Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Canada::Common Sense

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative -- Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

Interesting piece by Mr. Zakaria. Some of the key elements:
  • "Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailout or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it's Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system the healthiest in the world. America's ranked 40th, Britain's 44th."
  • "So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense. Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers."
  • "Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position."
  • "Its health-care system is cheaper than America's by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes."
Sobering, as well as humbly. We pride ourselves as being the most successful industrialized nation on Earth. And what's that old saying? Pride before a fall? The prescription is straightforward, though:

"If President Obama is looking for smart government, there is much he, and all of us, could learn from our quiet--OK, sometimes boring--neighbor to the north."


  1. So many Americans, when we don't like what our government is doing or what our society is doing, talk about moving to Canada. That's just moving the problems, not solving them.

    Do people really think of Canada as boring? I've visited BC only once and Ontario several times, and I always had a great time. There are stretches of Yonge Street in Toronto that put me in mind of New Orleans.

  2. Fareed echoes many with that last comment in his piece. I've haven't, as yet, been to Canada. But, I've met some Canadians in some of the conferences I've attended over the years, and had friends visit there. And from both instances, I've never had the sense that boring should denote that country or its people. I'm sure we, as Americans, we can be quite exciting. But, that cuts both ways, now doesn't it?

    I recall a George Carlin quote awhile back where he stated that human beings were successful on the planet because of two C's. Cooperation and Competition. And, he felt that there had been too much of the latter, of late. I look at Canada at making use of two C's, as well. Using Carlin's the former, and the Commonsense that's being espoused in this published piece.

    I think we need to learn that sometimes great ideas aren't limited by borders, and that we can learn from others, still.

  3. Carlin always had a knack for cutting through the BS.