Friday, October 10, 2014

RE comments on Infinite Exponential Growth.

I've received a comment by 'Ron Waller' on my previous post on infinite growth, this is my response.
The anti-growthers are barking up the wrong tree. Whether or not a society has a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and recyclable materials depends entirely on regulations, not economic growth. The focus needs to be on convincing people to support green regulations and a green-energy economy.
I'll get to the points about a "green-energy economy" later. However "anti-growthers" I will address now. I am not "anti-growth", rather I simply don't believe in it, have faith in it, and have never seen any convincing cases that it is possible into infinity. We are seeing limits to growth all around us everyday.
Fact is we will create GDP growth transforming to a green economy whether we want to or not. Some ways to go greener: build mass transit systems; subsidize broadband internet (wired and wireless) to reduce need for high-energy-consumption travel; build green-energy power systems; change from combustible engine cars to electric cars; develop driverless cars which will change the nature of transportation; etc. All these activities create economic growth.

Whether we want to or not? Not quite. Utilizing all types of energy available and skirting regulation while central banks have kept monetary policy in emergency response mode to supposedly entice borrowing and drive liquidity hasn't exactly been working too well. It's now 6 years since 2008 and we're still "recovering".

As for the initial suggestions: The major problem I see with most of them is that you believe we can both simultaneously grow from our already engorged state which will require even more energy and resource consumption from that which we currently consume (it's been 100% proven there is a direct correlation to energy consumption and GDP growth) while also changing from what is a very dense high return energy source to a more diffuse one. The other problem is that technological changes at the top do not alter the fact that our entire technological base is founded on oil. Don't get me wrong, I'm very much in favour of sustainability, but real sustainability, you know the kind that.. sustains. Forever.

So for instance you mention electric cars: first of all electricity is not a power source, it must be generated from another power source and I don't know if you've compared the costs and power generation capacity of wind farms, or solar panels, but they certainly will not be powering everything we have now and the addition of 800,000,000+ electric vehicles all running on the grid. Second you are not accounting for the materials and energy consumption that is going to be required to replace 800,000,000+ cars on the roads today. It takes 7 gallons of oil to create a tire, 3 times the car's body weight in oil to produce a whole car. We have to mine metals, pave roads and run regular maintenance on all of it. We can barely keep up with road deterioration as is.

You're correct however in that "all of those activities create economic growth", that does not mean however that the economic growth generated by those activities will be enough to actually grow the economy in aggregate.

So like evolution in electronics (smart phones and TVs, for example,) there is a process of creative destruction going on that puts an emphasis on energy efficiency. As long as it's done responsibly (recycling materials) it is not only positive, but necessary. We need technological advancement to go green. For example, if we build arrays of wind turbines across the country and find ways to make them more efficient, we need to rebuild or upgrade them. Same with solar power arrays. Same with cars, homes and buildings. 
GDP (economic) growth means wealth creation. Wealth is created by people getting a return on their savings and investments (compound interest.) As long as all segments of society benefit from wealth creation, wealthier is always better. It provides the means by which a society can go greener. It provides the means by which people can realize their potential. Since health and education spending are measured as a percentage of GDP, GDP growth means we will have more money to invest in these and other areas. 
No, wealth is not created by people "getting a return on their investments" with compound interest. In fact compound interest, along with fiat currency (which represents debt or "wealth from the future"), and fractional reserve banking are all large parts of the problem which put society into a situation where infinite economic growth is required to service the status quo. Mike Maloney does a great series on how the modern monetary system actually works, I suggest you look at it. But for the purposes of this response I will say wealth is a return on energy invested. The more energy you get in return for the energy you expend the wealthier you are. We use currency to represent this stored energy.

The problem with compound interest and debt based currency is that because there is always more interest owing than there is currency in existence due to the fact that all currency is loaned into existence and has compound interest attached to it is that we make the assumption embodied in our monetary system that the future will always be larger than the past. We assume that we will always be able to increase production, exponentially, to pay off in real wealth the interest + principal of the outstanding loans and when that can't happen the whole system goes into a tailspin.

What precipitated the 2008 financial collapse? Oil at $147 / barrel and gas prices on the frontpage of every newspaper. The cost of everything skyrocketed, people had to use credit to afford their gas bills, and eventually when the credit ran out the missed payments began and the whole house of cards came down. Was the issue the banks? Yes, but it could have gone on longer had oil prices not dampened consumption and created a deflationary situation. Though had the banks acted proper "economic growth" would be nowhere near what we claim it is today, the overblown housing market created wealth out of thin air -- for awhile. As it is today too with the central banks and their ultra low interest rates, expensive energy, limited credit. Our inability to really get economic growth going is a direct result of an energy crisis, not a shortage but a crisis in the sense that we have it but it is becoming very expensive to produce and very expensive to consume due to the shrinking energy return on energy ratio we are getting for production.

So while we may be "swimming in oil" as the latest buzzword says, we're drowning in costs, and the central banks are trying to offset this by "creating wealth" through loans and returns to investors but currency itself is not wealth, its just paper, and printing more paper or creating more digital signals does not put food on tables - cheap energy does. We can print all the currency we like but the reality is it does not change our actual balance of excess energy which we utilize for economic production. The more energy we spend producing energy the less energy is available for "growth". It's simple math that if growth requires production of more energy than we had before, and our excess energy (that energy we do not spend extracting more energy) is shrinking, then growth is going to likewise shrink too. Contraction.
The real problem is free-market social Darwinism that allows a small minority of oligarchs (whether "democratic" or fascist) to hog up most of the wealth.
The anti-growthers don't realize their alternative to economic growth is some form of communism (full government control over the economy.) Historically, the cause tends to get lost in the revolution and a totalitarian dictatorship is created.
I don't know if you've realized this or not, but we're pretty much already there. All of the "democratic nations" have fully armed militarized riot police trained to put down the coming protests and riots as the economic situation around the world worsens. We saw them at the G20 in Toronto, we saw them in Ferguson recently. The oligarchs you speak of know that a major economic contraction is already in the works and are simply kicking the can down the road long enough until they're prepared to handle the result. It's not like it's going to be a voluntary thing either though, I am not against growth - I've simply accepted the reality that it is a mathematical impossibility. It's not going to be optional, but the further pursuit of it is only going to lead us into more dangerous territory. The more expensive the world becomes due to diminishing energy supplies, the more shortcuts were going to start taking, the more activities like fracking, and oilsands become appealing.

Another positive about GDP growth is that it created wealthy developed countries which have negative population growth. They only way to stop runaway population growth is to raise living standards across the globe and increase immigration to developed countries.
At this point I have to question if you really understand the concepts I'm talking about. It created wealthy countries during the cheapest energy era the world had ever seen. It's very easy to grow and raise living standards with lots of plentiful cheap energy, but its a much different ball game going from cheap energy to expensive energy. Yes, wind-farms and solar panels - relative to conventional oil - are very expensive and provide poor returns. They are also not nearly as mobile, depend on an oil based supply chain and advanced oil based technologies like micro-computers. They are not truly "alternative energy" but rather "derivative energy" as their production and operation depends entirely on an oil based supply chain.
In order to accomplish this we need to use the centrist mixed-market economy — which created modern living standards in the post-war era — on a global scale (it's a balance between free-market capitalism and communism.) Communism is not an option. Free-market ideology creates a balkanized globe and regulatory race to the bottom which is the cause of all our problems, economic and environmental.
In the post-war era energy was cheap, currency was sound and based on real money, and Ronald Reagan hadn't happened yet. The world economies today are a much different beast and also rely much more heavily on financial magic and market fraud to "balance the books". The system as a whole is much more unstable, much more dependent, and much less resilient. In the post-war era "farming" was still a viable career, today most people get their food from the grocery store. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges and the thing about economic growth is, if you don't grow then you're contracting. We can't go back in time and "do it right", we have a huge economy now and much of it is based on fraud and junk bonds and it must grow. The emergency financial measures, currency wars, trade wars, and resource wars that have broken out over the last 20 years are growing evidence that those with a vested interest in the world's resources are getting antsy. We'll likely blow ourselves up into instability long before the economic impacts take their logical course.
"How exactly do you produce more without utilizing more resources to do it? It's pretty simple, you don't."Physical goods can be produced without using more resources if they are created using renewable energy and recyclable materials.Of course, many of the goods and services being created are information based, which use very few (potentially renewable) resources in their creation, reproduction and transportation.

Actually, the resources required to run "the internet" are massive. Multitudes of servers, wires, and electronics which are produced, and reproduced at an alarming rate - giant server farms on the electricity grids. The internet is the single largest energy and resource consumer mankind has ever created.

What we really need to focus on is uniting activists around the globe to demand action that representational governments are unwilling to take (because they represent oligarchs, not people.)
Whether one believes in economic growth or not, the people need to unite to demand that: a) we put the right regulations in place to create a sustainable economy; b) we tax the rich (income taxes, wealth surtaxes, estate taxes, financial transaction taxes, etc.) so we can make the necessary investments to create a sustainable economy. 
I think its better to focus on what kind of regulations and investments are needed, because any which way you slice it, they are sorely needed.
I agree. The problem is that under the current economic model there is simply not enough capital to make the transition - the cheapest, biggest return will always win. Due to the dependence of advanced energy sources on older energy sources and an oil based supply chain it is incredibly unlikely derivative energy sources can become cheaper in terms of energy invested and energy returned than the energy and materials upon which the technology is based on and which have a much better rate of return. The fact that we're even willing to pursue projects like oilsands whose returns are dubious at best shows where we are in this energy story and how desperate we might get. We're not going to be making smart decision, we're going to be making what appear to be the cheapest solutions and that is reinforced by a GDP economy which demands growth. When a company needs to enact cost savings for growth they are usually cutting corners, or over working people, reducing quality, etc. This is not an avenue towards a better future, but rather a worse one.

Absolutely we need to go after the oligarchs. They are the bankers putting compound interest on the currency we borrow into existence and which we must pay back with our hard earned labour. I'm not exactly sure where you got the idea compound interest is providing returns for anyone but the oligarchs, for compound interest is one of the ways they rob us. I'm all for a sustainable economy, but sustainable and growth are not going to go hand in hand. Nothing sustainable grows forever, nothing.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Infinite Exponential Growth: The religion of modern "economics" and blowing steam up your ass

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of writing about the obvious limits to growth we're encountering is trying to clearly describe the difference between infinite exponential growth, and limited linear growth. True believers in the infinite growth model supposedly fuelled by infinite fiat currency often try to use linear models to justify their claims which might sound good until you fully examine exactly what it is they're saying, and exactly what it is they're claiming often to discover that the evidence provided doesn't back the claim.

The other day I came across an article by Paul Krugman where he uses an example of "slow steaming", a process enacted by cargo ships following the spike in oil prices in 2008, to attempt to show that you can indeed "produce" more for less. His example sounds great taken out of the context of the larger macro economic implications and ignoring externalities. Let's take a look:
After 2008, when oil prices rose sharply, shipping companies — which send massive container ships on regular “pendulum routes”, taking stuff (say) from Rotterdam to China and back again — responded by reducing the speed of their ships. It turns out that steaming more slowly reduces fuel consumption more than proportionately to the reduction in speed.

So what happens when you switch to slow steaming? Any one ship will carry less freight over the course of a year, because it can do fewer swings of the pendulum (although the number of trips won’t fall as much as the reduction in speed, because the time spent loading and unloading doesn’t change.) But you can still carry as much freight as before, simply by using more ships — that is, by supplying more labor and capital. If you do that, output — the number of tons shipped — hasn’t changed; but fuel consumption has fallen.

And of course by using still more ships, you can combine higher output with less fuel consumption. There is, despite what some people who think they’re being sophisticated somehow believe, no reason at all that you can’t produce more while using less energy. It’s not a free lunch — it requires more of other inputs — but that’s just ordinary economics. Energy is just an input like other inputs.
Interesting isn't it? I tell you, this is a doozy and for someone not versed in energy economics it probably sounds pretty convincing but let's take a closer look.
First of all, notice the huge jump in language: Here he is talking about shipping product - not producing product - yet his conclusion is "no reason at all that you can’t produce more while using less energy" yet examining the energy used in the actual production of the product being shipped is mysteriously missing. How exactly do you produce more without utilizing more resources to do it? It's pretty simple, you don't. But when it comes to his argument and the glaring holes in it this is just the tip of the ice berg and you don't have to be very "sophisticated" to figure this stuff out.
His second big glaring hole in his argument is where he then goes to say: "But you can still carry as much freight as before, simply by using more ships — that is, by supplying more labor and capital. If you do that, output — the number of tons shipped — hasn’t changed; but fuel consumption has fallen.". So you get that folks? If you go a little bit slower but deploy more ships, more capital, and more labour, you can carry the same amount of cargo. So three "mores" to get the "same" and supposedly this proves you can do "more" with "less"? Perhaps in terms of the energy consumption of each individual ship itself but when you aggregate all of the additional inputs required (such as the energy and materials to build even more ships to ship the same amount of cargo) you're not really doing more with less at all now are you?
Krugman dismisses this inconvenient truth by saying "It’s not a free lunch — it requires more of other inputs — but that’s just ordinary economics. Energy is just an input like other inputs.". Of course what he doesn't say is that all of those other additional inputs also require energy, at the end of every point in the supply chain is energy and resources so to say other inputs are like energy isn't very accurate as those other inputs likewise have their own inputs and at the very tip of all of them is energy. You must aggregate the energy demand from the entire supply chain to prove a gain. More capital, more labour, more materials translates to more energy required just simply coming from different places. As we discuss often on this blog, and as my readers should know, capital or currency simply represents spent energy. Your paycheque represents the energy you exerted during your working hours. All capital represents energy and all transactions are an exchange of energy thus "more capital" is directly equivalent to more energy that's either been already spent or has been borrowed from the future.
The third issue with his argument is he doesn't describe the scale of growth at all. His assertion is that should this shipping company want to continuously expand they will continuously find new energy efficiencies that either match or exceed the demand for growth which is of course a ludicrous assertion. The reality is you can only enact "slow steaming" once and once implemented the savings are made and all future demands for the company to grow will put more aggregate demand on their base energy usage thus for Krugman's assertion to be true for the company to scale infinitely larger their energy usage would have to scale infinitely smaller which is just pure insanity. Eventually the energy usage will be as efficient as efficient can be unless Krugman is also claiming that one day in the future we'll be able to ship many times the product we do today using no energy at all. At some point, even with energy savings, some energy must be spent to ship the product due purely to physics and when that point is reached any additional product the company would want to ship will add additional demand to energy usage and as mentioned before this example just covers the shipping of product already produced; for a shipping company to ship more product that product must exist which itself requires energy and resources to create.
The fourth issue with his argument is a little theory called "Jevon's Paradox".
In economics, the Jevons paradox (/ˈɛvənz/; sometimes Jevons effect) is the proposition that as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource.[1] In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal-use led to the increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological improvements could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.[2]

The issue has been re-examined by modern economists studying consumption rebound effects from improved energy efficiency. In addition to reducing the amount needed for a given use, improved efficiency lowers the relative cost of using a resource, which tends to increase the quantity of the resource demanded, potentially counteracting any savings from increased efficiency. Additionally, increased efficiency accelerates economic growth, further increasing the demand for resources. The Jevons paradox occurs when the effect from increased demand predominates, causing resource use to increase.[2]
So let's take the example of this shipping company and let's say you're in charge of it. Now that you have discovered slow steaming which (excluding the "other inputs") has reduced your operation costs, what do you do? Do you say "thanks for the savings we're going to keep shipping the same amount"? Or do you say "now that we can ship more for less we have gained additional capacity to ship more"? Well for the company, and economy, to have growth they're going to have to expand and thus any company interested in "growth" is going to redeploy those saved resources in their efforts to expand. If the company gets a 50% cost saving then they will have gained 100% more capacity now able to double the amount of product shipped with the same amount of inputs. Being that the economy demands expansion, which is growth, it is inevitable that any energy saved by increased efficiency will be spent by expansion.

This sort of example extends all the way down to households: let's say that out of nowhere the cost of food for you is cut in half, is it more likely that a household will cut its food budget in half, or is it more likely they will deploy the same amount of resources either on more food, or higher quality food? It's easy for a family to expand their lifestyle, not so easy to contract it, and expansion tends to be the default when the extra capacity for expansion is made available.

If you look at the last 100 years of human development this is very evident. We have gained incredibly in energy efficiency yet energy usage has never been higher, and the more efficient we become the more energy we use. Krugman's example doesn't examine the likely results of the energy gains simply assuming that the amount the company decides to ship will just stay the same forever (which isn't growth at all, now is it?).

The fifth problem in his argument is that claiming a little bit of energy efficiency translates to a justification of infinite growth ignores all of the other types of inputs required. It ignores the heavy droughts in California and Texas where entire towns no longer have drinking water and which is severely hindering agriculture and other industrial processes such as fracking. It ignores peak oil (and peak everything) where energy efficiencies being made come nowhere close to offsetting the rapidly rising cost of extracting the oil (and other resources) in the first place. It ignores the 99% fit between GDP growth and resource consumption as shown by Chris Martenson.

Finally, Krugman doesn't touch the exponential nature of GDP growth using an example of linear growth to justify it (increasing "production" directly relative to energy efficiencies gained). The nature of GDP growth is exponential, so when we say the economy grew "1%" last quarter it might not sound like much but that 1% is relative to the size of the economy. A multi-trillion dollar economy requires hundreds of billions to achieve even a small percentage increase in growth which can easily dwarf a multitude of total production from the previous years leading up to it.

I don't think you have to be very sophisticated to get this stuff as Krugman claims those who discuss limits to growth must be, you just have to have a very basic understanding that nothing in the history of the planet has ever grown forever so why on earth would we ever believe we can buck that trend now? It's a finite planet, with finite resources, claiming they won't run out (or more accurately that we will continue having the excess energy (aka. affordability) needed to extract them) is just stupidity. Krugman's "slow steaming" argument is just blowing steam up your ass.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Say goodbye to the "employee's market"

The 'employee's market' was perhaps one of the last saving graces of the middle class and workers in general. It was always inevitable that when wages stagnated allowing businesses to expand that eventually the labour market would have to balance out. Eventually demand for employment would outpace the availability of workers and in this event worker's were then given the upper hand. Expanding businesses and the resulting currency creation meant inflation would rise and inflation rising and the availability of jobs meant workers had the upper hand in negotiating their pay. Sooner or later any business that wanted to retain good labour was forced into a position where they would have to up the ante and the cycle would repeat.

But now - in what may be one of the final breaking points between crony capitalism and outright feudalism and usury - the government is working to ensure that the labour market remains an "employer's market", perpetually, forever and who better to examine as an example than Alberta's newest industry insider masquerading as a public servant, Jim Prentice.

So a few weeks ago Norwegian oil company Statoil called off one of it's Canadian startups for three years citing:
Statoil said it decided to delay construction because inflation was pushing up the cost of labor and materials, while tight pipeline space to the U.S. market was pushing down the price of its oil.  
"Costs for labor and materials have continued to rise in recent years and are working against the economics of new projects," Staale Tungesvik, Statoil's country manager for Canada, said in a statement. "Market access issues also play a role, including limited pipeline access, which weighs on prices for Alberta oil, squeezing margins and making it difficult for sustainable financial returns."
 Inflation? Hmm. Yet the governments and central banks all around the world have been insisting that "inflation is weak". Perhaps not *that* weak, it would seem. Take note of the problem here, it's not "market access" as Alberta has been claiming, these problems do not exist because of limited market access and up until recently limited market access hasn't been an issue. Market access was never a problem or was never even mentioned during the era of the "Alberta Advantage". No, market access is actually being promoted as a supposed solution for a different problem: Rising inflation which is pushing up material costs, labour costs, and isn't seeing a similar rise in the price of oil. That is the real problem here and the hope (and I can't stress that enough, that it is a hope without any data provided to prove that the claim is true) is that increased market access will increase the price Alberta receives for bitumen (which is not oil). Also take note Alberta was warned about this situation of increasing costs years ago and I've been warning about it longer.

When it comes to oilsands, and the economy in general which by the way is still on central banker life support with cheap currency pushing up inflation even more, this all derives from the real problem were facing as a society: energy is a fuck load more expensive than it used to be. Ok? Like, so many tons of fuck it's nearly unquantifiable especially in an economic environment which has not adjusted to nor has accounted for higher energy prices, and continues to bury it's head in the sand thinking if we just print a little more currency everything will be like it was when energy was cheap, it won't! We've gone from what used to be well over a 100:1 energy invested on energy returned ratio to what is now regularly around 5:1 (3:1 for oilsands surface mining, yippee!)

So, back to this Statoil thing.. Jim Prentice is very concerned.
"Underlying the kinds of capital investment that are being made in the oilsands is the needed assurance that we can access global prices," said Prentice. "If we cannot and people do not have a line of sight on infrastructure and tidewater access, it's going to start to affect our prosperity as a province."

Last year, Statoil president Stale Tungesvik said the company
might have to choose between developing projects in the Alberta oilsands and the offshore sites near Newfoundland due to the industry's rising cost.

The costs of oilsands projects are rising because of construction and labour costs, while the price of oil is
20 per cent lower than it was six months ago, making large investments less viable.
See what he did there? He didn't address the problem at all in his solution did he? remember back when oil was $40 / barrel and Alberta upped it's target price to $70? Then when we finally hit $70 it just wasn't enough either so the target was pushed up to $90? and so on? Alberta has always had this problem of the cost of production approaching returns and when that happens alberta always has a new excuse ready to go. When the price of oil still had upwards mobility that was a lot easier to accomplish, but now that it doesn't "access to global prices" has become the new tune. So when the cost of production due to ever rising inflation then approaches "global prices" what will be the next excuse? We need access to Martian markets? Universal prices? No, probably not.. Alberta's public relations is shitty, but not that shitty, but rest assured there will be a new excuse why the province's prosperity on the end of the stick keeps moving further and further away.

However, Prentice may be concerned, but he's also very excited for Alberta's "red hot economy" (you know, red hot as in project shutdowns are becoming a regular thing as the Alberta government was warned they would be).
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says time is becoming a critical factor in solving the temporary foreign worker shortage, but he dismissed criticism that an exploitative province is to blame.

“I’ve never agreed with the suggestion that really this is about Alberta business people trying to underpay. That is not my experience. That’s not what I’ve heard. That’s not what I’ve seen,” Prentice said in an interview.

“To be sure, there are always going to be people taking advantage of any government program.

“But by and large the employers I’ve met across Alberta just want hands and feet. They just want people to fulfil these jobs.

“They’re quite prepared in most of the cases I’ve seen to pay a premium to get people here. They just can’t find people given the red hot economy.”

Prentice plans soon to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss, among other issues, the temporary foreign worker changes that he says have hit Alberta’s roaring economy hard.
So on one hand you have Prentice concerned about project shutdowns that are directly related to "the rising cost of labour" and on the other you have Prentice claiming that Alberta's need for TFWs has nothing to do with employer's wanting to "underpay" employees, in fact they're willing to pay a premium! Bullshit. Companies are laying people off left, right, and center. Projects are shutting down one after the other. And all of them.. ALL OF THEM, cite rising labour costs as the reason which is the same reason provided to the Albertan government in the confidential memo back in 2012 that warned that projects would be shutting down due to inflation and the rising costs of labour. Hmm.

If the demand for labour is so high, then what the government is citing as a problem is the fact that the labour market is an "employee's market" and not an "employer's market", but why is this a problem? It's a problem because "growth" or what we now like to claim is growth has been completely financed by cheap loans and free currency to the top 1% but real consumer spending isn't moving. That's why the price of oil just can't manage to breach $110 / barrel and why when the market tries to "growth stalls" and the cycle repeats. We have ever increasing amounts of currency representing the same or perhaps even less wealth. You can cut a pie into 2 pieces, or 100 pieces, but at the end of the day you still have just 1 pie.

The government's focus on the "need" for temporary foreign workers is to perpetually tilt the market in favour of the employer's filling their pockets. An "employee's market" no more, and the changes to employment insurance and the government's "any job is a good job" attitude reflect that. This is deliberate, and orchestrated in an attempt to permanently stagnate the wages of Canadians to continue the status-quo and the illusion of growth. Sure, you might not believe me, but what I ask you is: can you really afford to find out?

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.