Saturday, June 19, 2010
Comic Sans: The Write Type?
Apparently some people don't like the Comic Sans font:
"Comic Sans walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "We don't serve your type."
But seriously, here's a response in defense of our favourite faux handwriting font:
Here's another somewhat backhanded endorsement of Comic Sans. Honest.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Chinese Labour Costs are Going Up
A number of recent newspaper articles (for example, here and here) have been published regarding the climbing costs of labour in China. For some, this is a worrisome trend that foreshadows lower profits and higher consumer prices, and a shift in manufacturing to even lower cost (!) countries. Others note that this is a typical trend for any industrializing country, particularly one that wants to make the shift from an economy that is export dependent to an economy that relies on domestic consumption. [In Canada, consumer spending accounts for about 57% of GDP; it's 67% in the USA.] What better country than China to rely on domestic consumption!
Of course, these articles generally avoid the painful truth for capitalists: greater relative equality (created largely by a stronger union movement) will be necessary before a mature consumer society can develop. Too bad the neo-liberals in the West have forgotten this historical verity.
China's evolution is similar to what the West faced 100 to 200 years ago, and provides us with some perspective on the de-industrialization that North America has faced: perhaps we are not alone!
I'm also reminded of Karl Marx's intriguing (and mistaken?) endorsement of free trade, and by extension the global spread of capitalism: [T]he protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Health Care Costs: Relative to GDP or Gov't Spending?
One of the best reasons to read The Tyee is Will McMartin. He is a rare journalist with the ability and desire to wade through the BC government's own stats in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In his latest article on health care spending, McMartin exposes the myth that health care spending is out of control and outstripping our ability to pay for it. Put briefly, McMartin shows that, as a percentage of BC's GDP, health care costs are relatively static. Rather than comparing health care costs to overall government spending, which has gone down as a percentage of GDP, McMartin compares health care costs to GDP itself, which is the measure of overall economic output. As such, he shows that health care is not out of control, and we can continue to pay for it - assuming we don't want to keep lowering taxes. Health care might be taking a bigger slice of government spending, but a bigger share of a consciously reduced spending envelope doesn't change the fact that the real costs of health care have not gone through the roof. In other words, if the BC Liberals choose to reduce taxes and reduce their overall revenue and spending, that shouldn't be used as a battering ram against "rising" health care costs.