As children, we were always excited with the trips from Toronto to Chicago to visit mother’s family. It was the American greenbacks—slipped to us by generous relatives—that impressed us the most. What was of concern though was to note the American money seemed to put in trust with God while the stability of Canadian money was put in the hands of the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Lately, the score in that regard has been Mark Carney: 1, God: 0.
As governor of the Bank of Canada, Carney has an enviable reputation. He has even been loaned to the G20 members as chair of the Financial Stability Board by Prime Minister Harper. It is his control of the Canadian dollar that has most impressed the member countries of the G20.
God’s currency, by comparison, seems beyond anyone’s control. While supposedly under the stewardship of Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke, that economist finds that most days, the American buck has a mind of its own. Bernanke’s main problem is that while he has used the money printing presses to try to shore up the American economy, he is much too right-wing in his political outlook. It leaves the Fed Chairman in somewhat a conflicted position.
Mind you, Barack Obama had no alternative to Bernanke. He knew it was guaranteed that he would never get a more left-wing Federal Reserve chair past a Republican-dominated Senate. Being from Alberta did no harm to Mark Carney when Stephen Harper promoted the then Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada to the top job.
Bernanke and the American dollar are on a roller-coaster ride while he tries to find some satisfactory answers to the American economic problems. The Canadian dollar has so-far withstood most of the pressures this causes on the smaller Canadian economy.
But the longer the world-wide economic troubles continue, both Bernanke and Carney will find they have fewer and fewer options left to them. While Wall Street might have started all the problems with the American lack of controls and the uncivilized greed, it is Main Street in every country in the world that is paying the price.
What we must do is start to get ahead of the problems. We must first protect our citizens from corporate gluttony. Senior executives should not be making incomes over ten times that of the average worker. ‘Buyer beware’ is no longer appropriate as a corporate slogan. Corporate citizenship must go beyond the laws. Corporate responsibility is to all countries where the company operates or sells its products or services. Our corporate world serves people—we do not serve the corporations.
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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