boomer

Here’s the difference between a heavily zoned city like Toronto and a non-zoned city like Houston: cost of living. Houston is one of the CHEAPEST cities to live in – watch the entire video I posted.

Why do you think that is? The cost of government here is SUFFOCATING and artificially increases prices. By the way, I used to live near a refinery – it was located just up the street. Of course, it was shut down recently due to the regulatory burden imposed by bureaucrats – and all those jobs disappeared.

Re: #127 Retired Boomer

No, the government didn’t create those jobs from scratch. Using tax dollars to build something means that the marketplace didn’t voluntarily pay for it. I can build ANYTHING if you give me tax dollars through confiscation! I could build a moon base with enough money – that doesn’t mean that the marketplace demands it.

Taxes are theft of productive resources. Taxes come from the profits earned by a productive business. Failures don’t pay taxes, and neither do low income peoples. It is only the successful that are punished in our society. That doesn’t seem like a good way to structure things. If there are taxes on income at all, they should be flat and without loopholes or exemptions – level across the board (even our former communist friends Russia have adopted that – why can’t we?).

**********

Re: #131 AB Boxster

I understand Marx quite well – I understand that collectivism inevitably requires the use of FORCE to compel people who won’t comply with the system. It is impossible for it not to come down to that. Human nature is such that they don’t want to share something that they themselves have produced – nor should they. Yes, threatening to put someone in jail for not paying taxes is FORCE.

Also, collectivism was a large part of human history – you’re right. How’d that work out for our ancestors? Pretty piss poorly as I recall. Lack of progress, stagnation, famines, diseases that wiped them out, no middle class, etc. It was only the past 200 or so years that a middle class was developed and massive human progress was made. Only the past 200 years that our life expectancy went from 40 years to 80.

ALL THANKS TO THE FREE MARKET. Because in the free market, one only acquires wealth by helping their fellow man. If their fellow man demands a vaccine for polio, the market will supply it. If their fellow man demands food, the market will supply it. A bureaucrat located thousands of miles away that receives their income through confiscation is OUT OF TOUCH with reality and has no clue what plagues the common man – that is why nothing changed for millenia.

Everything you own is owed to the free market. Nothing of it was provided by government.

The best thing the government can do is provide an environment conducive to commerce. Enforce contract law. Ensure strong property rights. Provide a stable currency. Impartially mediate conflicts.

AND THEN GET OUT OF THE WAY.

Re: #139 AB Boxster

As mentioned before, 100 million dead has to do with the simple fact that socialism invariably requires compulsion. If people resist their central planning masters, then force has to be used. If they won’t comply with force, they are killed. Sorry if this bursts your optimistic bubble of how socialism is a wonderful society full of gumdrops and teddy bears. It always ends up the same. And no, you’re not going to EVER elect someone that doesn’t inevitably lead to that conclusion. It has been tried EVERYWHERE.

Regarding your assertion of ‘greed’ – the opposite of greed is FEAR. Entrepreneurs are CONSTANTLY balancing the two – fear and greed. They aren’t 100% full of greed all the time 24/7. They are risking CAPITAL when they take chances in the marketplace and they FEAR losing it – that’s what holds them back.

Here’s the problem: when those risks get subsidized by GOVERNMENT they take MORE of them. The CMHC is subsidized mortgages by putting the burden on tax payers – so the banks are taking MASSIVE RISKS with their loans. So, it’s the GOVERNMENTS fault. This has been detailed by Garth in this blog and is called ‘moral hazard’.

And to finalize and repeat myself, it doesn’t matter how greedy someone is in a free market. You could be the most contemptious individual to ever inhabit the earth – you can only get rich ONE way. That one way is providing goods or services that are valued by your fellow human being. In essence, you only get rich by HELPING OTHERS. What don’t you understand about that? Look at ANYONE that is rich: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett… each one of them got rich by ENRICHING the lives of their customers and employees.

Now, the oil rich KINGS of the middle east got rich by using violence to compel their citizens to give them power. They used that power to siphon billions to themselves – devoid of working to voluntarily demonstrate their value in the marketplace. And guess what post they occupy? That’s right – they’re government employees!

#169 Toronto_CA on 10.14.14 at 9:54 am

Oil prices continue ever lower, down another 1+% this morning.

Loonie and TSX going down with it. How long does it need to stay down in the low $80s before Alberta starts to feel the pain, I wonder?

#170 Herb on 10.14.14 at 9:56 am

Cato the Indeterminate,

starting with your Comment #1 and each of your subsequent comments, I asked myself whether you were a knave or a fool. Only a knave would spread your capitalistic fairy tales and traffic in -ism’s to serve his purpose. But only a fool in all innocence of life and history would believe them.

So help me out here: which are you?

#171 not 1st on 10.14.14 at 9:58 am

Garth, technology can save the day if we let it, but because it often disrupts established industries it is fought tooth and nail.

Either way, some sort of socialism will be established in the world because there are currently billions unemployed and more to become unemployed because we will have to use technology to solve some of these dilemmas and sometimes people get left out of those changes.

#172 };-) aka Devil's Advocate on 10.14.14 at 10:29 am

#157 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 10.14.14 at 9:18 am
These aren’t doomer questions. Sometimes I just wonder what happened.
_____________________________________________
I can tell you all what happened.
Shit happened, its just part of the evolution of life on this particular little blue planet.
So my philosophy is don’t worry about stuff you can’t control!
By the way though only about dozen potentially habitable exoplanets have been detected so far, scientists say the universe should be teeming with alien worlds that could support life. The Milky Way alone may host 60 billion such planets around faint red dwarf stars, a new estimate suggests. So if we mess this one up there are new worlds to conquer.

I generally agree with your post but for a couple exceptions:

1. We ought not be so cavalier about our stewardship of this planet we call home.

2. The comment “there are new worlds to conquer” to too disturbing a testament to the human nature to compete instead of collaborate. There is no net gain in competition whereas in collaboration there is multiplicity.

Our aggressive territorial competitiveness is one of the major threats to humanity.

We foster competitiveness in everything we do. We idolize it. We pay our such heros (competitive sports) more than they who do the most good for society (ie teachers etc.)

We are an absurd species which will be directly responsible for it’s demise. I personally think it’s inevitable which is why I so endorse your post for it’s statement

“Shit happened, its just part of the evolution of life on this particular little blue planet.

So my philosophy is don’t worry about stuff you can’t control!”

SHIFT happens };-)

#173 elrowe on 10.14.14 at 10:44 am

Very thoughtful post today. Puts a lot of things into perspective, doesn’t it?

Excellent comments from too many to mention but special thanks to #123 The turkey was delicious. You expressed so eloquently what many of us think and feel but just can’t say as well as you did.

I also had a quick peruse of Cato the Elder’s comments, and sorry kiddo, but you’re staying on my DNBTR list (Do Not Bother To Read) for the foreseeable future. Surely it’s no great loss to you, but I have to use my time wisely. You see, I’m a Boomers so I’m nearly dead and have to spend that great big pile of money I’m sitting on because I’m too selfish and spoiled to die already and leave it to the Millennials to buy themselves shiny things like iphones and glass condos.

#174 T.C. on 10.14.14 at 10:45 am

“More consequential is the fact 50% of all the animals on the planet have disappeared in the last forty years…”

Um, no. But the WWF fund has as much at stake as any realtor when it comes to getting you to open your wallet. I suggest you write about what you know.

Most of the few dozen true extinctions (as opposed to extripation of isolated populations) in the past 100 years could arguably have been natural. We are still seeing natural extinction:

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/02/make_this_call_in_the_wild_sho.html

On the other hand we have discovered thousands of new species in the past 50 years. The WWF knows this because they fund that sort of “research.” They just don’t trumpet that good news the way they blather on about doom and gloom.

#175 Rational Optimist on 10.14.14 at 11:11 am

155 Kevin on 10.14.14 at 8:22 am

“I can only think of 2 significant inventions in my lifetime: the Internet and cell phones…”

MRI; GPS; human genome mapping (and everything that came about from that); the pacemaker (a decade or so before your birth).

“My parents only saw 3 wars (although admittedly, one of them was a doozy). My generation sees a new war start up every couple of years. Gulf Wars 1 & 2, Afghanistan, Crimea, Syria, Libya… who will it be next week?”

This is truly bizarre. You’re comparing “Libya” (that was a “war”?) with- what?- the Korean War? Your parents were raising you and praying that no nincompoop start a nuclear war, yet you have it “harder.” I guess my family wasn’t hit as hard by the rationing during the “Second Gulf War” as yours was. Be realistic- the incidences you mention are tragic for the human beings involved (who don’t include you), but you cannot call them wars in the same way as the total wars which we used to suffer on a regular basis.

#176 AB Boxster on 10.14.14 at 11:12 am

Garth,

Your blog today comments on the following:
growth of global population
disparity of wealth
disappearance of biodiversity
issues of food production
impact of global warming
breakdown of the middle class

Yet at #133 you describe that the only alternative to a global economy is Tariffs and trade barriers and all the problems they include.

So we replace one set of problems with a new set. Except of course with this new set of problems the ground rules are fixed against individual countries to set their own destiny, because supposedly what is good for the corporation must be good for the planet and hence the individual.

So we cannot effectively address any of the issues you describe because they are in direct conflict with corporate goals and there is no ‘global government’ that can now help affect the global changes that are needed.

Yes, we talk and we talk and we talk, but little is ever solved.

I suspect that rather than having World Wars between nations with competing goals, soon we will start seeing class wars, within nations themselves.
The 99% movement was the first shot at this.

People are starting to consider that that their opportunities, jobs, financial security, wealth, health, etc. have been bartered away on the alter of corporate profitability and unsustainable growth and development.

And if people then believe that they have no power, either individually or collectively through their governments to affect change, well this is a recipe for societal disaster.

PS. It really serves no purpose (other than to cater to the ultra right wing view of the world) to suggest that those less fortunate have made stupid choices and therefore deserve their fate.
Its a little like saying that those in Liberia deserve to catch ebola because they were born there.
Stupid choice by their parents, too bad, so sad.

In this great new experiment of globalization and rapid change, I would challenge anyone (individual or government) to describe what are sane and reasonable choices to respond to the issues you describe.

#177 AB Boxster on 10.14.14 at 11:18 am

#168 Cato the Elder

As I said you write so much but have so little to say.

#178 BigM14 on 10.14.14 at 11:25 am

@150 DA, if you google watch still mine 2012 online, you can find it.

@155 Kevin funny, I was thinking about that this morning.
The next big thing.

We have had telephones for 100 years, but not much has changed, they are smaller and more mobile only.
And you can play stupid games on them now, big whoop.

The internet is pretty good, but in reality it is an improvement over writing, the printing press, the library.
It is a pretty big library at a keystroke, you don’t even have to get on yer bike to go and find information now.

It would be nice if people used this awesome library to get knowledge about things like money, capital, and creating things.
Sadly, it seems most people use it for games, spreading inaccurate partisan information, and of course, the most important thing, cat videos.

I am still waiting for the next big thing, instead of just a better version of what we already have.

#179 Bigrider on 10.14.14 at 11:33 am

Bigrider.
The TSX is down approx. 9.13% since Sept. 3rd , approx. one month. I doubt you nor I will live to see a time when that same index adds 9.13% in such a short period of time, ever.

The TSX gained 27% in twelve months before giving back 9%. Get a grip. Meanwhile bond prices have jumped, making a balanced portfolio a comforting thing to own. — Garth

——-

Fine and granted but why, in your opinion, have the drops in the indices become so much more intense, deep and most importantly ,rapid then any subsequent advance?

Is it part and parcel of the increasingly manipulated financial world we live in?

Ever hear of 2007? This is tepid stuff. — Garth

#180 Bob on 10.14.14 at 11:35 am

Ever watch the stupidity on Youtube?

When we celebrate this gluttony we have a serious problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgY7c3XKnxU&list=UUspJ-h5Mw9_zeEhJDzMpkkA

Our planet is in trouble on many levels. We see this everyday. If the population of the world gets to 10 billion souls and eats the same amount of meat as we do in the western world then we will need at leasts 4 earths to sustain it all.

I dont think it can go on without serious consequences.

By the way, eating meat is a contributing factor for cancer and a whole host of other bad diseases.

Furious Pete, a Canadian, with 1.3 million subscribers to his youtube channel, now also has cancer. I feel sorry for him but that being said, we may all be on a slippery slope…

#181 Realtor # 1 GTA on 10.14.14 at 12:12 pm

the Canadian five year note back down to 1.45%

Growth demand is cut = low interest rates for awhile

like I said many times – we are (always) two years away from interest rates rising

#182 Bottoms_Up on 10.14.14 at 12:23 pm

#6 Rural Rick on 10.13.14 at 6:13 pm
——————————————–
Spoke to someone who returned from a 2-wk vacation in China (including a 5-day cruise in the jungle) and they did not see any birds. Not one.

#183 bdy sktrn on 10.14.14 at 12:26 pm

I am still waiting for the next big thing,
——————————-
fusion . clean limitless energy. 50-75yrs.

one day the planets’s 30B people will wonder how we ever survived without it.

life is pretty great if you ask me, better than great. there is a future out there. there are great kids who will do their best just like every gen before them.

people who fall for the 50% animal story don’t spend enough time outside.

#184 Dan on 10.14.14 at 12:29 pm

All about Greed…that’s what happened.

#185 Bottoms_Up on 10.14.14 at 12:40 pm

#123 The turkey was delicious on 10.13.14 at 11:48 pm
—————————————————-
I don’t think you can necessarily blame the rich for all the negative; look to the US, there are States that have very low taxes where one can live a reasonable lifestyle on a lower wage. The rich are an easy target (many of you on this blog are in the top 5-10%, no doubt), but I’m sure many are doing their best to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

You know, that ‘owner’ that decided to ‘pollute the lake’, well that was done on behalf of the workers (that earn wages–and, when polled, may have agreed with that action to save their jobs), and also with permits granted by the municipality (earning tax dollars from said pollution).

The rich are an easy target, but perhaps it is the system that is broken.

#186 TurnerNation on 10.14.14 at 12:54 pm

Buy oil at 79-80 level for a bounce imo.

#187 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.14.14 at 1:18 pm

#168 Cato The Elder

I cannot compare Houston’s Taxes to Toronto’s because TX vs ON provide a vastly different scale of services and protections.
State and Provincial taxes, as well as FED taxes impact any locations costs of living.

Cato, you must realize the TVA, CCC, REA ad adfinitim were created during the depression of the 1930’s not with TAX dollars, as there were over 1/4 of the population unemployed, many underemployed, over 30% of American Corps in receivership, some ultimately liquidated.
The market place did not ‘voluntarily’ build it because it could NOT! It was on it’s ass like the rest of the Country.

Deficit spending was used to build infrastructure, build demand, build up working mens lives. This legacy was repaid over the years, the US deficit on a track to be paid off until TAX changes enacted in the early 2,000’s changed that trajectory. We CAN change it back, too. IF we have the gonads to do what is in our best self interest as a society.
(I have my doubts that can happen, but that is a different story).

Governments have often used TAX Dollars (tax payer’s money) to fund research. The discoveries go back into production (the transistor) via private or publicly owned companies to build private wealth. We can, and DO own parts of these companies, it is called ‘stock.’ Many pay a dividend to us owners. We may pay taxes on these dividends, as we may pay taxes on the capital appreciation of the stocks. Sometimes these investment ideas go bad (See Edsel, Ford Motor Co).

Capitalism WORKS!! Regulated, not unfettered Capitalism works best for all concerned in my opinion).

Taxes are merely the FEES imposed by society, as a sort of price for admission here. Taxes here -The US- have N
Your assertion

#188 anon on 10.14.14 at 1:34 pm

People like you happened, the great greed generation that forewent having children and instead worshipped at the altar of Moloch. You and your ilk like your wife built nothing for tomorrow because you have no legacy to inhabit it.

What do you care barren branch? Annihilation is the only thing you have in your future, no grandchildren to hug, no future built for the nonexistent young. Banished to the void through the nonexistence you and your greedy ilk brought manifest.

Burn in the fire demon, hold tight onto your forty pieces of silver.

Doesn’t everyone here just love this blog? It’s so fun. — Garth

#189 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.14.14 at 1:41 pm

#168 Cato The Elder

I cannot compare Houston’s Taxes to Toronto’s because TX vs ON provide a vastly different scale of services and protections.
State and Provincial taxes, as well as FED taxes impact any locations costs of living.

Cato, you must realize the TVA, CCC, REA ad adfinitim were created during the depression of the 1930’s not with TAX dollars, as there were over 1/4 of the population unemployed, many underemployed, over 30% of American Corps in receivership, some ultimately liquidated.
The market place did not ‘voluntarily’ build it because it could NOT! It was on it’s ass like the rest of the Country.

Deficit spending was used to build infrastructure, build demand, build up working mens lives. This legacy was repaid over the years, the US deficit on a track to be paid off until TAX changes enacted in the early 2,000’s changed that trajectory. We CAN change it back, too. IF we have the gonads to do what is in our best self interest as a society.
(I have my doubts that can happen, but that is a different story).

Governments have often used TAX Dollars (tax payer’s money) to fund research. The discoveries go back into production (the transistor) via private or publicly owned companies to build private wealth. We can, and DO own parts of these companies, it is called ‘stock.’ Many pay a dividend to us owners. We may pay taxes on these dividends, as we may pay taxes on the capital appreciation of the stocks. Sometimes these investment ideas go bad (See Edsel, Ford Motor Co).

Capitalism WORKS!! Regulated, not unfettered Capitalism works best for all concerned in my opinion).

Taxes are merely the FEES imposed by society, as a sort of “price of admission.”

Taxes here -The US- have NEVER BEEN LOWER DURING MY 63 YEAR LIFETIME. Cato that is not a bullshit statement, it is the truth! They COULD be a lot higher, and have been! -based on % of income not actual dollars-

Your assertion that ‘low income’ people don’t pay taxes in not factual. I can make figures appear to say different things to support any agenda. examples:

Rich people (over $500K per anum) pay the highest amount of dollars in income taxes. TRUE STATEMENT.

RICH people pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than an average 2 person household making $120,000 per anum. TRUE STATEMENT.

I paid a higher percentage of my income in 2011 than Mitt Romney did, and he made 22 TIMES my income. TRUE!!

By themselves, these statements, all true, mean nothing.
A good tax plan here can keep the IRS’s (CRA’s american counterpart) take to the legal minimum. I am all for minimizing taxes, but not evading them, or breaking the law. As I said TAXES are but the price of admission to the society.

We used to have a far more steeply sloped progressive income tax system, which has become corrupted with too many loopholes, and special privileges. As things stand right now, lower earners end up paying a higher actual percentage of their incomes, in taxes than the higher earners do.

That statement could be eliminated by a FLAT TAX, but it would have to be rather confiscatory on the lower wage earner to work. That is why we need a progressive TAX system to pay the current freight as well as 17 TRILLION IN ACCUMULATED DEFICITS. The sooner we begin, the sooner we can reduce future rates.

I don’t even prepare my own taxes I hire a CPA.

#190 Kevin on 10.14.14 at 1:44 pm

@Rational Optimist (#175):

MRI; GPS; human genome mapping, the pacemaker…

MRIs? Are you serious? How has the invention of the MRI impacted my life? I’m 39 years old and I’ve never had a single MRI. Someday, I guess it’s possible I *might* have one, but I’d hardly call that a “groundbreaking leap forward” on the same scale as the invention of the automobile, telephone, or transistor. Ditto for genome mapping, doesn’t affect me at all, and while it’s academically interesting, what concrete, material impacts has it had in the medical world? Pacemaker, as you noted, predates me and has the same problem as the MRI – i.e., it’s not yet had any relevance at all to me personally (unlike cell phones or the Internet).

You’re comparing “Libya” (that was a “war”?) with- what?- the Korean War?

Just because it was a short conflict doesn’t mean it didn’t have huge implications. US, British, and French military forces participated in the campaign that ended with the deposition and execution of a fanatical, tyrannical dictator (Gaddafi).

you cannot call them wars in the same way as the total wars which we used to suffer on a regular basis.

I think it’s very comparable. World War II had minimal effect on the lives of regular everyday Americans, in the sense that the conflict took place entirely overseas until Pearl Harbour. Likewise, modern wars take place in desolate, miserable sandboxes on the other side of the world, with the exception of one very high-profile attack on US soil (9/11). But modern conflicts are much more frequent and ongoing. You can’t tell me your parents were cowering under their classroom desks during the Korean war.

#191 gtrz4peace on 10.14.14 at 2:05 pm

#123 – the turkey was delicious

Yes, this is what I was saying, in a comment yesterday. Great post…

#192 Holy Crap Wheres The Tylenol on 10.14.14 at 2:11 pm

#172 };-) aka Devil’s Advocate on 10.14.14 at 10:29 am

I’m an old cranky cynical guy who once went to a very unpopular war. Although I am not a tree hugger I do love what God has provided for we greater apes the messed up creatures that we are. I do my best not to pollute, (given of course I consume fossil fuels), But never even have I thrown my garbage on the street, I recycle, I grew up with parents that never gave a second thought to garbage. My generation started to have love ins, and music festivals and we really started to celebrate life. We realized that the world really only gets one shot at the gift of this planet we were given. So I do my little part and control what I can control to contribute to the future of my grandchildren and there grandchildren. That is why I don’t worry about the big picture as I can’t control the A-holes in China, India, and for that part any other place that is killing our planet in the name of $$. Anyway its all got to start at home in a small way, teach your children well!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyU0P6iqyw4

#193 nonconfidencevote on 10.14.14 at 2:42 pm

@#182 bdy sktrn

…”one day the planets’s 30B people will wonder how we ever survived”….
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Life a la, “Blade Runner”?
UGH. What a depressing vision.

#194 None on 10.14.14 at 3:00 pm

#87 Cato the Elder on 10.13.14 at 10:11 pm
How would this be handled? Maybe a business owner would approach homeowners in an area and offer to pay them in exchange for the right to discharge something. However, ALL OF CANADA would not be penalized through these stupid permits that hurt us.

================

This is nuts. So under this model if a private company owned a nuclear power plant and wanted to dump waste in Bob’s backyard, so long as Bob felt he was compensated properly, it’s all good?

Regulations help control unfettered capitalism, that’s why we need them.

#195 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.14.14 at 3:03 pm

Sorry garth for the “fat finger post” at 186. Delete this one as it is incomplete.

Your comment ay #187 was very inspirational!!

Yes, differ generations, different experiences, different perspectives.

#191 has it right…Teach your children well
thanks, CS&N.

#196 Retired Boomer - WI on 10.14.14 at 3:05 pm

#123 good post.

Time now for the Tuesday cocktail hour. Where Smokey on days like this??

#197 JM on 10.14.14 at 3:11 pm

More QE…
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-14/qe4-countdown-has-begun

#198 Derek R on 10.14.14 at 3:14 pm

Is just me or are there lots of fundamentalists preaching fire and brimstone in the blog comments today?

#199 James on 10.14.14 at 3:20 pm

S&P is heading lower. Sell while you can.

#200 None on 10.14.14 at 3:24 pm

Cato the Elder – give your head a shake, a flat tax is regressive. Penalizes the poor and rewards the ultra-rich.

#201 None on 10.14.14 at 3:26 pm

#190 Kevin on 10.14.14 at 1:44 pm
@Rational Optimist (#175):

MRI; GPS; human genome mapping, the pacemaker…

MRIs? Are you serious? How has the invention of the MRI impacted my life? I’m 39 years old and I’ve never had a single MRI.

=======

Makes sense. Nothing is important unless it a direct impact your life eh? Sad.

#202 Smoking Man on 10.14.14 at 3:32 pm

So crude oil falls approx 26% from start of the year.
Price at the pump only falls approx 13%

I smell a rat…..

#203 gut check on 10.14.14 at 3:35 pm

#123 – amazing post, great read. Thank you for taking the time.

If I were a wealthy fat cat I would do so much with the money. I have a mental checklist a mile long of things I’d do both for myself and for the community – no strings attached.

I just don’t understand this whole hoarder mentality so many of the uber-rich have. If they were collecting magazines instead of dollar bills we’d call it what it is.

#204 bigrider on 10.14.14 at 3:42 pm

#179 Bigrider on 10.14.14 at 11:33 am
Bigrider.
The TSX is down approx. 9.13% since Sept. 3rd , approx. one month. I doubt you nor I will live to see a time when that same index adds 9.13% in such a short period of time, ever.

The TSX gained 27% in twelve months before giving back 9%. Get a grip. Meanwhile bond prices have jumped, making a balanced portfolio a comforting thing to own. — Garth

——-

Fine and granted but why, in your opinion, have the drops in the indices become so much more intense, deep and most importantly ,rapid then any subsequent advance?

Is it part and parcel of the increasingly manipulated financial world we live in?

Ever hear of 2007? This is tepid stuff. — Garth

—————–

All cool Garth but just can’t wait to see, sometime in the second half of my life, or perhaps of my childrens lives, a TSX that puts up a 10% plus month instead of the minus 10% month we are about to finish after today’s close. All too common on the way down, nowhere to be found on the way up. ” crawl up a hill jump off the cliff” would be an accurate analogy.

Buyers are happy. — Garth

#205 Rational Optimist on 10.14.14 at 3:46 pm

190 Kevin on 10.14.14 at 1:44 pm

“MRIs? Are you serious? How has the invention of the MRI impacted my life?”

I didn’t realize we were talking specifically about Kevin’s life. The MRI has allowed for significantly better diagnosis of a range of ailments. I hope you never do have to go into one, but the many many people who have been treated as a result of successful diagnosis are probably glad for it, and I’m glad for them.

“Ditto for genome mapping, doesn’t affect me at all, and while it’s academically interesting, what concrete, material impacts has it had in the medical world?”

Genome mapping has already led to a much greater understanding of medicine, and a flood of new pharmaceuticals. I forgot to apply the “How does this benefit Kevin test?” again, though.

“Pacemaker, as you noted, predates me and has the same problem as the MRI – i.e., it’s not yet had any relevance at all to me personally (unlike cell phones or the Internet).”

The first internal pacemaker was installed a couple of years before you were alive (the mobile phone predates you as well). It has prolonged many people’s lives since, but of course is nevertheless a pointless waste of resources since you don’t find it as cool as your iphone.

“US, British, and French military forces participated in the campaign that ended with the deposition and execution of a fanatical, tyrannical dictator (Gaddafi).”

It ended only to the extent that Kevin didn’t see it on cable much after that. But, anyway…so? How did it impact you? Thirty thousand Canadians went to Korea, and hundreds of them didn’t come back.

“World War II had minimal effect on the lives of regular everyday Americans, in the sense that the conflict took place entirely overseas until Pearl Harbour.”

Since when are we talking about Americans? But, in case you are serious about this, maybe you should read (er, look up a documentary on youtube) a little about the all-pervasive effect the second World War had on the North Americans fortunate enough not to have been among the hundreds of thousands to go to Europe and elsewhere to fight. You should go find someone of that vintage and tell him or her that World War II wasn’t nearly as hard as having to watch “Libya” on the Six O’Clock News.

#206 Alex N Calgary on 10.14.14 at 3:54 pm

Great post today Garth, I enjoy your musings and thoughts that are outside real-estate and investment advice, keep it up!

#207 Son of Ponzi on 10.14.14 at 3:55 pm

If you think in concepts rather than in processes, everthing has already been invented.
MRIs, for instance, are just fancy x-rays.

#208 Harbour on 10.14.14 at 3:55 pm

#202 Smoking Man on 10.14.14 at 3:32 pm
So crude oil falls approx 26% from start of the year.
Price at the pump only falls approx 13%
…………………………………………………………………………

But if it was up 26% we’d be right in line with the increase. lol

#209 Doug in London on 10.14.14 at 3:56 pm

@Big Al (New), post #164:
You’re quite right, anyone who believes growth can continue forever in a finite world is either a fool or an economist. It’s like nature is trying to tell us something, that our idea of economic and population growth forever is an idea that’s flawed at best. What’s the solution? A good place to start is here: http://www.steadystate.org .

#210 calgaryPhantom on 10.14.14 at 4:20 pm

Garth,

A chart that might be helpful for your next post on oil.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/10/daily-chart-7?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/dc/blackgolddeficits

#211 Harbour on 10.14.14 at 4:28 pm

I’d love it becoming uneconomical for the tar pit

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/oil-s-fall-good-for-everyone–except-energy-producers-143808307.html

#212 Marian on 10.14.14 at 4:49 pm

How’s the chinese economy doing today ???

http://chinawatchcanada.blogspot.ca/2014/07/chinese-nationalismpatriotism-shown-in.html

#213 espressobob on 10.14.14 at 5:01 pm

‘S&P is heading lower. Sell while you can.’
………………………………………………………………

Sounds like an excellent idea. I could be the curmudgeon on the other side of the trade! Ever wonder why?

http://www.investopedia.com/video/play/what-is-contrarian-investing/

#214 SWL1976 on 10.14.14 at 5:11 pm

#188 anon on 10.14.14 at 1:34 pm

WOW, what’s with all the anger??? Quite judgmental from an anonymous poster

Lighten up a little and maybe take a look in the mirror

#215 james on 10.14.14 at 5:21 pm

#123 – turkey

Really well done. And for a blog post, a powerful and coherent deconstruction of the neo-con bullshit that has bedevilled us since the Goldwater/Reagan backlash era.

Perhaps some of the mindlessly stupid right wing loons here should read your post again before they consider adding their outdated and discredited thoughts.

(I am thinking about you, Cato and Smoking Man, in particular. #123 busts your chops completely)

#216 bigtown on 10.14.14 at 5:22 pm

I too am 60 and when we had our baby I was 19 working on minimum wage in Montreal and I was grateful because I had a bit of an English accent. my dad worked his butt off six days a week. My grandfather arrived from Austria in the 20’s and worked six days a week until he was 70 for CP rail at subsistance wages.

My grandkids are taking high end Academic educations for granted and are equipped with French;Spanish and English to a degree where they will be able to work on either side of the Atlantic.

I never imagined I was poor or part of the underclass when I worked for minimum wage at 19…I felt POWERFUL and PRIVILEGED to be improving myself and helping to pay for my baby at 19. I guess now I think how I was so easily made satisfied in my life and felt worthwhile and now people have to have all kinds of phones and ipads and facebook. I am happy I never needed that junk to feel happy.

#217 wiggleroom on 10.14.14 at 5:24 pm

Garth this is the most on-point, clear-minded and foresightful post you’ve ever written. I felt this way in 2008, and am starting to feel this way again. There needs to be a global ‘correction’ back to sanity, and away from the consumer culture that is destroying the earth.

People need to wake up and slow down. There will never be flying cars or civilizations of robot-people. We are on the way back to reality.

Thanks for this insight. I don’t find it depressing or doomsdayish to admit that humanity has reached its technological peak. It just is the way it is, and we have to face it in order to change this path and adapt.

#218 Ronaldo on 10.14.14 at 5:27 pm

One of my favorite etf’s, well diversified, low volatility, paying around 6% dividend…has weathered this latest storm in the markets very well….worth a look but do your own due diligence.

http://www.blackrock.com/ca/individual/en/li terature/fact-sheet/ffs-xtr-en-ca.pdf

#219 Ronaldo on 10.14.14 at 5:29 pm

oops….try this link XTR

http://www.blackrock.com/ca/individual/en/products/239495/ishares-diversified-monthly-income-etf?locale=en_CA&siteEntryPassthrough=true&shortLocale=en_CA

#220 Falling oil prices on 10.14.14 at 5:46 pm

Last week I mentioned that inflation really took off in the early 1970s after Sheik Yamani quadrupled the price of oil.

Recently this blog discussed the coming of deflation. Let’s hope the falling price of oil (nice at the pumps) does not propel the global economy from existing disinflation to the dreaded deflation.

Alwyn

#221 jess on 10.14.14 at 6:31 pm

“Madness of Crowds”

or

“bystander effect.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-page/us-securities-and-exchange-whistleblower-rewards-provide-a-powerful-incentive/article19909733/

=

“lock letters” “basket options” ? regulation T
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 23, 2014
Senate: Renaissance Hedge Fund Avoided $6 Billion in Taxes in Bogus Scheme With Banks

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/media/subcommittee-finds-basket-options-misused-to-dodge-billions-in-taxes-and-bypass-federal-leverage-limits
======
FRom Wiki

…”bipartisian condemnation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the use of complex barrier options to shield day to day trading (usually subject to higher ordinary income tax rates) as long-term capital gains. “Renaissance Technologies was able to avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes by disguising its day-to-day stock trades as long term investments,” said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the committee’s ranking Republican, in his opening statement. “Two banks and a handful of hedge funds developed a complex financial structure to engage in highly profitable trades while claiming an unjustified lower tax rate and avoiding limits on trading with borrowed money,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) in his prepared remarks.[31][32]

=================
Documents Emerge in Senate Hearing from William Broeksmit, Deutsche Exec Alleged to Have Hanged Himself in January
http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/07/documents-emerge-in-senate-hearing-from-william-broeksmit-deutsche-exec-alleged-to-have-hanged-himself-in-january/

December 11, 2012 – 10:33 AM
http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/whistleblower-accuses-deutsche-bank-of-concealing-billions-in-losses-a-871933.html

#222 jess on 10.14.14 at 6:35 pm

skilled?

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 10, 2014
Extendicare Health Services Inc. Agrees to Pay $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Provision of Substandard Nursing Care and Medically Unnecessary Rehabilitation Therapy

Extendicare Health Services Inc. (Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (ProStep) have agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to resolve allegations that Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard nursing services that were so deficient that they were effectively worthless and billed Medicare for medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) jointly announced today. This resolution is the largest failure of care settlement with a chain-wide skilled nursing facility in the department’s history.

#223 Population growth and Income inequality on 10.14.14 at 6:46 pm

Over two hundred years ago economist Thomas Malthus raised the spectre of doom if the population was allowed to grow much beyond what it was then (less than 1 billion).

We have since learned how to feed many more people and medical science keeps many alive, and for longer than previous generations, too. Life is better for many, if not all.

Countries with high standards of living tend to have birth rates which barely sustain population levels. Canada relies on immigration to prevent its population from falling.

One of the growing problems in Canada is the inequality of income distribution. When I came to live in Toronto 35 years ago, it was hard to find a “poor” neighbourhood as there was much greater equality of income.

Alwyn

#224 Bill Gable on 10.14.14 at 6:48 pm

Today’s pic was really emotive.

I guess that’s the word.

If we didn’t have our four footed friends around, I wonder if this would all be worth it.

Boy, this one hit.

#225 crowdedelevatorfartz on 10.14.14 at 7:10 pm

@#188 anon

WOW!
Quite the pestilent “vision” wished upon someone you dislike. Such venom. Such vile vomitus.
” From Death’s grip I spit at thee!”
Admit it, you plagarized that epic curse.
There’s no way that came spewing out of your pin shaped gourd.
Lord of the Rings?
Moby Dick?
Hanna Montana?
Inquiring, childless boomers( that have it all and won’t share) wanna know………

:)

#226 Kenchie on 10.14.14 at 7:17 pm

From Oct 9th,

#105 Cato the Elder on 10.09.14 at 9:07 am

“Re: #75 Kenchie
The guys at the top DO have their interests aligned. I love it when people are so dismissive of ‘conspiracies’. Folks, conspiracies happen EVERYDAY. The act of conspiring is simply when people get together and work in concert to advance their own interests. You don’t think the rich and powerful do this? You’re naive.”
———————————————–
First of all, you said that the BoC and Politicians don’t have “our interests at heart”. This implies that “our” society is homogeneous. We are certainly not homogeneous. Why you bring up “conspiracies” (a word I don’t use often because its connotation implies illegitimacy, when one’s “conspiracy” is another one’s “viewpoint”), I am not sure. Nor am I “naïve” to the idea that it is easy for politicians to be bought by vested interests. However, vested interests are often competing against each other.

And

“And by the way, when you talked about companies failing, notice that the BANKS never do? Maybe because we bail them out? Maybe because EVERY LIVING CANADIAN is on the hook for all their risk taking through the CMHC? This is NOT a level playing field – it is rigged to their advantage.”
———————————
So OWN them! Participate in gouging the dumbarse Canadians. Don’t blame the banks for being intelligent and making money. At the end of the day, our financial system is superior to pretty much every other country in the world. As a % of GDP, the gov’t did the least amount during the GFC compared to our peers across the world. If you don’t like this system, save enough money to avoid paying for insurance and stop your friends and family from buying homes with CMHC. But for others, they appreciate the system and it works for them. It may not work for you on principal, but you’re only one person and one vote. Until demand for mortgage insurance can be supplied by the private sector competitors (currently not enough scale), there will be demand for the CMHC. On another note, the residential mortgage component of big banks is declining as a % of total assets as they diversify from Canada. And not all residential mortgages are CMHC insured, as I am sure you know.

And

“And how are their interests aligned? Just look at the donations received by politicians. You will see the same companies donating to EVERY political party. Why do you think THAT is? They win no matter who gets elected!”
———————————————–
No sh!t Sherlock. It’s call diversifying your investment. It’s not great for democracy, but it’s also not illegal. And not all lobbying is bad for society, or against society’s interest. Most lobbying is so mundane that the vast majority of people don’t care either way.

And

“Also, Cato was a great man. If more people had listened to him maybe Rome wouldn’t have fallen and we’d be 1500 years more advanced today. His son killed himself rather than live in a world ruled by Caesar. Not many people had the courage they did.”
——————————————
Great point. So why do you do him such a disrespect by spewing under-thought-out drivel on this pathetic blog under his name? Are you him? Are you comparing yourself to his excellence?

#227 Casual Observer on 10.14.14 at 7:54 pm

#96 wallflower on 10.13.14 at 10:28 pm

I believe we need to move to a public ownership, private stewardship model…

“The state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property.” – Adolf Hitler, whose National Socialist (Nazi) Party adapted fascism to Germany beginning in 1933

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

#228 maxx on 10.14.14 at 8:22 pm

#40 OMG the original on 10.13.14 at 7:24 pm

“And agricultural technology just keeps packing on the world’s productive capacity.”

…yes……..and the true a$$ end of this marvelous beast of agri-technology can be witnessed in any cancer ward on the planet.

There ARE limits and we don’t set them, we just trip over them like irremediable idiots.

#229 Darth Vader on 10.15.14 at 6:21 pm

Stocks dump….bonds pump…Rates ain’t goin no where fast….