Smart Links 07 May 2012
Commentary on the death of the middle class, on-line university, rule of law in China, unlocking creativity, and the case for 60 million Canadians by 2050.
“The competition is maddening!”
New York Times – Death of a Salesman
ARTHUR MILLER’s “Death of a Salesman,” now on Broadway in a Tony-nominated revival — and starring a heart-shattering Philip Seymour Hoffman as a Willy Loman for the ages — is the most devastating portrait of punctured middle-class dreams in our national literature.
The changing competition in university education.
New York Times – The Campus Tsunami
Online education is not new.
Getting a fair shake in China.
Financial Times -- A lotus rising from the muck of modern China
Chen Guangcheng has no law degree and, blind since he was one, has to rely on family members to read legal documents to him.
Project Syndicate -- Chinese Shadows
These are interesting times in China.
thomsonreuters -- Unlocking the Key to Creativity
Science writing superstar Jonah Lehrer takes Reuters taxi challenge to explain the key concepts behind his latest besteller Imagine: How Creativity Works.
New Yorker – Groupthink
In the late nineteen-forties, Alex Osborn, a partner in the advertising agency B.B.D.O., decided to write a book in which he shared his creative secrets.
60 million Canadians by 2050.
Globe and Mail -- Why Canada needs a flood of immigrants
Between now and 2021, a million jobs are expected to go unfilled across Canada.
Related, excerpt from a speech I am giving on 29 May 2012 for the Association of Professional Economists of British Columbia.
Well rather than leave you with the simple and obvious conclusion that in the environment I have just described the Canadian dollar and the TSX will be weaker by about 10-15% because the country’s economic momentum has become so resource driven, I would like to suggest that Canada actually has a tremendous opportunity to move forward while so much of the world is moving backward.
The fact is that Canada is geographically vast, sparsely populated, is next door to history’s most powerful country, and has spent two centuries consistently finding peaceful solutions to including a distinct language and cultural population situated in the geographic heart of the country that could leave to make their own and end Canada as we know it.
Canada has become a sophisticated, bilingual, peaceful, open, wealthy, and increasing urban country whose growth is significantly driven by the success of the children of new Canadians competing in the global economy.
To begin with Canada is one of the few developed countries that can double the size of its population by mid-century by simply maintaining current fertility rates and per capita immigration levels.
I think that it should be an explicit goal to double Canada’s population by 2050 to 60 million people consistent with the country’s history of a doubling of the population every 50 years or so.
Already at current trends, Canada will pass Germany in total population by 2070 and Japan by about 2080.
Canada’s success at integrating immigrants and more importantly the first born generation of immigrants did not happen by accident.
Some of you may know that although immigrants to Canada typically earn about 70% of Canada’s median income the first born generation of immigrants have average education and economic outcomes that are higher than other Canadians.
This is a consequence of three things: the points system to differentiate immigrants, family unification policies, and Canada’s largely best in class instruments of social justice namely health, education, and justice.
The reason for the importance of the first point is obvious as systematically screening the people who come to Canada is more likely to create the conditions for success.
The reason for the importance of the second is perhaps less obvious, and it is that immigrants to Canada have very few networks of support on arrival a problem that is a huge issue for non-working spouses and children.
Having an extended family creates an emotional, health and education safely zone for family members particularly for children after school and during long holidays in homes where both parents work.
Having a doting grandparent, aunt or uncle at home with a good meal and a stern eye to studying is of uncalculable importance in creating best in class education and health outcomes.
The third reason, instruments of social justice, help create the conditions for intergenerational mobility which is the key to Canada’s success.
As a good friend of mine likes to put it, Canada's genius is to take people from third and even fourth world backgrounds and in one generation transform their children into productive first world Canadian citizens.
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