The Next Century: Why Canada Wins
David Robinson, an economics professor, is dean of the Faculty of Social
Sciences at Laurentian University.
Canada, says Nuala Beck, is ready to write a new chapter in human
development. We have the education, the diversity, the technology, the
respect for law, and the commitment to scientific, artistic, and
literary achievement. We are moving into a long period of prosperity
driven by North American, not Asian or European, growth. All we have to
do is find the will to act.
This is Beck’s third book charting the future of the Canadian
economy. Unlike most books in its class, this one is optimistic and
constructive. She doesn’t tell us that Canada has become the most
attractive nation in the world by doing everything wrong, as Diane
Francis continually does. She occasionally praises the government and
blasts the corporate sector. She even argues for free higher education
as a universal right. Education, she says, is the key to the new
economy. Educated workers are the main power base.
Beck is unreservedly enthusiastic about the prospect of electronic
immigration. She thinks it will be possible to employ workers trained by
other nations without any of the costs of housing them or their
families. She doesn’t mention that employers will be happy to hire on
the electronic labor market, but not happy to contribute to the
education system that will let Canadians compete there.
Beck has other odd ideas, too. Like the old mercantilists, she believes
that all sectors of the economy should run surpluses. It is not clear
that she understands the basic principles of investment, saving, and
deficits at the national level. Even so, this is a book that is
informative and fun to read. And it should be read by anyone who is
thinking seriously about Canada’s future.