Those of you outside Canada may not know two important things about the Canadian economy: the Canadian dollar is at an all-time high, and Canada is in the middle of an economic boom. When the dollar hit its peak earlier this week, there was a rash of articles on the subject. My favorite, though, was from an economic analyst in the Globe and Mail who claimed that this boom was different from all other booms, that this time it’s sustainable and will go on indefinitely.
How stupid are people? The late 90s? The Asian Tigers? Boom markets never last. And indeed, one day after the loonie hit its peak (1), the stock market took a big dip as did the exchange rate.
This is one thing I will never understand. Or maybe I do understand it but I really don’t want to. Things like booms and wars are cyclical. With each boom, there’s talk of it never ending, until it does, and then there’s a lot of clucking and “never again.” Unless you work in parts of the tech industry, where the 90s appears to be some kind of cultural template. The same happens with wars, at least in the U.S. The government makes a big pitch and run-up to the war, flags are waved, the press is compliant, troops are sent off, people die, and then the scandals start coming out. By the end, support for the president is down, the press is all over the lies we were told to get us into the war in the first place, and there is much clucking and “never again.” That is, until the next time.
1. A strong Canadian dollar is an ambiguous thing. It gives Canadians more buying power in the U.S., but industries don’t like it because it means that they’re less of a bargain for American investment. For consumers inside Canada, it’s ambiguous: some prices are set according to an older exchange rate (magazines are a good example of that), while others are set at the actual exchange rate. So if you buy a book on amazon.ca right now, you’ll pay more or less the American price at the current exchange rate. Meanwhile, if I walk into a magazine store and pick up the latest Vanity Fair, its Canadian price will be higher than if we’d just run the exchange rate on the American price. Maybe there’s a whole post to do on the cost of things in Canada. Another time.
Carrie’s dad and stepmom are in town this weekend. Many movies will be seen, and much rest will be had.