The making of the West

Rome’s influence continues to cast a light over Western life and culture

The making of the WestWestern civilization is constantly under fire these days, accused of causing many of the ills that affect modern society. Many blame aggressive Western capitalism for generating a culture of greed and destroying the environment. Certainly, the most hurtful criticism of the West relates to imperialism. Admittedly, the West has been expansive over the past few…

Where does the economy go after COVID-19?

We need to fundamentally change how capitalism works, in part by recognizing intangible assets like human and natural capital

Where does the economy go after COVID-19?The COVID-19 crisis is less than a month old and as necessary steps are taken to mitigate the pandemic, another larger and much more dangerous crisis is looming. Should the medical shutdown extend into the early summer, what might the economic consequences be? The answer is a lot of short-term pain with a distant possibility…

Our world forged in the trenches of the Great War

The battle for the values it was fought for – the defense of justice, rights and freedoms – never ceases

Our world forged in the trenches of the Great WarIn Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row. It was at the funeral of his close friend and comrade Alexis Helmer that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was first moved to write his (now famous) poem. At the time of writing he was physically and mentally exhausted, resting in the back of…

Welcome to the new Age of Intolerance

Trudeau is just the man to heal the wounds. After all, he’s been dressing up and imitating so many different cultures that he identifies with everybody

Welcome to the new Age of Intolerance“Hey, buddy,” Chuck smiled as he leaned across the fence, “you’re goanna find this hard to believe, but I’m beginning to feel sorry for your boy Justin. I mean, the whole world’s jumping on his bones over this black-face thing. “Cripes,” he continued, “even that disgusting Jeffery Epstein is getting better press than your man.”…

God save the Queen – so she can save our country

God save the Queen – so she can save our countryIn my youth, I was embarrassed by Canada’s (seemingly) anachronistic constitutional monarchy. Why must we have a Queen, I raged? She doesn’t even live in our country. Why can’t we be a republic, like the United States? It wasn’t until recently that I began to question this view. Looking south of the border, I’m reminded…

Don’t sing the blue-ribbon blues about Alberta’s future finances

There are ways to reorganize some of our basic services, and we can rev up a new research-and-development engine of growth

Don’t sing the blue-ribbon blues about Alberta’s future financesDuring an early-morning chat over the fence, Chuck seemed more subdued than usual. “Just read the blue-ribbon panel’s report on Alberta’s finances,” he moaned, referencing the provincial-government-commissioned report led by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, “and it’s bad. We’re in debt up to our necks, the oil business is up the tubes and after…

Bailing out Alberta? ATB could do it

If I were king of Alberta, I’d instruct ATB to use its credit reserves to start buying up Alberta debt on the bond markets

Bailing out Alberta? ATB could do it“It keeps getting worse, buddy,” proclaimed Chuck from across the garden fence. “Four years of socialist rule and we’re heading for debtor’s prison. Thank God the PCs are back in.” “They’re not Progressive Conservatives anymore,” I retorted, “they’re UCPs – United Conservatives – and exaggerating the debt is what conservative Conservatives do, it’s called austerity…

How to fix toxic shareholder capitalism

Too many valuable assets never get identified, measured or capitalized on a company’s financial statement. Those include workforce and corporate reputation

How to fix toxic shareholder capitalismI remember it well: the CEO of the company stood before the cheery assembly of wide-eyed employees brandishing a newly-released report and declaring, “This is the start of our next great journey together, building a more sustainable company and a better, more sustainable, future.” I then followed the CEO and his team to their top…

Invisible assets missing link to creating successful tech industry

It is time for conventional banking institutions to enter the 21st century

Invisible assets missing link to creating successful tech industryI once chatted with a group of technology specialists and one of them asked an important question: “I know what intellectual property is, but what’s an intellectual asset?” It seemed to me that this is the most important concept in the modern world of tech, for (presently invisible) assets are the missing link in creating…

Why Canadians won’t, or can’t, invest in their own country

C’mon Canadians, break out of the grim consensus, do your homework and invest your TSFA in the Canadian economy. The banks won't

Why Canadians won’t, or can’t, invest in their own countryThe great Canadian experiment Justin Trudeau represents is struggling. It seems our very Canadian desire for consensus and safety are undermining the prosperity upon which all our other virtues depend. The desire for consensus – worthy in its own right – seems to be undermining the ancient principle of private property. For centuries, the norm…

Can ethics save capitalism?

The rise of angry populism has illustrated one critical truth – CEOs and other business leaders need to align their actions with the greater good

Can ethics save capitalism?The most common criticism of capitalism is that it has no history of working for the benefit of society as a whole. You may be surprised to learn that major schools of thought believe this is a virtue, not a fault of capitalism. If you had asked the late Prof. Milton Friedman, former head of…

Timely advice on how humanity can avoid self-extinction

The author of A 21st Century Economics for the People of a Living Earth, is convinced that we’re threatened … but not doomed.

Timely advice on how humanity can avoid self-extinctionAre homo sapiens so ignorant, greedy and short-sighted that they will blindly jump into the abyss? As a former geologist, I can tell you that on present form (exponential population growth, rapid species expansion into all corners of the globe, etc.), humanity is in the footsteps of almost every other dominant-species mass extinction in Earth’s…

Why Trump will win in 2020

Blame free-market globalization, and the accompanying wage stagnation and declines in middle-class living standards

Why Trump will win in 2020Even Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters admit that he's impulsive and about as presidential as a bull in a China shop. In normal times, Trump would never have been nominated by the Republican Party and would certainly not have been elected president of the United States. But these aren't normal times. Far from it. After…

Laundered money is a key cog in our economy

Canadians’ savings are sheltered and foreign investors are reluctant. Laundered money fills a crucial investment gap

Laundered money is a key cog in our economyYou could make a case that in the absence of illegal laundered money, there would be almost no risk investment capital in Canada. The problem with laundered money is huge. Recent estimates put the value of laundered money in Canada at $46.7 billion; other more realistic estimates have it in the range of $130 billion.…

Why Western civilization is abandoning progress for populism

The shocking rise of identity politics has shattered social unity, which seems to be unraveling like a cheap carpet. And that led to self-centred white identity

Why Western civilization is abandoning progress for populismJesus said it first but Abraham Lincoln said it best: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We live in divisive times, with multiple challenges. But the greatest threat to our civilization is not climate change (as damaging as that may be), nor is it growing inequality or reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The astonishing divide…

Justin Trudeau has lost touch with the common Canadian

Canadians are concerned about jobs and the rising costs of combating climate change, not vague platitudes

Justin Trudeau has lost touch with the common Canadian“Hey buddy, your ‘sunny days’ Justin pal is looking pretty rough these days. I'm thinking we could see the Conservatives back in power come October.” My heart sank. I knew I was in for another heated dispute with my old friend Charlie, a diehard conservative if ever there was one. “First,” I replied, “Trudeau's not…

Canada is squandering its intangible future

The digital economy is underpinned by a new class of non-physical assets. Why aren’t we investing in them?

Canada is squandering its intangible futureCanada is in danger of becoming a tenant nation, according to a recent Public Policy Forum report written by Sean Speer and Robert Asselin. Speer and Asselin describe a post-industrial Canada falling into a modern form of dependency where, although we generate world-class innovation, we lack essential infrastructure and/or skills to commercialize it. We’re simply…

Political parties have become a threat to Canada’s democracy

The Liberal caucus has shown again that it values blind obedience over principle and that it puts party before country

Political parties have become a threat to Canada’s democracyThey're gone! The caucus of the Liberal Party of Canada has officially expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould, former minister of Justice and attorney general, and Jane Philpott, former president of the Treasury Board. These one-time party stars have been forced from the governing party and won’t be allowed to run as Liberals in the upcoming federal election.…

Don’t sell ATB Financial, use it to save Alberta’s finances

Let’s modernize our public accounts, and use our financial strength and institutions to advance the public interest and eliminate the debt

Don’t sell ATB Financial, use it to save Alberta’s financesWould a cash-strapped government of Alberta sell its own bank? According to reports, Scotiabank has made an offer to purchase ATB Financial. And, given the perilous fiscal conditions in the province, it's possible the government will sell. That would be huge mistake. By doing so, any government would have to betray rural Alberta and then…

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek gods

In this new religion, heroes speak the truth and model the behaviours, values and norms of an increasingly diverse society

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek godsThe movie Captain Marvel is a stunning box office success. Finally, it seems, an historic wrong has been arrested. Females have broken the male hegemony on physical violence and taken their rightful place in the annals of warrior gods. Females aren’t the only new members of this celebrated superhero club. There’s Black Panther, Moon Girl,…

Escaping from Technology Jail

Canada’s entrepreneurs cannot compete against global competition with one hand tied behind their backs

Escaping from Technology JailSome of my biggest battles in business have been with accountants. They seem to take great pleasure in playing Dr. No. No you can’t capitalize intangible assets, no you can’t use enterprise valuations, no you can’t, no you can’t, no you can’t! Until I met Joseph Batty, I had no idea that accountants were like…

The end of Pierre Trudeau’s vision of Canada

The former prime minister's "vision" of Canada created the culture of entitlement and corruption in Quebec that has led to the SNC-Lavalin scandal

The end of Pierre Trudeau’s vision of CanadaThe SNC-Lavalin affair has become a nightmare for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But more importantly, it signals the beginning of the end for a Canada designed and built by his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. It seems Justin Trudeau attempted to bully his minister of Justice into helping SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. By doing…

What’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector?

Technology entrepreneurs are locked behind bars of asset ignorance

What’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector?Everybody has a story or two about an exciting new technology that was going to change the world; but was never heard from again. What happens to these great ideas? It’s all very puzzling. But, it does raise a serious question: what’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector? Is there a structural flaw? The short answer…

How banks can help Canada’s SMEs

They could start by formalizing the treatment of intangibles so (some of them) can be collateralized for banking purposes

How banks can help Canada’s SMEsA  survey of SMEs (Small to Medium sized Enterprises) I once read laid bare the hard facts about running a technology-related business in Canada. On the upside, the ingredients for growth for SMEs were easily identified; they include better access to management, planning, marketing, manpower and product development. What was surprising, perhaps, was the realization…

The unrelenting (and ill-informed) push to rewrite history

No other global civilization has been as deliberate and inclusive about progress as modern western civilization

The unrelenting (and ill-informed) push to rewrite historyProgressive liberals of a certain frame of mind suggest that white people are guilty. They’re the systemic oppressors of indigenous cultures, minorities and people of colour. Modern western society also stands accused of abusing the environment and of being unrelentingly sexist, racist and elitist. Or is western civilization the crucible of progress, the liberator of…

Why the Alberta technology sector can’t seem to pull ahead

Dispatches from the Alberta technology trenches

Why the Alberta technology sector can’t seem to pull aheadNow that the energy industry is no longer the engine of growth it once was, Albertans are finally waking up to a cruel reality; we’ve put all our economic eggs in one (carbon-emitting) basket. Albertans' new urgency to diversify their economy will require changing the way we do things. At a minimum, we will need…

Millennials can save the future by reinventing money

They need to reinvent the capitalist system to fully unleash that creativity and establish an economy that’s more just and balanced

Millennials can save the future by reinventing moneyIf you dare to ask, young people today will tell you their generation is screwed. Why? Because they were told, “Be creative, get an education and you can be whatever you want to be.” Oops, wrong! Struggle through a creative career and it's almost impossible to buy a home or escape from student-loan hell. In…

Washington Consensus lit the fuse blowing apart the modern world

We’ve allowed market forces to replace a host of political-economic goals and considerations, and we’re far worse for it

Washington Consensus lit the fuse blowing apart the modern worldPax Americana, the long-standing U.S.-inspired post-war world order, is unravelling like a cheap carpet. Apart from catastrophes like Venezuela, Britain's chaotic retreat from the European Union, or the threat from President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, there’s the shocking rise of anti-western authoritarian regimes in Iran,…

We need to reset capitalism before we dig a deeper hole

Milton Friedman was wrong. Paying attention to other stakeholder interests is not a diversion, it's management's job

We need to reset capitalism before we dig a deeper holeThe National Post's Terence Corcoran is a celebrated champion of free markets. In his latest post, “Milton Friedman is right, profit is a company's only purpose,” he champions one of the most controversial principles in global capitalism. Corcoran's primary fear is that “a long list of academics, consultants, business leaders and politicians – many of…
1 2 3