Globalization

Today Stephen Harper promised to implement a number of recommendations (on the condition that you vote for him) from a report released back in June on the state of Canada’s economy in the world. The measures can generally be characterized as opening the door to foreign investment in Canada.

My opinion of globalization as a trend is that participation is more or less compulsory if we want to keep up with our neighbours and not find ourselves in a situation like Japan in 1854. It might not be pleasant right now, but like our experience during industrialization, after enduring the economic and social upheavals we will enjoy a higher standard of living.

So I agree it is a good idea to invite more foreign investment in Canada. Having said that, I do have some reservations.

  1. Sovereign wealth funds can be dangerous. If they aren’t operated at an acceptable distance from their governments, we risk having huge chunks of our country directly in the hands of foreign politicians or ruling elites.
  2. Labour mobility needs to catch up with capital mobility. People should be able to pass through provincial borders – short or long term – without any trouble at all, and the government should work with the US to allow citizens of both countries to work on either side of the border.
  3. You can never spend enough money on skills retraining and upgrading. This is like labour mobility except people are moving across industries instead of geography.
  4. We need to take steps (what they are is beyond me) to make sure we use our resource wealth wisely. We don’t want an economy that uses foreign money for the sole purpose of exporting minerals and oil to other foreign countries. There are plenty of jobs to be had besides primary resource extraction (mining, fishing, farming, and so on) and auto manufacturing. This is where Canada should aim to be a world leader. Norway seems to be getting by, despite it’s oil wealth.
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