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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rich! We're All Rich!

Ms. Eclectic and I have been remarking lately how so many people today in North America live in material and health conditions that even the rich could not afford fifty years ago. And now, Phil Miller of Market Power has a new posting that points out we're all unbelievably wealthy compared with people living even fifty years ago. Citing Willam Polley and Cafe Hayek, he notes:

Unfortunately, many people note that we live in an unequal society - with that attention on inequality being on the inequality of outcome.  But is that the right comparison? 

Consider a world with 100 people.  Which would be the better society to live in, the one where all the people live in mud huts next to a squalid creek that serves for both drinking water and a sewer or the one where half the people live in solidly-built 1-story houses with two bedrooms and one bath and an unfinished basement while the other half lives in two story houses with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths?

If you think that's an extreme example, spend some  time away from the resorts in third-world countries.

Posted by EclectEcon on October 2, 2005 | Permalink


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With the potential of the Internet as an education tool, I am looking forward to help the movement of Knowledge Management. From its infancy, it can be guided into the maturity that allows for open source diplomacy to evolve with such civility and wisdom. This can be ignited with the various communites allying with the CBC to attrach all other public networks of local and global nature to accept this idea as the mean to get out of the private market's turf and to secure the personal, cultural and public's voice and deployment.
Here are the kind of figures that need to be considered by the expets of the tools that can get the human condition's renewal going in the right direction.

This is very interesting.
If the population of the Earth was reduced to that of a small town with
100 people, it would look something like this:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (northern and southern)
8 Africans

52 women
48 men

70 coloured-skins
30 caucasians

89 heterosexuals
11 homosexuals

6 people would own 59% of the whole world wealth and all of them will be
from the United States of America

80 would have bad living conditions

70 would be uneducated
50 underfed
1 would die
2 would be born
1 would have a computer
1 (only one) will have higher education

When you look at the world from this point of view, you can see there is a
real need for solidarity, understanding, patience and education.

Also think about the following

This morning, if you woke up healthy, then you are happier than the 1
million people that will not survive next week.

If you never suffered a war,
the loneliness of the jail cell, the agony of torture, or hunger, you are happier than 500 million people in the world.

If you can enter into a church (mosque) without fear of jail or death, you
are happier then 3 million people in the world.

If there is a food in your fridge,
you have shoes and clothes,
you have bed and a roof,
you are richer then 75% of the people in the world.

If you have bank account, money in your wallet and some coins in the money-box, you belong to the 8% of the people on the world, who are well-to-do.

If you read this you are three times blessed because:
1. somebody just thought of you.
2 . you don't belong to the 200 million people that cannot read.
3 . and... you have a computer!

As somebody once said:
"- work as if you don't need money,
- love as if you've never been hurt,
- dance, as if nobody can see you,
- sing, as if no one can hear,
- live, as if the Earth was a heaven."

If you like, send this to people you call friends.

If you don't send this, nothing will happen. But, if you send it - someone
will smile
Thanks to Sam Post for this info.

How do we carry on with this Shotgun blog and begin to emerge in Alberta, Quebec and Canada with actual initiatives that can fan on the focus and participation of the masses toward the personal and cultural changes and adaptation that are called for?

WE are the window of ooprtunity as we speak. All things considered, the wise movement of maturity and the boldness of transparency of open source Knowledge Management justifies the invitation I make on this thread by suggesting support for these 2 links:

With regards.

Posted by: Benoit Couture | 2005-10-02 4:51:44 AM

What the hell is all that about?

Posted by: Raging Ranter | 2005-10-02 8:27:56 AM

Reads like two posters got together to beat the same drum. You ask the Question and I will give the answer we want.

Posted by: Jim | 2005-10-02 9:12:04 AM

I'm sure that Prof. and Ms. E. don't think this way, but unfortunately the world is full of people who take these facts about relative wealth as incontrovertible proof that we must take more money away from them that has, and give it to those that haven't.

The fact is, that the wealth you see all around in Canada was built up because our government was relatively small and non-intrusive, and our citizens and government had a tradition of strongly defending (and respecting) fundamental rights and freedoms. Especially property rights. The poverty which you see in other countries (and in places in Canada such as native communities) exists because their governments are huge and/or extremely intrusive, and without any defense of or respect for fundamental rights and freedoms - especially property rights.

Now that a large majority of our citizens and 100% of our politicians and government employees think that it is government that makes us wealthy, our standard of living is stagnating and even declining. And the more these people think that the same "solution" must be applied in the poorest countries, the more those people become mired in debt, disease, war and famine.

Do you want to improve the life of the masses? Then stop treating them as masses and start treating them as individuals. 99 out of those 100 people don't need your tax dollars or your charity.

You can put that in a chain letter and smoke it.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-10-02 11:16:53 AM

Matt Ridley wrote in the Guardian that: "For the past century the world has got steadily better for most people. You do not believe that? I am not surprised. You are fed such a strong diet of news about how bad things are that it must be hard to believe they were once worse. But choose any statistic you like and it will show that the lot of even the poorest is better today than it was in 1903. [...] All this has been achieved primarily by that most hated of tricks, the technical fix. By invention, not legislation."

Alan Charles Kors wrote, at the Objectivist Center: "The cognitive behavior of Western intellectuals faced with the accomplishments of their own society, on the one hand, and with the socialist ideal and then the socialist reality, on the other, takes one's breath away. In the midst of unparalleled social mobility in the West, they cry "caste." In a society of munificent goods and services, they cry either "poverty" or "consumerism." In a society of ever richer, more varied, more productive, more self-defined, and more satisfying lives, they cry "alienation." In a society that has liberated women, racial minorities, religious minorities, and gays and lesbians to an extent that no one could have dreamed possible just fifty years ago, they cry "oppression." In a society of boundless private charity, they cry "avarice." In a society in which hundreds of millions have been free riders upon the risk, knowledge, and capital of others, they decry the "exploitation" of the free riders. In a society that broke, on behalf of merit, the seemingly eternal chains of station by birth, they cry "injustice." In the names of fantasy worlds and mystical perfections, they have closed themselves to the Western, liberal miracle of individual rights, individual responsibility, merit, and human satisfaction. Like Marx, they put words like "liberty" in quotation marks when these refer to the West."

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-02 12:14:47 PM

It's not that we are rich, it's that some are so poor. Most of the so-called rich people in this country are one paycheck away from being homeless.

If you talk to real homeless people you'll find that most are white english speaking males, 45+years old, who became jobless during the NEP induced National Recession of the 1980s.

During the 1980s recession, the Mulroney regime set immigration targets of 300,000 per year and set up programs to subsidize immigrant payrolls.

Statistics Canada bragged in 1992 that 96% of new jobs created during the 1980s went to women.

A major factor in determining national economic success appears to be IQ.

Wealth redistribution such as the $40 billion transfer from Canada to Africa which was written off this summer has had no effect on African economies or politics, and never will.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-02 12:44:13 PM

The only truly rich people in Canada are Ontarians.

They have NEVER had to worry about where their next meal was coming from. No one was out to destroy them, but their greed nearly destroyed the Alberta economy in 1980. Now they're trying to do it again throught Kyoto and this "Equality Fund Discrepancy" Hoax. It would be so nice to see Ontarians pay some taxes for a change, have their corporate profits taken and redistributed, and see their socials services cut to the bone.

"Ontarian" is synonymous with privileged wealth. It goes hand in hand with racism, Apartheid, anti-Semitism, bigotry and sexism. Other countries fought long and hard to curb these things, but in Ontario they are strengthening. The fuel for this is greed. This is why Alberta must not give in to Ontario/Canada's demands for money. It will just make things worse. Starve them out and the problem will solve itself.

My message to my fellow Albertans is this: stay strong, show no concern for the Easterners for this is their problem. Enjoy OUR money.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-02 3:06:13 PM

One trick ponys.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-02 3:15:25 PM

What's your 'trick', Tony, copy and paste?

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-02 3:23:56 PM

Mea culpa, I meant to type "pony". Sorry, Speller. Since you asked, my trick is individualistic mechanistic pragmatic optimistic skeptical empiricistic meritocratic iconoclastic loveable old curmudgeon, in my arrogantly humble zoologically narcissistic opinion.

'Course, said trick doesn't always work ;-)

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-02 3:40:06 PM

Meanwhile, in Gaza, the Gazans are biting hard the bullets, so to speak.>>>>>> Thus, the question for Canucks: Were you better off before Chretien/Martin & the Librano$ abandoned you "in this barren land"? >>>

"I Think We Were Better Off Before the Israelis Left"

This one goes in the “Be Careful What You Wish For” category, as the Washington Post gives op-ed space to a Palestinian writer: Unoccupied.

The money quote:

“I think we were better off before the Israelis left,” said Mohammed, my neighbor. “At least we were termed ‘occupied,’ but now we are not; we have been left alone in this barren land.”
>>> LGF

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-10-02 5:30:46 PM

re, post by Benoit Couture 2-Oct-05.

I'll take exception with only one aspect of Benoit's figures. I believe that most of his figures are a figment of his imagination or plagiarized from an unknown source. He is playing a very shrewd game bringing out an old canard that states that 89% of people are heteros and 11% are homos (89 heterosexuals 11 homosexuals) out of the whole population. For a truer and more realistic view, the factual numbers need to say 1000 people to be more palpable, not 100 because out of a 100 people world the ratio is 99% to 1%, with 1% being a non-practicing homo, yet if he becomes active, he has to play with himself thinking he is playing with another homo.

The reality is far less sinister. Taking the more reasonable figure of 1,000 is still not a number too large to deal with.

The figures then become 990 heteros, 10 homos, only 2 of which are practicing (active). One study, or was it two, never referred to by homosexual activists clearly designed their study to differentiate between active and inactive homosexuals, clearly defined, the inactive ones being those who thought they had homosexual tendencies or self designated themselves as non practicing homosexuals. 99% heteros, .8% inactive, .1% active.

And that's the truth...

Posted by: Koalla-Jojo | 2005-10-02 8:50:20 PM

I apreciate being straighten out, Koalla-Jojo.The idea of stats are for general direction trends not specific to the individual.
If the study came from me, I would not make any difference in that regards but modern social reality of Canada's human rights does make such distinctions for the sake of having no distinction...
For those who think that I posted the stats to promote more hand out, here is my basic position:
"Deliverance from povery begins with apreciative contentment".
Hand up is an investment in personal and social well being. Stats provide an idea of the dimension of hand up we face.
By clicking on my name, you will find a site where poverty is being addressed from such hand up angle.
Hope it helps to clarify, truly...

Posted by: Benoit Couture | 2005-10-03 4:17:01 AM

Boy oh boy!
Whenever someone tries to reduce a big picture issue to a small scale model the crap really starts to fly!

Commerce is what makes the world go 'round and if anyone is better off in this world it is because they are enjoying the benefits of commerce.

If we are better off as a whole in this world it is because of improving global commerce period!

Posted by: PGP | 2005-10-03 8:47:31 AM


"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong."
Ronald Reagan

Check out my reference to the critique of the controversial book 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations' in my first comment above.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-03 10:16:14 AM

Fuck you Scott. Ontario pays more than its fair share to Confederation (billions and billions). Equalization is not an Albertan issue, it's a Canadian issue.

Posted by: Anti-Scott | 2005-10-03 10:22:12 AM

Anti-Scott, equalization is an Ontario policy that is forced on Albertans. If Ontario subsidized ALL of the equalization, that would be it's fair share, as equalization exists only as a bribe to advance Ontario's socialist political hegemony.

As to the question of rich and poor, because there aren't enough genuinely poor 'Canadians' the Liberals are importing poor people from third world toilets and bribing them to vote Liberal with Alberta's stolen future.

You are right about equalization being a 'Canadian' issue insofar as Canada is an euphemism for Ontario. Canada is Ontario and it's colonial possessions. Apart from Canada being synonymous with Ontario, Canada has never existed and never will. The myth of ten equal provinces in a CONfederation of equals is just that, a myth.

Albertans aren't buying the myth anymore.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-03 10:44:06 AM

We are unbelievably more wealthy than we were 50 years ago, but we keep raising the bar on what we consider "poor".

When my mother was a girl she had 2 dolls, some clothes for them made by her grandmother, a bike, a skipping rope, some books, etc. She was not poor, she was considered middle class in Dundas, Ontario.

Last year during the CHUMCity Christmas Wish charity drive, suggested gift donations for the needy kids included electronic games, rollerblades, snowboards, walkmans, cameras, jewelry and gift certificats for DVDs. Being without these items now apparently qualifies as needy in Ontario.

Posted by: MustControlFistfOfDeath | 2005-10-03 11:08:04 AM

We are unbelievably more wealthy than we were 50 years ago, but we keep raising the bar on what we consider "poor".

When my mother was a girl she had 2 dolls, some clothes for them made by her grandmother, a bike, a skipping rope, some books, etc. She was not poor, she was considered middle class in Dundas, Ontario.

Last year during the CHUMCity Christmas Wish charity drive, suggested gift donations for the needy kids included electronic games, rollerblades, snowboards, walkmans, cameras, jewelry and gift certificats for DVDs. Being without these items now apparently qualifies as needy in Ontario.

Posted by: MustControlFistfOfDeath | 2005-10-03 11:09:58 AM

Equalization is a Liberal policy for getting the Maritime vote that is forced on all Canadians. And there is only one Canada - ad mare jusque mare.

As for the rich and poor question, we have the best damn country on the planet because it's strong and free unlike Haiti, or Russia, or most of Asia or anywhere else and that's why immigrants desperately want to have the privilege of scrubbing our toilets.

For this reason, I think immigrants like me should be natural conservatives. We used to scrub toilets, now I just made a killing off selling my insurance company...

Posted by: Anti-Scott | 2005-10-03 11:13:43 AM

Just ignore Scott. He has some 'issues', as they say.

I do find it a bit irritating to be forced to wipe the mouth-foam off my computer screen after reading his posts, though.

Posted by: groovy-on-granville | 2005-10-03 11:31:46 AM

Anti-Scott,Ontario is the Federal Liberal voter base. Equalization is a Liberal vote bribe policy, therefore equalization is Ontario's political policy.

The Maritimes aren't the only welfare junkies, don't forget Quebec and the 'aboriginals'. Sask, Man, BC, couldn't afford socialism without the transfer payments.

Welfare junkies and immigrants both overwhelmingly vote Liberal in federal elections.

Ontario has a crime problem, so Canaduh gets a $2 billion Gun Registry. And so it goes.

With the exception of 2 ridings in Edmonton, Alberta votes against the liberals and has since 1932. I promise those 2 ridings will not be Liberal after the next election.

You say Canada is free? We don't have free speech. Free speech is a corner stone of true freedom. The other is the right to self-defense, including against agents of the state.
We don't have jury trials except for murder or rape. I suppose you think freedom can exist apart from justice?

Immigrants come here to sponge off of the Canadian welfare state. Scrub toilets? Why would they do that when the system is designed to be so easily gamed by them?

Canada is not strong. If the Liberals even get a minority government in the next election you'll see just how fragile this artificial state really is.

I'm glad to hear you don't scrub toilets anymore. I know a born 'Canadian' probably couldn't be found to fill the valuable position in insurance sales that you do.
Obviously, immigration is a better idea than I first imagined.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-03 11:51:13 AM


You're right. I had to find 20 born Canadians to help me run my insurance company. And another one to sell it to.

Posted by: Anti-Scott | 2005-10-03 12:16:50 PM

OK everyone...repeat after me.

Equalization is:

A program conceived by Ontario to make sure the rest of Canada can buy its products. End sentence. Stop bitching.

Case in point, Newfoundland. Last year NL received $762 million in equalization (http://www.fin.gc.ca/FEDPROV/mtpe.html#Newfoundland) a bit more than half of its total transfers. At the same time Newfoundlanders bought more than 20,000 new cars, the overwhelming majority of which are North American built, every one of which has a high proportion of Ontario-made parts. Let's assume an Ontario-content of $15,000 per vehicle. In that case, in cars alone, Ontario gets back $300 million, right to its number one industry. Oh yes, then add in financing charges, which underwrite most car purchases (including my own). Those wonderful banks, all headquartered in Toronto, make the interest off of all those Newfoundland purchases, creating more jobs in Ontario. How much of that interest income stays in NL? You guessed it, not much. And please, let's not forget the civil servants who collect the money, calculate how much should be transfered, write the cheques, etc... Is that done in St. John's? Not on your life (OK, the RevCan office for Atl. Canada is in NL, but that's it). More jobs created and maintained in Ontario. So, as you see, with one industry alone, Ontario recoups about half of the transfers to NL. This ratio gets even greater for all the remaining provinces except for PEI and the territories.

What happens to the savings and investment of all those Newfoundlanders? Sent to Toronto to be invested in the TSX and be managed by financial managers. More jobs for Ontario, for the most part. I did, at one point, have mutual funds that were managed from Vancouver, but this was more the exception than the rule. So how much in equalization do you think that Ontario recoups from sales of goods and services back to NL? 100%? 125%? 150%? 200%? Think of it as enlightened self-interest by the centre-of-the-universe. Oh yes, and ignore whatever blatherings emanate from the mouth of Ontario's current premier. When he starts talking about what a raw deal Ontario gets from Confederation, start writing letters to the editor suggesting that its time to move the capital to Winnipeg, the real centre of the country. That's what I do.

As for all you Alberta seperatists, yeah, Alberta gets a raw deal from equalization these days. Suck it up. It's the only federal transfer program that isn't run strictly on population, so it's not as though you aren't getting your share of the rest. And another thing. I'm old enough to remember when the rest of Canada paid higher than world prices for gas in order to develop your oil industry. That only lasted for twenty-five years, so I guess it doesn't matter anymore. It's a big country and some things could certainly be improved. What it isn't is a big conspiracy to piss you off. So get over it.

Posted by: herringchoker | 2005-10-03 2:13:56 PM

Herringchoker, I'm not an Alberta seperatist, I'm an Alberta nationalist.

Alberta's energy industry, including oil, was developed with American capital, not Canadian. I'm not gonna suck up the theft of my future by the selfish unenlightened Black Hole of Ontario and it's paid whores.

I'll get over 'it' when the Tyrant Ontario and ignorant parasitic sycophants are permanently ejected from my Alberta.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-03 3:00:28 PM

I don't have a problem with the 'equalization' program. I DO have a problem with Ontario being so irresponsible with its economic and financial affairs that the need to raid Alberta's coffers is repeatedly raised. If the Easterners would smarten up and make the difficult decisions required to make their country run well, then there'd be no problem.

Ontario's incredible stupidity, short-sightedness, and irresponsibility are causing almost all of Canada's problems. Alberta has to secede to save itself from these lazy greedy rich people.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-03 3:06:49 PM

In Alberta's case when does caring and compasion become stupidity? Welfare never solved any problem be it Government or personal.

Posted by: Jim | 2005-10-03 10:25:42 PM

Why are taxpayers even discussing fairness in equalization? The east elected a pack of known criminals to run the country!! When do robbers ever offer a fair deal to the people they are robbing?

Posted by: jema54 | 2005-10-03 11:52:56 PM

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