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Why Is Canada So Poor?


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I mean really, our economy outside of central Canada is growing quickly. Across the west, new roads are being built, things are being constantly improved. Oil exploration is increasing, other resource mining operations are being increased, I really don't see what your saying. How are we poor?

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Hilton Head is not a poor place.

Hilton Head. You aren't allowed to bring your pickup truck there. It is a resort, elite community. Since many of my nieces and nephews have travelled to the US and worked on Hilton Head in the service sector, I can tell you the stories they have regarding the poverty just a few miles away is frightening. Luckily the people are friendly. Maybe you missed the Single and Double Wide trailers which are homes for many of the inhabitants of that state.

Good Lord, Canada has been sliding rapidly, and getting by on the happy chance of having an abundance of Natural Resources. Yet we have sold these out, and even though Alberta is in a boom, it is not because of some supernatural political structure or economic vision. It is Black Gold.

Often our wealth resides with our policies. We decided sometime ago to tear down these policies for the "benefit" of Canadians and as we chip away at them, we slide further down the scale.

But to even mention a Millionaires retreat, and a Golfing region as the measure of a Nation is rather funny.

BTW there are plenty of Homes forsale in the US at this time. They are going for cheap.

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I have to agree with Jerry WRT the slide in the income of Canadians over the past quarter century. Outsourcing our manufacturing has resulted in the degredation of the average income of the working individual, a clear impact of the widening trade relations with developing nations. If we wish to recapture our income levels we must provide products/services that are worth more than we currently produce. That, and we need a gov't that provides us with a venue to export them, not to mention protect the remaining lower end manufacturing so we've got something to fall back on. The basic argument for paying a little more for Canadian made products.

Population density really impacts this figure. If the average 2 lane highway costs 10 000 $/km (ballpark) to develop and you take a look at the population base that has to connect with each other across Canada, that figures into a substantially higher investment per capita vs. the US. Granted they have more roads, but there is a savings with the higher population density (10 x Can). The same applies to electrical power distribution, water/sewage distribution & treatment, bridge construction, telephone infrastructure (gov't installed in both the US and Canada - for the most part). Results in greater tax burden/ capita.

More extreme examples of this effect lie in the post WWII era. Japan was bombed flat with 50% of their population killed and two cities vaporized in 1945 and is now one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Like England, they have no real resources of their own and must import everything. Unlike the UK their neighbors really don't like them very much and don't really trade with them. China, Korea, Malaysia ect. were really unimpressed with their behavior during WWII and tend to be prejudiced against them. Yet here they are. Europe is another good example: bombed flat (ok, no one got vaporized but it was pretty bad) with a big chunk of the population dead and split in half. Europe and Japan were able to quickly rebuild themselves because of high population densities that require less overall investment to get the populance around and connected.

Size of government is a popular straw man but really doesn't seem to be as much of a factor as one might think. If anything, the largest proportion of tax dollars that could be considered "sqaundered" would be the 33 Billion tax dollars we spend annually to finance the federal debt. With that kind of bank we could have a really kick ass military, healthcare system, educational system, space agency, and a healthy tax break. The concept that Canada is heavily socialized is nothing more than US political propaganda that's wandered across the border - right along with their ads saying we have no health care services, we live in igloos and no one owns a gun. IMV, anyone wishing to express frustration at our lack of services/$tax should be railing against our lack of progess on debt repayment.

As for our pals across the line, I say good on them! Considering that they've managed to build what they've built is pretty cool, but I don't think that we're sitting on our ass either. At least I'm not.... well I am posting at 4pm.... I apolgize in advance for my hurried editing....

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Smallc, I read quickly that Macleans article. Cutting through the sycophantic verbiage, I noted this:

The average American family earns $2,000/year more but its estimated wealth is $30,000 lower.

Even if I took these numbers at face value (I don't), I'd take the income for the wealth.

If I make $2,000 more than you but spend $3,000 per year eating M&M's then there is a good chance that you are not only wealthier than me but that your healthier than me.

Oops, sorry, according to your logic, I would still be wealthier than you because I made $2,000 more per year than you.

But, lo and behold, you conveniently don't bother to quote from the article explaining why Canadians have more wealth than Americans, so I will do it for you:

But while our incomes may be similar to American incomes, we're still much wealthier because we have less debt. What you make isn't a good measure of how rich you are — to figure out your true wealth you should add up everything you have and subtract what you owe. And Americans owe more. A lot more. Here in Canada the average amount of personal debt per person is US$23,460. In the U.S. it's a whopping US$40,250.

I have said it before and will say it again: just because a group of people have a bunch of shiny trinkets does not make them rich.

It makes them appear rich only because you aren't looking at the debt they used to buy those depreciating assets (and in 2008 depreciating assets now includes real estate).

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...I have said it before and will say it again: just because a group of people have a bunch of shiny trinkets does not make them rich.

It makes them appear rich only because you aren't looking at the debt they used to buy those depreciating assets (and in 2008 depreciating assets now includes real estate).

By such logic, the "richest" people on Earth run naked and debt free in tropical rain forests or sub-Saharan Africa.

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This nation is poor because we have fallen into the capitalistic trap of the consumer society. We buy goods that are produced in abundance with the utilization of a cheap labour environment. We are poor because we are producing less valuable products and are digressing into a resourced based economy. You can paint it any color you want but it will still be pale in comparison to the nations with cheap labour. That is a fact.

It is of course very possible to overcome this problem, but it is against the interests of the multi-national corporations that play the game of produce and tax. We have the technology to do what needs to be done, but not the foresight to act on our own behalf. It is a sad commentary on our society.

When you have corporations that have that much influence over governments, then you have a failing situation.

Canada is not a poor country by any standards. But it is getting poorer than 20 years ago. When good jobs are shipped over seas for cheap labour, it is a double whammy because those people that lost their jobs will never make that kind of cash again. So they can only afford those cheap ass products from overseas. This has been going on for quite a few years, but people are starting to realize and understand that now.

All that is good for the corporations bottom line, but never good for the customer (we are not consumers, once we get that mentality out of our heads, then we have the power to change things).

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By such logic, the "richest" people on Earth run naked and debt free in tropical rain forests or sub-Saharan Africa.

No, the richest people in the world understand that you get rich by earning an investment return in excess of your cost of capital. While you earn that investment return you don't spend the net difference, or in excess of the net difference (i.e. take on personal debt), by going into debt to buy useless trinkets.

That means that if your debt servicing is 5% and your investment return 8% (all after inflation adjustments of course) then you are likely to be wealthy in short order (assuming you don't booze it all up, for example).

If you are a typical American (and Canadian) then in reality you are looking at (in 2007/2008 at least) negative real investment returns, the start of higher interest rates, wage increases that are far below the inflation rate (at least the inflation rate released today), low to negative savings rates and, therefore, higher personal debt.

Now, what people like you and August1991 do not understand about things like: savings, wealth, net worth, assets, liabilities, equity, disposable income, personal consumption expenditure, real (inflation adjusted) versus nominal values etc... is, well, actually it isn't, surprising - it's called denial of the facts.

Edited by msj
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....Now, what people like you and August1991 do not understand about things like: savings, wealth, net worth, assets, liabilities, equity, disposable income, personal consumption expenditure, real (inflation adjusted) versus nominal values etc... is, well, actually it isn't, surprising - it's called denial of the facts.

Really? Then I guess I should ignore our net worth in excess of $1 million (and how it got that way) because the US dollar is being devalued, while truly "richer" Canadians bitch about the price of the iPhone and Rogers service contracts.

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Really? Then I guess I should ignore our net worth in excess of $1 million (and how it got that way) because the US dollar is being devalued, while truly "richer" Canadians bitch about the price of the iPhone and Rogers service contracts.

Now you are mixing up anecdotal evidence with statistical evidence. One of my criticisms I made earlier in this thread.

We can all find individual Americans who are richer or poorer than Canadians and vice versa. BFD.

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Now you are mixing up anecdotal evidence with statistical evidence. One of my criticisms I made earlier in this thread.

We can all find individual Americans who are richer or poorer than Canadians and vice versa. BFD.

Actually, it's a "BFD" because of your snide implications about August1991 and moi vis-a-vis "savings, wealth, net worth, assets, liabilities, equity, disposable income, personal consumption expenditure, real (inflation adjusted) versus nominal values etc"

Please tell all the Canadians lamenting their state of cell phone service costs, automotive retail prices, fuel costs, taxes, and other hose jobs just how much "richer" they are. Maybe the "statistics" will make them feel better.

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Actually, it's a "BFD" because of your snide implications about August1991 and moi vis-a-vis "savings, wealth, net worth, assets, liabilities, equity, disposable income, personal consumption expenditure, real (inflation adjusted) versus nominal values etc"

Please tell all the Canadians lamenting their state of cell phone service costs, automotive retail prices, fuel costs, taxes, and other hose jobs just how much "richer" they are. Maybe the "statistics" will make them feel better.

I guess it may be a BFD to you since you don't understand the difference between looking at it from the anecdotal level as compared to the statistical level.

I can point out that more American's are whining about waiting in line at Indymac to get their money out of the failed bank. Don't see Canadians doing that.

But why bother? It doesn't mean squat compared to actual statistics.

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I guess it may be a BFD to you since you don't understand the difference between looking at it from the anecdotal level as compared to the statistical level.

I don't care either way, but do chuckle at the plethora of complaints about "richer" Canadians comparing their lot in life compared to the "financially doomed" Americans, particularly since the loonie reached parity with the devalued US dollar.

I can point out that more American's are whining about waiting in line at Indymac to get their money out of the failed bank. Don't see Canadians doing that.

Do many Canadians bank at IndyMac? Americans whine about waiting in line for anything, especially health care...LOL!

But why bother? It doesn't mean squat compared to actual statistics.

Only you and your trusty HP-12C can answer this question.

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Canada is not a poor country by any standards. But it is getting poorer than 20 years ago. When good jobs are shipped over seas for cheap labour, it is a double whammy because those people that lost their jobs will never make that kind of cash again. So they can only afford those cheap ass products from overseas. This has been going on for quite a few years, but people are starting to realize and understand that now.

I'd like you to show me how we're so much poorer now.

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Do many Canadians bank at IndyMac? Americans whine about waiting in line for anything, especially health care...LOL!

How many Americans get their iphones from Rogers?

Ok, now do you see how pointless using anecdotal evidence is in this thread?

My bet is you don't....

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How many Americans get their iphones from Rogers?

Ok, now do you see how pointless using anecdotal evidence is in this thread?

My bet is you don't....

I'm just keepin' it real 'bro...mixing in some reality for the peeps with your pointy headed economic analysis. Maybe being richer means you pay more! :lol:

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I'd like you to show me how we're so much poorer now.

We can do a small study hehhe..

Take the average yearly income of 20 years ago adjust it for 2008 inflation. Also take into consideration the population growth since then.

Compare the cost of goods from then and now compare it to that average income, I would almost bet that the ratio of cost/wage has decreased.

Look at overall distrubution of wealth (ratio of wealthy to poor) and compare from 20 years ago to today.

The world is no richer than it was 100 years ago. If you are looking soley at the monetary value of paper money, which used to be backed by hard currency like gold (which no longer is the case now, so much more money than gold).

I make 50 grand a year. By many that is rich. However, I live a modest life. My parents 20 years ago together were making 50 grand, with modest living and supporting two children. I only have a cat.

Inflation kills whatever wealth richness that has been gained. Need more money?? Simply print it. This devalues the currency and makes it worth less over time.

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Take the average yearly income of 20 years ago adjust it for 2008 inflation. Also take into consideration the population growth since then.

uuhh.. by definition, an 'average' would take into consider 'population growth'...

The world is no richer than it was 100 years ago.

An obvious lie. The World is MUCh richer than it was 100 years ago by any measure you choose.

life expectancy? check

infant mortality? check

disposable income? check

people living below the poverty line (as defined by the UN in constant dollars) check.

What measures are you using besides your rectum?

The only way inflation 'kills' whatever wealth you have is if you keep your money under the mattress.

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We can do a small study hehhe..

Take the average yearly income of 20 years ago adjust it for 2008 inflation. Also take into consideration the population growth since then.

Compare the cost of goods from then and now compare it to that average income, I would almost bet that the ratio of cost/wage has decreased.

Look at overall distrubution of wealth (ratio of wealthy to poor) and compare from 20 years ago to today.

Inflation kills whatever wealth richness that has been gained. Need more money?? Simply print it. This devalues the currency and makes it worth less over time.

I was quite shocked some years ago to learn that when StatsCan calculates its inflation family "bread basket" as its basis for inflation and living standard changes it does NOT include increases in taxes!

Considering that we have experienced a HUGE increase in taxes over the time frame you posited, especially in the form of user fees and little extra taxes here and there, I wonder what that does to your equation to show how "rich" we are or used to be.

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uuhh.. by definition, an 'average' would take into consider 'population growth'...

An obvious lie. The World is MUCh richer than it was 100 years ago by any measure you choose.

life expectancy? check

infant mortality? check

disposable income? check

people living below the poverty line (as defined by the UN in constant dollars) check.

Ahh so it is all in how you look at it. What is being 'rich' is all about. For the most part, though, when you talk about wealth, you talk about how much money you have, banked money and assets.

And if you look at national debt...... how rich are we???

So we should define what is being rich and wealthy.

So where did all this money come from then? Any country can print money. Does that alone make it valuble??

Wild Bill

Considering that we have experienced a HUGE increase in taxes over the time frame you posited, especially in the form of user fees and little extra taxes here and there, I wonder what that does to your equation to show how "rich" we are or used to be.

That is something I had not considered. and you bring up a great point.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am wondering how you define rich. Does having good health in your 70's and 80's not mean that you are rich. Material goods are immaterial at that age. A roof over your head, a full stomach and good friends and family are what make you rich aren't they?

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I am wondering how you define rich. Does having good health in your 70's and 80's not mean that you are rich. Material goods are immaterial at that age. A roof over your head, a full stomach and good friends and family are what make you rich aren't they?

Here in Ontario just a few years ago the NDP defined anyone earning more than $60k/yr as rich. Including Toronto!

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