oulfis: A teacup next to a plate of scones with clotted cream and preserves. (Default)
 There's a strange convergence between my classes and the Occupy Wall Street movement. On alternate days I am either reading and discussing the alternative comics movement, or 'tactical media' artistic interventions in the context of revolution. Then I read about the protests gaining steam, and I think, I should join this. And then I think, but I'm moving to Canada so soon.

There are spin-off protests in Toronto and Vancouver too, and I can see why-- Harper is awful-- but I realised, as I was reading about the Zapatistas, why I think Canada is so superior:

In Canada, there are still people for me to elect.

The conservatives won the last election but I don't think they'll win the next. And I think an NDP government would actually be different. In the U.S., I don't have anyone to vote for - the Democrats and Republicans are pretty much identical in every way that matters to me, and the Greens will never get elected. In Canada, I'm still satisfied with the traditional process.

Maybe, having grown up in the U.S., I should care more about the country, not be so ready to write the whole thing off. But I don't think it's fixable without decades of work, and I don't want to give the U.S. those decades of my life. I'm moving to Canada in May.
oulfis: A teacup next to a plate of scones with clotted cream and preserves. (Default)
Quarterly GDP data don’t, on the whole, tend to make the person studying them laugh out loud. The most recent set, however, are an exception, despite the fact that the general picture is of unrelieved and spreading economic gloom. Instead of the surge of rebounding growth which historically accompanies successful exit from a recession, we have the UK’s disappointing 0.2 per cent growth, the US’s anaemic 0.3 per cent and the glum eurozone average figure of 0.2 per cent. That number includes the surprising and alarming German 0.1 per cent, the desperately poor French 0 per cent and then, wait for it, the agreeably frisky Belgian 0.7 per cent. Why is that, if you’ve been following the story, laugh-aloud funny? Because Belgium doesn’t have a government. Thanks to political stalemate in Brussels, it hasn’t had one for 15 months. No government means none of the stuff all the other governments are doing: no cuts and no ‘austerity’ packages. In the absence of anyone with a mandate to slash and burn, Belgian public sector spending is puttering along much as it always was; hence the continuing growth of their economy. It turns out that from the economic point of view, in the current crisis, no government is better than any government – any existing government.


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