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Posted: January 23, 2016

Things can’t go on like this much longer

Gerry WarnerPerceptions by Gerry Warner

I see the stock markets recovered Friday and I guess that’s a good thing because they’ve lost billions since the beginning of the year and stocks have been going up and down like a crazy yo-yo, which introduces a topic I bring up with great trepidation.

I call it The Great Correction.

I don’t know about you, but I enter 2016 with very little optimism about the future of our planet and the great civilization we’ve built on it. It’s a great civilization alright, but it rests on a foundation of contradictions that seem to grow more numerous every day.

Contradictions, you ask? Let me enumerate just a few. Yes, we’re creating more wealth all the time, but where’s it going? Not to you and me! Oh sure we’re comfortable, but did you know that according to ‘Working for the Few,’ a new book just released by Oxfam International, the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth ($110 trillion) as the rest of the world combined? The book goes on to say that in the US the wealthiest one per cent have recovered 95 per cent of what they lost in the Great Recession of 2008 – 09 while the bottom 90 per cent of Americans became poorer.

Good-bye middle class. How long before there’s rioting in the streets?

So world finances are in a mess, but what about politics? Well, the countries of the enlightened West, including Canada, are still dropping bombs in the Middle East and killing terrorists and civilians alike and what do they have to show for the carnage? An Orwellian war without end and the greatest refugee migration the world has known since the Second World War, and for all we know, since the writing of the Bible.

Are you proud of that? Do you think a situation like this is sustainable without greater consequences? Will all the non-terrorists in the Middle East – and that’s the great majority –move to the West to get away from being killed by terrorists or bombed by us? Don’t you think it’s time Justin Trudeau acted on his promise to bring our jets home?

Then there’s climate change. Did you know that good ol’ “fair and balanced” Fox News just released a poll saying only three per cent of Americans regard climate change as a priority concern. Nearly 40 per cent of Americans continue to think climate change is “not a serious problem,” according to another recent poll by ABC news and the Washington Post. This despite a record breaking 2015 forest fire season in the US and a four year drought in California that has many Americans looking north for their future water supply.

And we’ll probably give it to them. After all, we gave them the Columbia River.

Then there’s the insane real estate bubble in Vancouver where no detachable house costs less than $1 million now and the lights continue to go out on “dark homes” purchased by offshore investors who don’t live in them. Is that a way to build a progressive city? Pretty soon the only affordable size home in Vancouver will be a doghouse.

And I haven’t even mentioned the acidification of the world’s oceans, the collapse in fish stocks, “super bugs” as we enter a post-antibiotic era where infections that used to be treatable could kill us. And dare I say Donald Trump – where last week the British Parliament seriously debated banning him from the country? Nor did I bring up plunging oil prices, which has the Alberta economy on its knees and may soon do the same to the rest of Canada as much as we like 99 cent gas.

Then again, we see the open arms with which Canadians are welcoming Syrian refugees. That’s inspiring and acts as some balm for all the horror stories I’ve listed above. But don’t kid yourself. We’re entering a dark valley in this Chinese Year of the Monkey. And if we want to get that monkey off our backs we’ve got to change our profligate ways.

Otherwise Mother Earth and Mother Nature will take their revenge and it won’t be pretty. That’s what I mean by “Great Correction.”

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and occasional pessimist.

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