Well not exactly. But Larry Page, co-founder of Google, does tell us that working a 40-hour week is an out-moded employment model. He believes that through smart design and technology we could work a four-day week or less. Now, with over $32 billion in the bank it is easy for Page to make such lofty assertions, but he might have a point.
Americans could learn a lot from Canada -- but they don't have a clue. And they don't want to. When I first moved to northern Washington state and began covering Canada for Dow Jones' U.S. business site MarketWatch.com, I spoke at a local Rotary Club. The members were mostly college graduates and business leaders. I gave a quiz about Canada to the Rotarians, who share a Rotary district with B.C. I asked: What's the capital of Canada? Maybe half the members knew. OK, who is Canada's Prime Minister? Even fewer hands went up. Many Americans don't just have their heads up their butts; they also seem to enjoy the view.
Think of the U.S.-Canada economic relationship as a hockey game (remember hockey? Sigh.) In the first year, despite the distractions posed by the 2012 elections and a series of U.S. budget battles, the governments of Canada and the United States have made a strong start on improving border and regulatory cooperation.
Parkinson's Law, in its original form, states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." This was a humorous attempt at mathematically describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time -- the consequence of which is something that Washington is now dealing with. Hence the mania over the so-called "fiscal cliff" as the clock is ticking towards the January 1st and 2nd deadlines.
Last week, a casualty of China's unfair treatment of foreign investors spoke privately about the new trade deal signed between Ottawa and Beijing. Ottawa capitulated to China on everything. The deal, using a hockey metaphor, allows only a select few to play on Team Canada on a small patch of ice in China and to be fouled, without remedies or referees.