Week 4: Economics & Society

Egalitarians know best

There’s an egalitarian saying that goes, ‘Oil and Democracy Don’t Mix’. Incredibly, it’s not just a little-known backyard theory; it’s a well-documented global fact. The fact being: when the government strives to put oil revenues above all else, all else fails.

All of the major oil and gas export countries provide the basis for these facts and they reside in the Middle East, Africa, Russia, Venezuela, etc. Not surprising is these countries are not democracies, and in this type ‘oil windfall’ thinking the relationship is such that the government becomes a boss and the citizens lose all rights to the revenue. More so, the citizens lose their voice in the face of economic distortion and lost political freedom as the state widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Bad economics = wider gap

To see this gap in perspective one need only imagine a pyramid with the small triangle at the top representing the wealthy, the next small trapezium is the middle class and the large bottom trapezium represents the poor who are left to struggle in survival mode.

wealthmodelideas-FB851x315Since survival mode demands so much focus from an individual, by its nature it consumes every waking moment. And, since self-expression is the next level up from survival and is where the individual has more freedom of thought, it is necessary to be at least at that point for democracy to endure.

Ideally, we are looking for a wealth distribution shape that is a diamond: where the small triangle at the top represents the wealthy; the next large rhombus is the middle class and the small bottom inverted triangle is where the poor can rise up from – ideally that is.

Again, what we are seeing in Canada at this very moment is a government that has turned our democratic rights into authoritarian wrongs in pursuit of self-aggrandizement at a cost we cannot afford. The common term for what they are doing is ‘bad governance’ and the economic and environmental consequences we are facing will be catastrophic if we do not stop them now.

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