Canadians still count themselves lucky to have escaped much of the type of economic madness that came to afflict the United States after the 2008 crash. Still, there seems to be some discomfort with the state of things here if the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index is to be believed. This globally-focussed think tank praises Canada frequently, placing us at number eight this year with Yemen dead last and Norway number one, after assessing a range of socio economic factors. This index is picked up quite widely in the business media most years and it appears to contain much general truth.
Strong Towns is such a wonderful blog, always interesting. Like this piece about the possibilities for artists and makers in places where:
”…the next Mecca of the creative class is most likely to emerge. This is the kind of rapidly declining suburban landscape that is in evidence all across North America. It isn’t leafy and tranquil like the better suburbs. The schools are crap. But it isn’t vibrant like the best urban locations either. This spot is too far from the city to easily access good jobs, but it’s just close enough to receive the undesirable overflows from the greater metroplex. Tax revenues are evaporating just as legacy public obligations really start to roll in. Property values are dropping like a stone. The authorities are already quietly withdrawing in an attempt to maintain the better parts of town. Perfect!”
On the other hand, this is also Kensington:
image: Marc-Anthony Macon via Flickr/CC
Macy’s, Sears, Payless Shoes. America’s favourite merchandise outlets melt into air. Retail here in the greater Toronto Area has been overbuilt for a while now but nobody is calling it an apocalypse quite yet. Unlike in the United States, where ‘retail apocalypse’ is a Wikipedia entry and daily reality. While retail jobs were nothing special they were readily available, especially to women and youth. Many an immigrant to North America held things together with mall employment, too.
The retail apocalypse is suburban. Cities will weather this concentrated downturn becasue they went through it 50 years ago. Their neighbours may not be so lucky
What caused the retail apocalypse?
See also: (352) Mall living
image: Sarah Martin via Flickr/CC
News from the United States these days is pretty grim for working people and many a town there is long in need of greatness. Something tells us, when we read about what seems like a burned out working class or ex-working class, that a lot more than protectionism, reserve bank gyrations and interest rate fiddlings will be required to restore a general prosperity to America. Public health seems a bigger part of the story than is generally accepted. To wit, a couple of recent features:
Maybe the economy isn’t the reason why so many American men aren’t working. Many experts have blamed a poor job market, but new research indicates that an overlooked cause may be poor health
An intractable problem. For the last half-century, Milwaukee has been caught in a relentless social and economic spiral
For a while now we’ve suspected the term ‘middle class’ to be almost functionally useless outside of perhaps the occasional nostalgic descriptive exercise. This recent essay on the Canada Without Poverty web site looks at the term.
image: Donkey Hotey via Flickr/CC
From time-to-time, we do give some thought to who gets what in this economy. There are worse places when it comes to inequality and the general discourse on status than Toronto and area. Still, some more thought could be directed to where the wealth comes from, Toronto’s role in a global economy. This feature brings our eyes and minds to one of our most important economic inputs: mining. An input that helps make Toronto what it is but which remains obscure, unconsidered.
Toronto’s buried history: the dark story of how mining built a city. Even most residents don’t know Toronto is the global headquarters of the mining industry – but scratch the surface and some uncomfortable truths are revealed
Cross country check up: will you win or lose in an Uber-style sharing economy?
cbc.ca/radio [Podcast 1:53:00]
image: Patrick Marioné
Well, it’s a wonder anyone can see Canada as a prosperous, progressive nation after findings like this come to light. It’s a wonder anyone can say work pays and will protect us from poverty here.
This kinda money and you could take a cab to work every day and eat at Red Lobster any time you wanted. What comes after this, Canada?
Either way, Happy Monday.
2 richest Canadians have wealth equal to 11 million poorest. David Thomson and Galen Weston Sr. as wealthy as poorest 30 per cent of the country combined, Oxfam calculates
image: angela N. via Flickr/CC