Put robots to work so humans can be more productive

While robots replace human workers on the factory floor, better-paid jobs are created to design, build and maintain the robots

Put robots to work so humans can be more productiveThe robots are coming, the robots are coming! They may not be an unstoppable evil army ready to take over the world as in a bad sci-fi movie, but they’re definitely making headway on factory assembly lines and increasingly in other industries. A United Kingdom research firm, Oxford Economics, did a study that covered seven…

Does government debt really matter?

Let’s be very careful about electing a government that’s bribing us with our own money

Does government debt really matter?Before we select our next set of national leaders in the Oct. 21 federal election, we should be paying attention to matters that don’t usually concern us day to day, like the treasury. What the treasury does we call fiscal policy, but it’s essentially budgeting: determining levels of revenue (taxes) and expenditure (all the programs…

Using money to bring fairness to Indigenous groups

The Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla need to put the Ridley Terminal money to work on things that will lead to future returns for their people

Using money to bring fairness to Indigenous groupsIf there are any special Canadian values, fairness is surely one of them. We want and expect our laws and courts to be fair. Our economy, too, should give everyone an opportunity to do well. The resulting income streams should not excessively reward the rich nor should our taxes penalize the poor. The United States,…

National food policy can play key economic and social roles

But a great deal of work must be done to turn the vision into a reality that serves all Canadians

National food policy can play key economic and social rolesFor the first time, we have a national food policy. That’s good news. The vision is that all people in Canada have access to sufficient safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. And that Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment and supports our economy. It’s easy to support such a vision and…

Making your brain hurt helps you thrive

Use mental or physical challenges to strengthen your brain and improve your quality of life as you age

Making your brain hurt helps you thriveFirst Nations leaders face enormous challenges in dealing with the economic well-being of their people. They also must try to preserve the history and values of relatively small islands of First Nation people in the huge sea of the dominant North American culture and the English language. Take the example of a bright young Squamish…

The invaluable lessons summer jobs teach young people

Apart from looking good on your resume, summer work experience demonstrates that you have what employers want

The invaluable lessons summer jobs teach young peopleAnother school year is over. It’s time for high school and post-secondary students to land a summer job. The good news is there are lots of jobs. Walk down any commercial or industrial street and you’ll see “We’re hiring” signs in many businesses’ windows. Many of these jobs are entry-level with fairly low pay. And…

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problem

Limiting access to alcohol led to chaos during the Prohibition. Will constraining opioids do the same?

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problemThere are so many reasons to be very glad that we live in Canada – one of the main is that we’re governed by the rule of law. Laws and the rules and regulations that underpin them are enacted by democratically-elected governments. They’re enforced and upheld by police and courts that are amazingly upright and…

Working in the post-retail era requires a reset

There are still plenty of jobs at the low end of the pay scale. But wouldn't it be a better idea to simply upgrade your skills?

Working in the post-retail era requires a resetOne day you head out to your favourite store and it isn’t there anymore. It could be a local specialty shop, part of a major chain or even a department store like Sears, whose stores and catalogues have been around seemingly forever. Retail outlets are disappearing all over, along with the jobs they provide. In…

Stretching out our work lives as lifespans extend

Authors describe an evolving economy that includes people working into their 80s, based on a life expectancy of 100 years

Stretching out our work lives as lifespans extendLiving to 100 years old used to be an amazing and rare accomplishment. Three-digit birthdays were worthy of a letter from Queen Elizabeth. But today’s children five years old or younger have a 50 per cent chance of making it to 100. This amazing fact is pointed out in a book by Lynda Gratton and…

Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustified

Money budgeted for an elevated greenway for walkers and bikers should go to housing the homeless or easing traffic congestion

Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustifiedVancouver is a great city. For people like me who use their feet for most of their transportation, it’s wonderful. But sometimes city decision-makers go overboard. For recreation and exercise, there’s the 28-km seawall, part of which circles Stanley Park. It’s been voted the best place to run in Canada. There’s also the nine-km Arbutus…

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammers

If it sounds too good or too awful to be true, hang up or delete. In the very remote case that it’s legitimate, someone will get back to you

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammersI’m writing this on April Fool’s Day, the day we set aside to play tricks on one another. Unfortunately, many people don’t limit their tricks to one day a year – they go way beyond harmless pranks. These scammers are usually very clever people who would rather trick the rest of us out of our…

We need a big-picture perspective on house prices and mortgages

Taking on more debt is not a good thing. In fact, it could be devastating for the Canadian economy

We need a big-picture perspective on house prices and mortgagesThe future, when it arrives, isn’t always what we imagined. Technology hasn’t yet brought us vacation trips to the moon or Mars. But it has brought us Twitter, where even world leaders communicate in 140 character blocks. Does this affect our brains? Can we no longer hold more than one simple idea in our heads…

We’re winning the war on poverty

The proportion of households below the LICO has been falling for two decades and is now at its lowest level ever at 7.8%

We’re winning the war on povertyDonald Trump isn't the only American president to say dumb things. Lyndon Johnson, expressing his concern for the well-being of the American people, said that he thought it was a shame that half the U.S. population lived at a below-average income. As anyone who ever stayed awake in math class knows, an average is a…

Why the mortgage stress test makes perfect sense

What’s wrong with protecting people from financial default? What's wrong with cooling housing prices?

Why the mortgage stress test makes perfect senseThis is a true story from just before the recession earlier this century. It helps illustrate why Canada's mortgage stress test makes so much sense. A newly-married and very well-heeled couple wanted two homes – one in California and one in British Columbia. Getting financing for the California home was no problem. All the funding…
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