The pitfalls of a global market

It's the Domino Effect again, but on a bigger scale.

As is “normal” in the crazy world of newspaper deadlines, I am writing this Jan. 3 editorial well before Jan. 1. Therefore, the world is still abuzz with predictions for 2013.

Some of them are happy, some of them are not. Some of them are funny. Just about all of them involve money and the “fiscal cliff” that we’re all going to leap off of together, like it’s one big bungee jumping convention for lemmings.

Years ago, not that I have any supernatural means to look into the future, but when the US housing crisis began to bring down big businesses and should have brought down the banks, I said to myself: “This is the big one.”

And so it has been. Not like it was a hard one to call. The US has been marching towards this “cliff”, and alongside the “cliff” for years, proving that their economic policies are not sustaining. They have always had only one goal, and that is to make the rich richer.

And they criticize the way Canada spends its money?

But before we get too pleased with how well we manage in Canada, let’s face it: thanks to federal and provincial policies that have allowed extensive foreign ownership of Canadian resources and companies over the years, when the US financial system does implode, explode or jump off the “cliff”, we’re going with them.

We can’t prevent that.

The only thing we can do is be prepared. It’s a good thing, maybe, that we’ve been hardened for lean economic times here in the Interior. It’s helped us to be self-sufficient to some extent.

Many of our resources are managed by US companies – forestry, oil and gas, mining, even water – who extract it and sell it to us. If they go bankrupt, then no doubt their US creditors will step in and claim ownership. We need to be prepared to either fight for what is ours, or pick up the leftovers and start again.

It’s one thing to argue for free trade and global markets, but you have to remember: when one falls, the rest of us follow.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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