Creative Writing in Ontario


The subject of my magazine clmn this week is the hugely disappointing (and expensive) study, Ontario in the Creative Age, prepared for the Ontario government by Roger Martin and Richard Florida. The column speaks for itself, but two points worth adding:

1. It bears all the marks of having been conceived and prepared in a time when the economy was going ticky-boo and everyone thought that things would keep going upupup for the foreseeable future. To that extent, the study was on its way to obsolescence by the end of last summer. The authors made a bit of an attempt in the intro at making it relevant to the current economic climate, but it doesn’t work, and the report is a total period piece. It reminds me of the ending to Hunt for Red October that they had to film after the Soviet Union fell during post-production.

2. The fact that Martin and Florida were commissioned to do this bears all the marks of McGuinty’s utter dopeyness on the economic file. Read this piece and you’ll understand why.

The upshot: This study, and the $2.2 million it cost, is not the solution to Ontario’s problems — it is a symptom of them.

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Creative Writing in Ontario

  1. I disagree with the piece that is linked, that workers cannot consume as much as they produce. The reality is, we can consume whatever is produced, no problem at all. We could all have private jets, personal trainers, family lawyers (just like family lawyers), and so on, if production were increased and prices lowered to make this all possible. The reason this does not happen, is that production is limited, and consumption must adjust to this reality.

    The reality is that there is always a balance between production and consumption. The business cycle shows that the balance is not exact, that there can be periods where one exceeds the other, but that does not mean there is a fundamental flaw. Eventually the balance is restored, often by shifts in pricing or employment or other factors. That is what a boom is and that is what a correction is: periods where the balance between consumption and production shifts.

    I gotta agree that the Ontario report is malarkey and a complete waste of money. Mcguintonomics are a farce.

  2. “The fact that Martin and Florida were commissioned to do this bears all the marks of McGuinty’s utter dopeyness on the economic file.”

    Actually McGuinty has been doing extremely well ever since he became an MPP, then party leader, and especially after he became premier. The pay and benefits are very generous and the pension is something beyond the dreams of 99% of Ontarians. I would say he’s pretty solid on the economic file.

    On HIS economic file, that is, not on YOUR economic file.

    If you’re disappointed with the way that he’s managed YOUR economic file, then let me ask you – why do you think that turning the entire economy over to the whims and selfish motivations of politicians and bureaucrats is good for you? Perhaps you have placed too much faith in Soviet-style economic planning, against all evidence and against all rules of common sense and prudence. The charge of dopeyness must be laid anywhere but at the feet of McGuinty. The dopes are the ones who voted for him and for all the other cookie-cutter, leftist parties (koff, Red Tories).

    • Well said.

      • Well said? He didn’t say anythng except call Ontario voters idiots.

        • dude, you totally missed the point of the comment. he also got a broad based smear on the efficacy of politicians and public servants with their “whims and selfish motivations” and all. how can that not be valuable?

          • how can that not be valuable?

            Good point. Perhaps I’d have noticed the value if I were a psychiatrist specialising in clients suffering from MIRS: modern inchoate rage syndrome. Comments like that would cause dollar signs to appear in my eyes.

  3. Read this piece and you’ll understand why

    I read it and I’m not quite sure what you’re taking exception to, exactly. Is it the challenge to the old “well, this is what people wanted.” insight?

  4. I have become far too jaded. I saw the price tag, $2.2 million, and thought to myself that’s a bargain when compared to other ‘studies’ various levels of government have commissioned and paid for.

    As far as Florida’s understanding of economics, all I will say is that maybe we could afford to buy more goods and services if we weren’t taxed so much to pay for studies that tell us we should encourage people to stay in school longer and be more ‘creative’.

  5. “Read this piece and you’ll understand why”

    The piece seemed, if anything, commensense to me. Presumably you don’t like the stuff about defining ourselves by what we buy, but I think it’s undoubtedly true that a huge part of the current crisis consumer debt insanity

  6. I’m still hoping Potter will explain exactly what he found wrong with that article. I don’t care much for Richard Florida either (anyone ever described as part of a ‘power couple’ just brings on migraines) but his objections to consumer/mass culture have always been cryptic or slippery.

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