Over the decades anyone who's a mover or shaker, along with those wishing to be, appear in Davos in a fascinating attempt at reading the global tea leaves. We know who they are and their ranks have grown to include celebrities -- actors, singers, authors -- who mix with the traditional grouping of financiers, politicians, and non-profit leaders.
I almost spit out my coffee the other morning when I stumbled upon this piece by a fellow named Christopher Elliott. In it, he argued that having enough room for your legs on an airplane should be a "human right." One has to be willfully ignorant to not understand that this type of regulation, if adopted, would raise the cost of airline tickets everywhere.
Discussions about the 2024 bid were supposed to take place soon after the conclusion of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games on August 15th. The Games have passed, the September 15th deadline is looming, and the trio of organizers -- Bob Richardson, Marcel Aubut, and Mayor John Tory -- have gone commando silent. They haven't offered a peep about procedures or timelines. We don't know with whom or how these discussions will take place. Why the secrecy? Where is the transparency and accountability in the Toronto 2024 bid process?
To say that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "shook things up" with Agenda 2020 is a gross understatement. Agenda 2020 voided and obscured critical sections of the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Games Framework, the IOC's two main documents for how to bid for and host an Olympic Games. It didn't just shake things up. It changed the entire game plan.
Unlike the iron fist of communism, capitalism's incidents of harm (recall the mugging in Central Park) result not from government oppression but from the nature of freedom itself. Misguided newspaper columns notwithstanding, in theory, practice and historical record, between capitalism and communism, there's no comparison.
In these heady days of waste reduction and sustainable food production, food recovery tackles our most bourgeois societal needs for perfect looking produce. For decades, North Americans have been turning their noses up at apple wormholes and rusty romaine lettuce, and produce retailers have caught on.
Some might describe it as the genius of capitalism; the ability to adapt on the fly according to the circumstances. Hence the drive to technological fixes in alternative energy generation, storage, and distribution. While the existential threat to the species is a clear and present danger, capitalism's ability to adjust is subject only to the limitations of the human mind.
If the top dog in the world of finance couldn't figure it out, how is today's 19-year-old supposed to identify what's wrong and go after those at fault? The current situation doesn't lend itself to short, snappy slogans. Instead, he'd have to have a giant sign to carry in a protest march that read something like: "Down with modern financial capitalism or at least have it regulated by a body with some effective oversight and the ability to regulate and curtail new, harmful species of financial investment vehicles.
I love crowdfunding, because it's like watching money have a wrestling match with ideas. It's capitalism in microcosm. It's important to not lose sight of the lesson here: Crowdfunding websites are not responsible for anything that happens once you've contributed. You are leaving your money on the table, walking away, and hoping for the best.
There's vast potential for an additional revenue stream that can more than offset the losses of choosing not to sell cigarettes in their pharmacies. CVS's move is not only socially conscious; it's also a shrewd business move. And smart, educated, and astute consumers don't begrudge a company posting a profit, if their demands have been met and their concerns addressed.
Any time of year is a good time to discuss poverty but the subject has obvious resonance at Christmas. Thus, unsurprisingly, Pope Francis recently wrote about the necessity of compassion for those on the margins. However, the Pope's letter also took capitalism in general to task -- troubling because the relationship between wealth creation and the alleviation of (some) poverty is often misunderstood. The Pontiff's critique will not necessarily correct this confusion. The Pope's letter is a broad-brush critique but thoughtful readers should pause, ponder and then object.
Bob Cratchit comes out as the true hero of Dicken's novel A Christmas Carol -- a worker, a family man, a believer in the goodness of people. London, Ontario just witnessed a similar example yesterday, as Kellogg's employees, despite the devastating news of the impending shutdown, raised $10,000 and purchased quality foodstuffs for the local food bank. If we are ever to find a reason for believing in Christmas, this is it.
Everyone knows the Conservative government is an unabashed supporter of corporations and foreign investors. They have slashed environmental oversight; attacked labour unions; opened the telecommunications sector up to majority foreign ownership; tripled the financial threshold point where the government must do a "net benefit" test of a foreign corporate takeover. Clearly, big business has gotten almost everything it has wanted from Harper's Conservatives. What should we learn from the fact that it still pushes for more? Perhaps a simple truth about capitalism: There is never enough profit.
The concept of sustainability is not just a feel-good marketing concept; it is both a moral and functional imperative. And so, to make the financial case for paying farmers more is simple: if we don't do it now, there won't be coffee to sell later. To make the humanitarian case for it is just as simple: coffee farmers deserve better.
One of the great mysteries of contemporary capitalism is the fact that as a system it appears absolutely incapable of responding to the crisis of climate change. Why can't a system that made the automobile into an accessible mass consumer good provide us with clean and efficient mass transit, or at the very least electric cars? On this matter, the forces of the market are curiously silent.
"Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid." Though I strongly agree with these words, they came from someone just a bit more glamorous than me -- Bono. The West's relationship with the poor is based on condescension and charity. When it comes to helping the poor get out of the poverty trap, one should not be trapped in preconceived ideas.
There are a number of human financial gurus working to help you become wealthy, and their advice is based on years if not decades of knowledge and experience. However, there are a number of microbial economic geniuses who have centuries of expertise developing "economic" success. Germs seem to have knowledge to keep economies solid.
At first sight, the reaction of the three big players to Verizon's possible entry onto the Canadian market seems to be another illustration of their tendency to quash competition. A casual observer might be tempted to think that they're trying to secure government protection against a new player that poses a real threat to their market shares. Nothing could be further from the truth.