It’s Alberta’s own Holy Grail. Since the Leduc No. 1 oil gusher transformed the province in 1947, economic diversification has always been just slightly out of our reach. We wish for it and dream of it, and some of us even worry about it. But strangely, few of us are compelled to act on it.
Mosquitoes. Icy roads. Lineups at Tims. These are just a few things that most Canadians hate but have learned to tolerate. Annoying but inevitable.
Maybe we need to add to this list the barriers to interprovincial commerce. Going all the way back to Confederation, provincial governments have made various overtures at reducing these barriers to trade, investment and labour flows. Progress has been underwhelming.
As another academic year begins, debate is sure to flare up on the shortfalls of postsecondary education. Countless white papers and editorials have been written on how universities and colleges are failing us and why the economy will suffer as a result.
If consumers can be convinced they should be nervous or fearful of something, it’s an easy step to sell them things they don’t need. Sadly, this kind of marketing is plaguing the world of agriculture and food retailing.
Scientific research and development is not a luxury for modern, industrialized countries such as Canada. It’s a necessity that we ignore at our peril. Without it, innovation and new discoveries suffer – and we risk being left behind in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Economists love poring over reams of statistics to see if they can find meaningful patterns and trends. One of the most popular sets of data for discerning economic vibrancy and consumer confidence is retail sales. But an often-overlooked set of data can also offer similar insight: receipts at food and drinking establishments.
To many locals, it’s heaven on earth. To others, it’s a whole lot of noise, rowdy parties and people dressed up like children at Halloween. Love it or hate it, the Calgary Stampede – which kicks off today – is an economic boon to the city that is anything but trivial.
Economic principles are at work everywhere you look. This month, I had the chance to visit Spain, a country that’s been the focus of much unwanted attention about the abysmal state of its economy. During my trip, two examples of economic principles were highlighted – one hilarious, the other quite tragic.
The hilarious example comes from microeconomics and theories of the profit-maximizing firm. As we sat at a Valencian café in a beautiful, sun-soaked plaza enjoying our tapas and pintxos, a young lady came by our table offering samples of baguette drizzled with a new brand of olive oil she was promoting. With one bite, I swore I’ve never tasted a more delicious olive oil in my life.
What would the perfect economy look like? A decent-sized market of about 10 million people, tide water access to Asia, plentiful mineral and energy resources, rich agricultural land, abundant forestry, a highly educated population, a liberal democratic government, and low corruption. Throw in stunning natural scenery and two of The Economist’s most livable cities in the world – and there you’d have it: economic perfection.
History is rife with stories of how the mighty can fall – and fall spectacularly. Achilles had his heel problems. Nixon was done in with audio tapes. Even the mighty Goliath was felled by a boy and a slingshot. The common element in all such stories is that they didn’t even see it coming.