A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON: THE 2008 ECONOMIC IMPACT ON B.C., CANADA
I remember back in 2008, when I had suddenly returned to North Turtle Island (Canada) due to a family crisis (my wife left me!) . . .
Food prices went through the roof. A loaf of bread soared from a couple bucks to over $4. It was hard enough adjusting to the Vancouver economy after enjoying cheap prices in China for 5 years. My salary was the same level as it had been in the mid-1990s. I couldn’t even afford a car. No matter, ideologically, I was opposed to cars due to their destruction of the environment. Anyways, times were tough. I had to shuttle back and forth from city to suburbs to bring my son with me on weekends. I ended up working a second job every evening, Monday to Thursday. I would leave in the mornings to my Employment Counselling job for skilled immigrants at MOSAIC at 7:30 am, jog or cycle to work. Upon arrival, I’d give myself a quick sponge bath and deodorant rub-down in the men’s washroom, and change into formal office clothes. At 4:30 pm, I’d switch back to jogging duds (clothes) and run down East 1st to Terminal to work at ISSofBC to teach ELSA, the BC course for new immigrants to learn English. I’d eat, pray, prepare, then teach from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. After, I’d run or jog from East 1st all the way to East 25th. Uphill. At home, I’d shower and roll into bed. The single life. The lonely life. But, by Yah’s grace, I survived.
After a few months of this life, I moved to the suburbs and worked in a countryside Employment Centre assisting mostly white people to get jobs or government sponsored training. I fell into depression as I couldn’t adjust from the exciting Vancouver life to the boring, friendless Langley life. In the evenings, I’d eat all night and watch DVDs. I gained 30 pounds, developed red eyeballs, and my right leg virtually stopped working due to all the lazy-ass sitting. My leg became numb, then hurt like hell. I took Advil every couple hours to dull the pain. The doctor said it was a pinched nerve in my back. I ended up going against his advice and jogging every morning to get out of this health issue.
While struggling to survive socially and physically during this time, I continued working as an Employment Counsellor and listening to all my clients’ stories. It was 2009, and the World Financial Crisis was finally being felt in Canada, and particularly in the Lower Mainland of the province of BC where I live. Factories and warehouses were either closing, or packing up and moving to China and / or Mexico. The construction and realty fields slowed down drastically. Everyone seemed to be going on Employment Insurance. The Canadian government changed the rules and programs for the unemployed a couple times even when I was in that job only for one year. Rough times for unprepared Canadians.
Really, after the Boom Times in B.C. during the mid 2000s, people weren’t accustomed to tightening their belts. They were caught by surprise. Young people had to sell their car-loan vehicles and move back in with their parents. Singles had to find roommates. Ladies who had been at home with kids had to return to the workforce. Guys who had had high paying trades jobs had to try to beg the Canadian government for training. A few industrious folks sold their services in the community doing fence-building, excavation, painting, whatever they could find.
Many had a sense of entitlement, feeling that the Canadian government owed them something. After all, they were taxpayers. Just like the people I’d met in China, Canadians seemed to believe that the government would take care of them, that it was the government’s responsibility. The sense that people had to take their futures into their own hands was conspicuously absent. A real Welfare Mentality.
And of course, some people were working for cash on the side, or growing marijuana in their homes. Marijuana seems to be British Columbia’s hugest unofficial industry. I’ve heard that a lot of the “Bud”, as we call it, on the streets of Los Angeles, are from our glorious province of BC. I guess if people don’t want to face reality, they can escape it with a few puffs of Bud.
THE SHIT’S GONNA HIT THE FAN AGAIN
I have been reading a lot of books and Internet articles regarding the upcoming economic, political and social crises that will befall the US, Canada, Europe, and the world. One book is by Dmytry Olov, a Russian living in the US since the 1970s. He travelled back and forth from the Soviet Union before and after its disintegration, and basically wrote his book, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects. Here’s Olov’s summary:
A surprisingly upbeat guide to the decline of the American empire
The United States is in steep decline. Plagued by runaway debt, a shrinking economy and environmental catastrophes to rival Chernobyl, the US has been retracing the trajectory of the Soviet Union in the early 1980’s toward national bankruptcy and political dissolution. By comparing a collapse that has run its course to one that is now unfolding, Orlov holds a unique lens up toAmerica’s present and future.
As Orlov’s predictions continue to come true, his writing continues to gain mainstream acceptance. This revised and updated edition of Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for the events that are unfolding here.
Orlov gives no quarter to prophets of doom and gloom, finding plenty of room for optimism, if only we focus our efforts on personal and culturaltransformation instead of trying to perpetuate an impossible status quo. This challenging yet inspiring and surprisingly upbeat work is a must-read for anyone concerned about peak oil, the environment, geopolitics, internationalrelations and life in a resource-constrained world.
Interesting stuff. I’m also reading New York Times bestselling author Dambisa Moyo’s How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – and the Stark Choices Ahead. Here’s a blurb:
Amid the hype of China’s rise to global power, the most important story of our generation is being pushed aside: how the West’s rapidly growing population of the unskilled, unemployed, and disaffected threatens the nation’s wealth and stature.
In How the West Was Lost, the New York Times bestselling author and economist Dambisa Moyo sheds light on how a host of shortsighted policy decisions have left the economic seesaw poised to tip away from the Western industrialized economies and toward the emerging world. Faced with this impending calamity, the West can choose either to remain open to the international economy or to close itself off, adopting protectionist policies that will give itself time and space to redress these pervasive structural problems.
Incisive and illuminating, How the West Was Lost not only exposes the policy myopia of the West that has led it onto a path of economic decline but also reveals the crucial—and radical—policy actions that must be taken to stem this tide.
I made a list last night of websites discussing a coming Economic Tsunami:
A PERSONAL APPLICATION
All this information has got my thinking about my own future. I have been poised to entire the Finance Industry. Recently I’ve been studying for my LLQP (Life License) to sell insurance and investments, and thinking of beginning study of the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certificate. In my daytime job as a Labour Market and Settlement Specialist for immgrants, I received training by the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy to deliver Finance seminars to the Chinese community. Can you imagine a dumb white guy like me doing that?
We Facilitators are trained to instruct:
Exploring Our Relationship with Money
Creating Income & Basics of Taxes
Banking and Financial Services
Savings Tool Basics
Pretty basic stuff, but very vital. The CCFL has adapted programs for Immigrants, Youth and First Nations. So I look forward to getting involved, and I really hope I can also get into Youth and Aboriginal Training, as my future dream is to partner with First Nations in training their youth to be entrepreneurs and NOT rely on our stupid Canadian and provincial governments.
Well, how am I and my wife going to survive in the Finance Industry if the US and Canadian economies go through a recession? Who’s going to buy insurance if you can’t put food on the table? Besides, what if some insurers go belly up, and Assurisitself can’t pay out to consumers in the worst case scenario? Assuris, according to its website, is an agency “funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government”, protects life insurance “policyholders by minimizing the loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company, where their benefits will continue to be honoured.”
After all the shart that happened in 2008, I’m not holding my breath to see if these insurance and investment companies can survive an Economic Holocaust. I don’t trust the government, and I don’t trust corporations. They’re all full of BS. Of course, to survive in daily life, we have to deal with both government and industry, but I will remain healthily sceptical.
Anyways, I am still debating about entering the Finance Industry part-time or full-time, or joining it at all. The area I was interested in, Socially Responsible Investing, seems to be very weak. I phoned a fellow in another part of BC for an information interview, and was told that “you starve in your first 5 years.” Well, that is exactly what I DID NOT want to hear!
I have a family to feed. I have to get off my ass and make money, and be ethical at the same time. Yes, of course it’s possible, otherwise I’d f*ing start an armed revolutionary group, march into Ottawa and take over the Canadian government and army. But of course, I’m anti-violence, so I couldn’t do that. I have to work within the social framework with ethics and a deep regard for the Sacred Scriptures’ ethos of loving Yahweh and neighbour. And that includes the fricking governments and Christians, whom I have bones of contention with, lots of bones.
And sometimes my head is one big, fat bone. Lord, please give me wisdom and guidance to sift and sort through all the contradictory information.
Frick! How ironic! I’m teaching a Career Exploration class every week for the next 4 weeks. Well, at least I will sympathise with my struggling students, as I myself am struggling.
DO OR DIE!
WIN OR FRY!
DON’T GIVE UP!
DON’T LOSE HOPE!
GET OFF YOUR ASS AND ACT!
THE TIME IS SHORT BUT THE FUTURE’S WIDE!
Trust in Yah with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (make your way straight). (Proverbs 3:4-5)