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Pretty tough critique in the Globe and Mail:

Mediocrity

From the article:
""Canadians are complacent and generally unwilling to take risks. This culture holds Canada back."

I was surprised to see Switzerland as #1 on the list. What's so exciting about the Swiss?

Do you think these comments are fair? I was surprised by the literacy rate problems they mentioned.
 

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Businesses are taxed too much to take risks, little capital means little reinvestment in advancing their business and technology. Not to say that Canadians aren't creative, because when we do it, we can compete with the best of them, i.e. RIM.

I'm not surprised about the Swiss, look at Ikea, one of the most innovative businesses in the world, and known to develop products that push the envelope. A lot of creative thinking, from the manufacturing, to the inventory of products. Ever see their plant, ah inspiring.
 

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Maybe Canadians are mediocre innovators, perhaps they're just mediocre journalists--and readers.

Given the opportunity to critique the Conference Board of Canada report, the Globe & Mail instead simply repeats its findings.

That isn't journalism or reportage: that's plagiaristic photocopying, lazy and devoid of critical thinking.

Even lazy journalists bother to get an opposing viewpoint or, sometimes, re-inforce the findings of a report they have chanced across--instead of just repeating it.

Think about it: the Conference Board of Canada exists in order to... (1) perpetuate itself and (2) get its rich members easy access to more riches, perhaps by publishing reports that conclude that we need government to stimulate innovative thinking. And how do they do that?

Here is the Conference Board of Canada's Board of Directors:
Board of Directors

Do you really think that these people are mediocre non-innovative Canadians?
 

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I think these studies are stupid. I believe that Canadian's are innovative and we have done all sorts of cool things in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

A lot of what we do is based on an economic decision of what is financially the most efficient way to do things (e.g. waste generation). Claiming a lack of innovation is missing the larger point of what drives innovation.
 

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Canadian By Choice
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"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.


God Bless our Canada,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless our Canada
My home sweet home."

With apologies to Irving Berlin, a fellow Jewish New Yorker. He would understand this posting, I believe.

http://www.geocities.com/god_bless_america_lyrics/katesmith1.wav

No one sings it better than Kate Smith.
 

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I look forward to hearing your commentary on the report once you've read it, reflecting your critical thinking this time instead of just another rant.
If I write and publish a peer-reviewed journal response, I'll let you know.
 

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This is part of a longterm strategy by business interests, the Department of Finance and the Department of Industry to increase productivity in Canada (ie. make you work harder for the same, but certainly not more, money).

The strategy is akin to what happened in the early 90's when David Dodge decided that our deficit spending was the biggest holdback to the economy. He, along with the Department of Finance and the Chretien government commissioned lots of public opinion polls to determine how they could get the electorate to buy into this idea and make sure they believed that everyone was taking an equal hit.

Now the Department of Finance and Department of Industry have decided that worker productivity is the biggest problem and are working towards fixing that.

You can expect to see many more articles like this in the coming months and years and you will see the focus gradually start to narrow in on productivity, rather than the broader results of this report.

You can see the general themes in this report, for example, Canada gets a strong mark in education:

The only area in which Canada receives an A is education, mainly because the country is good at pumping large quantities of students through to postsecondary institutions.
This is important because education is what many in the electorate consider to be the primary thing holding them back...the CBB wants people to think that there isn't a problem with education...you can do it now!!

At the other end of the spectrum, Canada's low levels of literacy are "shocking," and prevent workers from functioning efficiently and competently in the labour force, the report says. As well, employer investment in training is falling.
Since the CBB says there is nothing wrong with the education system, at least until you get to the very high end, the reason we have "shocking(ly)" low levels of literacy isn't the education system...so what is it?

These two are very closely tied in the mind of the electorate. If someone says we have low literacy levels, the electorate will automatically think it is because the education system is letting us down. The structure of this report is designed to lead people away from that conclusion and towards the "lack of productivity" conclusion (later in the article).

In the economy, health and society domains, Canada gets a B - although lack of innovation is impeding progress.
Translation: Rich people in this country can't make money off the healthcare system and have to wait in the same lines as commoners...this is unacceptable.

In health care, Canada does well at saving people from the flu and pneumonia, but performance on infant mortality and death from diabetes is weak.
Again, most of the electorate experience our healthcare system through minor things such as colds and injuries and don't have many complaints. Most Canadians don't have much of an idea how well it handles major problems that could result in death.

The CBB admits what people already know...great for colds...and tries to scare them with issues they don't have much awareness about.

In economics, Canada gets top marks for low inflation, and does well in growth, labour productivity and unemployment.

It gets low marks, however, for its ability to attract foreign direct investment, which often brings in fresh ideas, more investment, advanced technology and entrepreneurial ideas.
Translation: Let the Americans buy out the country and the rich will make lots of money through the sale of shares.

Canada's scientists don't keep up with their global peers in the number of articles published, and its inventors don't keep up in the number of patents, the report shows.
Translation: You are fat and lazy.

"Canadians are complacent and generally unwilling to take risks," the report scolds. "This culture holds Canada back."
Translation: Canadians are actually happy and satisfied with their lives and don't feel the need to abandon their families and hobbies to increase shareholder value for the companies they work for. This is problematic for rich people who aren't happy or satisfied and want even more money then they have...even if they aren't sure what they will do with it all.
 

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Zoz, your translator is broken; possibly smashed by a large conspiracy theory.

What is the translation for, "Canada needs to increase its spending on social programs if rates of child and working-age poverty are to decrease."?

As for productivity, it has been a concern for a very long time. Politicians started tentatively jumping on the bandwagon some years ago, but maybe this time they'll get serious about it. Of course, it takes more than just politicians.
 

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Translation: Canadians are actually happy and satisfied with their lives and don't feel the need to abandon their families and hobbies to increase shareholder value for the companies they work for. This is problematic for rich people who aren't happy or satisfied and want even more money then they have...even if they aren't sure what they will do with it all.
I'd actually concur with this.

Who says more is better?

“Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? Success or failure: which is more destructive? If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao-tzu
 

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Zoz, your translator is broken; possibly smashed by a large conspiracy theory.

What is the translation for, "Canada needs to increase its spending on social programs if rates of child and working-age poverty are to decrease."?
To further your conspiracy theory concerns, I believe the article is worded in such a way that things like this can be quoted to try to distract from what the article is actually about.

There isn't a lot of money that business can make off serving the poor so make yourself sound softer by saying we should target some spending there.

As I mentioned at the top of my last post, this is about adapting the electorate to a "work harder" attitude and they are placing the frog in the pot before bringing it to a boil.

As for productivity, it has been a concern for a very long time. Politicians started tentatively jumping on the bandwagon some years ago, but maybe this time they'll get serious about it. Of course, it takes more than just politicians.
Pollsters have long noted that the electorate doesn't like talk of productivity because they associate such talk with them being lazy. Right now, I am aware that a lot of public opinion polls are being produced to try to find the right way to sell this notion to Canadians without upsetting them (similar to what they did in the early 90's to get the electorate onboard with deficit cutting).
 

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Right, so quotes favourable to your theory reinforce your theory, as do quotes that are unfavourable. That makes sense.

Productivity is also about a lot more than just working harder and it is quite important for Canada. As for getting the public interested, the same thing goes on for child care, electoral reform etc. Lots of people researching ways to do things better but competing for a limited amount of public interest. No conspiracies needed.

The report also criticised environmental performance in specific areas, but that's probably just part of the coverup or somebody will make money off of it so they bought their way into the conclusions.

Heck the report had lots of stuff (useful and not useful, in my opinion), but that does not matter. Rich people propaganda or covering up for the rich people propaganda. What we need is high unemployment, low productivity and high government deficits to show them rich people what fer!
 

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Right, so quotes favourable to your theory reinforce your theory, as do quotes that are unfavourable. That makes sense.
It makes sense when it comes to a propaganda piece. Highlight what you can't make money off of and call for increase social spending in that area while making sure the overall article drives home your point.

Come on Beej, you and I both know these things are put together in committees often with the help of marketing agencies in order to sell people on things that they might not like if it was put forward in a blunt way.

Productivity is also about a lot more than just working harder and it is quite important for Canada. As for getting the public interested, the same thing goes on for child care, electoral reform etc. Lots of people researching ways to do things better but competing for a limited amount of public interest. No conspiracies needed.
I agree 100% with you and, for the record, you were the one who started talking conspiracies...I'm just thinking marketing. :)

One thing that working stiffs like me have to watch out for, and really what was on my mind when I made my original post, is that we make sure we get paid for working harder, smarter or any other "er" that might come along.

The report also criticised environmental performance in specific areas, but that's probably just part of the coverup or somebody will make money off of it so they bought their way into the conclusions.
It is one of the, possibly "the", top ranking issue on the public's mind these days...not a bad thing to slip in between uneducated and lazy.

Heck the report had lots of stuff (useful and not useful, in my opinion), but that does not matter. Rich people propaganda or covering up for the rich people propaganda. What we need is high unemployment, low productivity and high government deficits to show them rich people what fer!
Again, I'm just raising awareness of this longterm strategy and raising the issue on this forum so that those of us in the employment sector are aware that they will be looking for more work for less money from us down the road.
 

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A long-term strategy of higher productivity as well as better environmental, educational and social outcomes? Bastards! We should give up the productivity gains of the last 50 years for our own good, and that's just for starters.

Zoz, you've spun yourself into a hole. It may be more fun (doesn't everyone like getting dizzy once in a while?), but you could always try just thinking about what kinds of things would make Canada better, or what kinds of things in the report you think would not. That's just an option, and not nearly as fun as your existing posts.
 
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