From My Bookshelf: Linda McQuaig

By Lynn Willoughby

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All You Can Eat ~ Linda McQuaig
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All You Can Eat Linda McQuaigThis book of non-fiction was recommended by a friend.  After reading it and learning more about “the new economy” and how globalization and corporate rights are inevitable I feel like pulling the covers over my head!!
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Throughout human history man has lusted after status and prestige – in …”Iroquois society it was the number scalps you collected, among Spartans it was athletic prowess.”  In the western world today, it is material wealth and acquisitions.  …”capitalism smoothed the way to the elevation of greed…”  Is this really how we want to live- accumulating capital  …”by extracting a profit from the labour of others”?
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McQuaig points out that the …”growing power of corporations and the diminishing power of governments…is simply because we keep signing trade deals that reduces their (government) power.”
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So capitalism is not the desired answer.  McQuaig gives us some statistics:  “Mexico’s wages under capitalism have declined by roughly 20%; well off Tanzanian farmers saw incomes increased by 279% between 1983-91, while poor farmers saw a decline of 40% during the same period.  Russian GDP has dropped by 40% since the decline of communism “…with the number of poor people rising from 2 million to almost 60 million.”
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Sadly, she doesn’t give any solutions.  After reading this I would agree to some of her points – yes Wall Street is evil but communism is not the answer.  Economies are complex and ever changing and we need to look to history for some answers.  Also, there are some countries succeeding under democratic dictatorships – check out Rawanda.  I believe that capitalism IS starting to alleviate poverty in India and China. Small business loans to individuals, especially women, in war torn or disaster riddled communities have had huge impacts on the lives of children.  It is not a solution, but it is a start.  McQuaig is just too black and white.
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Who Knew?
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The Great Depression hit Canada very hard.  Between 1929-33 the country’s Gross National Expenditure fell by 42%.

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