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Discussion #2 - Politics

Way too much time is spent feuding over which political party has all the right answers & ideas. No party has all the right answers, & (almost) every party has had some great ideas. This is why politics & religion are so similar (& hotly debated). For some strange reason, most like to think that one group of people have all (or the vast majority) of the right answers & ideas. One good example would be (not trying to pick on any one country), but Democrats & Republicans. Our versions would be the Liberals & Conservatives.

There is a deep, primal urge we humans have, to polarize on issues, tribe-up with those who often view things as we do, and then do battle with the opposing tribes (parties). Many go along with virtually everything their favourite party believes in, basically to fit in with their "tribe". There is nothing inherently wrong with this, except that it means there will always be severely opposing views on virtually every single issue known to man, regardless of which view is right or wrong, better or worse. Recently, the two main political "tribes" in the US have morphed into being more "pro-trump" vs "anti-trump".

My biggest beef when I hear politicians speak, is the us vs. them attitude when discussing foreign affairs. Even though they travel the world constantly, and frequently attend many summits and meetings, this underlying attitude still prevails. It is very patriotic to prioritize the needs and desires of one's own country over the citizens of other countries, but there is a very fine line that should not be crossed. That line is the attitude that one's own citizens are somehow vastly superior in overall significance. This may seem pretty obvious, but it's truly shocking to see this to such a degree at times. Again, it's just the human ego doing it's thing, but if a country does not want to be viewed by the rest of the world as being completely arrogant and self-absorbed, the volume knob on this may want to be turned down somewhat.

Down through the years, the world population has been chopped up into geographical and political territories (countries, states, provinces, cities, neighbourhoods, etc). People immigrate, emmigrate, vacation, and travel all over the world, and at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Due to rapidly advancing technologies and air travel, we are interacting more and more with people across the globe. It's becoming increasingly difficult to compartmentalize and marginalize pockets of our species.

Far too much emphasis is placed on competition between countries (and in general). Instead, more emphasis should be placed on helping each other out. Again, it comes down to the balancing act of competition and compassion. There is much lip service about equality in politics, as it is the "politically correct" thing to do. More and more extremely intelligent people are starting to actually believe in it, but the vast majority of our species still do not. This life is an evolutionary process (pardon my French for using such a controversial word). We may think that we are extremely advanced (as our forefathers also thought), but we still have a long way to go.

The sweet irony of this is that the more we help each other out, the better the world economy, stability, and quality of life becomes for everyone. Every country on earth is linked economically and politically. If one does better, we all do better. I'm not trying to demonize competition (extremely healthy in the right dose). The big trick in life is figuring out what that dose should be. My personal opinion is that this happens naturally if we maintain respect for all citizens of earth, and actually believe in human equality. Far too many people still marginalize those living in poverty, as it accentuates their own feelings of superiority. We may not think this is happening, but deep down inside it most definitely is. This is not just a mean-spirited attitude, it's inaccurate, as most are living this reality through no fault of their own. It's also extremely unwise, as the entire world would benefit economically from the eradication of poverty.

The issue of equality is a very big deal in politics, as it greatly influences major policy decisions (especially military and economic). Dr. King, Mother Teresa, John Lennon, JFK, Abe Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and many others had/have the right idea. These political figures were by no means perfect, but they all had this knowledge in common; our natural arse factor is constantly trying to convince us that our own kind, citizens and ultimately us are all that really matter in this life, but our egos are dead wrong. Irregardless of race, religion, gender, economic/status and country of origin/residence, we are all 100% equal in significance. Most (if not all) of the corruption, greed, military conflict, aggression, oppression, crime and poverty in this world would be completely eliminated very quickly if we truly believed this one fact.

Please be aware and never forget that people residing in the richer countries are the 8%, and citizens residing in the poorer countries are the 90% (no running water, etc.). The working middle class in developing countries are classified as those individuals living on/earning $4 to $13 PER DAY. Many kind individuals and organizations are performing many acts of generosity to help the situation, but world governments are doing very little to solve the root problems. This is something that could be achieved by the end of the year, with the right political will. That political will comes from us, the citizens of earth.

The economic conditions in a country, province, or city are normally the underbelly of all other political issues. If we want to have any hope of making this world a better place for all of us, we need to start by dramatically improving the economic conditions on earth. If we only had the resources to improve one aspect of life on this planet, this would be the one to choose, as the resulting benefits would be massive in all other areas as well. Even the equally gigantic issue of our environment must be mindful of the economy, as energy transition must be at the right pace in order to prevent a complete global financial collapse. That being said, the "right pace" must be aggressive enough to prevent a complete collapse of our environment.

The world is gradually uniting in many areas, but we need to dramatically pick up the pace. The planet does not care if we extinct ourselves from our own stupidity, but we should care. If we do not unite as the human race, we all know that it's highly possible we may just nuke ourselves into extinction, and that would be a damn shame. It would also make us one of the stupidest, most egomanical "intelligent" species to ever rule the earth. We are definitely smart enough to create things like weapons of mass destruction, but we may not be wise enough to avoid destroying ourselves with them.

In a perfect world, there would be one race; "human", one country; "earth", and one religion; "unity". The main reason why we have divided ourselves (over the centuries) into territorial, political, racial, and religious "pockets" on earth, is mainly to compete and attempt to feel superior to other pockets, or to just fit in with those around us. (Think nazi's, slavery, terrorism, the olympics, etc.). We are all biologically virtually identical, with only a few minor cosmetic differences. If aliens from another planet ever stop by for a visit, then we'll see some major biological differences. Globalization and the UN are helping a little, but it's still not enough.

If the vast majority of us choose to remain complacent "herd followers" for the rest of our lives, then our race; the human race, will almost definitely become extinct in the very near future, and some other creature will become the dominant species. It's our massive egos that make us think that planet earth needs us to survive. If we choose to destroy ourselves, earth will recover back to normal shortly after we're gone. Save the planet? What a joke, we're like a mosquito thinking we can save an elephant. We need to save ourselves. I think we all pretty much realize that if World War 3 ever does happen, or if climate change is allowed to continue at the current rate, it will likely be the end for all of us on this planet (or any other).

To change the subject slightly, it's not at all surprising to me, that Donald Trump would win the American election. After all, he is the poster child for financial success in America, & this issue is always #1 in the minds of most voters. Mr. Trump's name, face, brand, etc., are almost the faceplate for this form of success in the US, even though he is nowhere near the richest billionaire in the bunch.

Real estate developers do commonly use their name for their business, but seldom do they become a household celebrity like The Donald. Who better to be their Pied Piper & lead them out of their financial woes, & obviously a squeaky clean image is not a very high priority. When you look at past US presidents, many had very similar personal issues (although not Obama).

One major difference here though, is that Mr. Trump has also become the poster child for racism, & in a country that was built on immigrants (similar to my own), that's going to create some pretty serious extra division. Also, his current stance on climate change is basically non-existent (hopefully not for long). While Trump's ignorance on CC is a shame & quite tragic, it actually matters far more what countries like China & India think & do about it. Quite simply, these 2 countries combined have approx. 8 times the population of the US (not to mention most of the world's manufacturing), and are just starting to burn fossil fuels en masse with their rising affluence. You are starting to see far fewer bicycles being ridden, & far more cars being driven in many Asian countries these days. Luckily, leaders in both India & China believe that CC is man-made & are starting to act on this belief in major ways.

While Trump does have some extremely valid points when it comes to the problems of illegal immigration & the flow of drugs from Mexico, this overall tone is not healthy. I do actually agree with him on a few other key issues though, specifically when it comes to jobs. Although, I do not believe he (or anyone) will ever possess a magic wand that will bring back a vast number of jobs, especially when the majority are being displaced by technology & automation.

I do, however, believe this to be the #1 reason why he was elected president, and this says a lot about the real economic situation in the US (again something I agree with him on). I really hope that democracy doesn't take a huge hit with Trump however. He does seem to be getting along much better with the dictators these days, than many of America's long-time democratic allies. It'll be interesting to see what the results of American protectionism will be on the global economy, trade with China, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and on their own economy. I can definitely say that in my own country (Canada), we are not horribly optimistic about our new deal.

There is a new form of polarization spreading across the western hemisphere. On one end of the extreme, you have a growing "hate wave" of racism, narcissism, elitism, & an attitude of supremacy, and on the other you have a growing "love wave" of tolerance, compassion, humility, & a sense of equality for people from all walks of life. The US currently seems to be leading the way in this form of division, but before we point our finger at any one country, we had better point it back at ourselves, as no country on earth is innocent of this.

Most people (including Mr. Trump) now realize that middle class jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate. The problem is, most of us are not really aspiring to be middle class anyway. The vast majority are hoping to achieve much more. I mean really, who dreams of being middle-of-the-road in anything? Most are hoping to become wealthy (& possibly even famous as well). This is why many are simply not all that concerned about the erosion of the middle class. This would also be a monumental mistake, as this economic group pays the vast majority of all forms of taxes, & also drives the economy in the largest way (most consumers, at least for awhile).

It's also likely a big part of the reason why Mr. Trump was elected leader of the free world in the first place. Clearly, it's wise to aspire to a higher quality of life, but it's also clear, that having Donald Trump for president is not going to create a lot more American billionaires. What will likely happen, is the current ones will just get a lot richer. He's already admitted that he wants to cut taxes for rich corporations (not that they're paying much as it is). He wants to keep good-paying jobs from relocating (and attract new ones), but this will also make the already rich even richer. In his defence, this is not an easy problem to solve (for any country), & he does seem to be putting out a serious amount of effort and thought into some serious attempts & action (right away). This pandering to big business is also however, going to create huge problems in areas like the environment and health care.

The biggest debate in economics will always be whether there should be more or less governmental control over free market systems. In theory, a free market economic system sounds like a fair & more natural way of doing things, but in reality, big business is running the show, and there is nothing "fair" or "natural" about it. Big business is after one thing only in life, more profit. At least with more government control over things, the lower & middle classes have a bit of a fighting chance at grabbing a piece of the economic pie. Pure Capitalism would work great, if we could just suck out some of the short-sighted greed. Not Communism, but not the opposite, extreme polarization, which is erasing our most valuable sector, the middle class.

Then, on the other hand, there is the "new" definition of the American dream, which is a much less materialistic & show-offy lifestyle, with far more potential for real happiness & actually being able to sleep well at night. The big problem however, is that the more gutted the middle classes become, the more "part time low wage jobs" are required just for basic survival. This creates far more "working poor", which is basically becoming a form of virtual slavery. In my own country of Canada, which injects far more Socialism into the mix, we have a bizarre mixture developing of wealthy, well off, working poor, lazy poor (welfare), incredible-paying government jobs, horrible-paying outsourced government jobs, and tons of new "volunteer" internships (for the young university graduates).

Our mainly free market system is simply becoming increasingly polarized as time marches on (the wealth & income gaps are widening). This is painfully obvious, for example, whenever we hear about top execs getting huge 50% raises, when they're already earning millions each year, while at the same time laying off thousands of middle earning workers. The common excuse given by these companies, is that they need to attract & retain top talent in a competitive global market. My comeback to that would be, if the talent is so great, why did/do you need all those corporate welfare handouts and/or tax breaks just to stay afloat?

Ignorance is not bliss, & it's time that we "little" people stand up for ourselves. If we the masses choose to allow (through sheer complacency) our economies to further evolve this way, then we'll basically just get more & more of this "take from the middle to give to the rich" (time & money), which is detrimental to the overall economy & quality of life.

The Darwinistic "survival of the fittest", "let the free market decide everything" philosophy works out great for the rich, but God help those who aren't if this ideology reigns supreme. Then there are times when the free market should be left alone, as interference can just make a huge mess of things (the real estate market is a good example of this). The reason why, is that investment in real estate is one of the very few ways that us common folk can actually get ahead in life. If the sale of, or capital gains of primary residences start to become taxed, then we're all royally screwed. Keep in mind that "corporate welfare" and contracts are constantly siphoning off tax money from governments to the already rich. It's a tricky subject, but one that deserves a lot of our attention.

The Trump decision to close the US doors to many Middle Eastern refugees is going to have some pretty massive reprocutions. My own country of Canada is taking the complete opposite stance, and is opening the doors even wider to all needing refuge. Diversity has always been our thing, and we seem to do it extremely well. The only problem (& it's a big one), is that we need to come up with decent jobs for all of these extra people. Adding more consumers does help a bit towards this, but it's not a complete solution. Adding one extra citizen & consumer does not completely create one extra job.

One reason why my country has always had a very aggressive immigration policy, is largely because of the vast amount of infrastructure that must be paid for by a relatively small number of people. While this is true, many long-time Canadian citizens are naturally extremely concerned about losing out, if meaningful employment or business opportunities can't keep pace with this flow of immigration. This obviously seems to be a pretty big concern for many in the US & Europe right now as well. This is also one of the main issues driving Brexit. The big debate is who to prioritize. Income earning opportunities for our own citizens, or compassion for others in the world who are suffering.

The world also needs to pay far more attention to North Korea. The North Korean government is so oppressive & controlling to their own people, that things like making an international phone call, listening to normal Western music, or travelling abroad (for any reason) are punishable by death in this country. They now have long-range nuclear weapons, and are not huge fans of the United States and South Korea. China, although an ally, have made it clear they will support whichever country does NOT strike first, if it comes to that.

It's amazing that when the global attention is more focused on North Korea, it seems to greatly suck the wind out of other attention-seeking groups, such as ISIS. This just proves how much the global media & internet attention provide much of the fuel for powering the passion that drives these groups of people. Speaking of attention-seeking behavior, as much as most of us find Trump's constant parade of newsworthy headlines extremely entertaining, in my humble opinion, he's getting far too much attention. I mean really, there are over 200 countries on this planet, & roughly the same number of world leaders. Yet, due to his neverending controversial antics, he seems to get virtually all of the global attention. He's quite good at this, marketing is how you build a brand.

It's painfully obvious however, that the massive global issues such as extreme poverty & climate change are simply not high priorities for America & other affluent countries. The main reason for this is simple. The average citizen in the richer 20 or so countries is far more concerned about their domestic economy, or in other words, their/our ability to achieve or maintain the appearance (and/or) reality of financial success. Also our ability to experience the ultimate turbo-stimulated lifestyles is extremely important to many of us. These two priorities always dramatically trump any concerns more distantly removed from our immediate reality. It's just short & near-sighted thinking, pure & simple.

While it is indeed not possible for all humans on earth to eat meat (for example), there are in fact plenty of resources for all to eat well and nutritiously. We're just choosing (globally), to prioritize the indulgences of the elite (that's us), over the survival (or health) of the extremely poor. We also don't seem to care much about the survival of all future generations (including our own descendents), as dealing with climate change (to any serious degree), is not really a big priority for most. It seems, that in the minds of many, it really is all about us.

Life is a team effort, and no one person, country, race, religion, or party will ever have all the answers. We need each other in a major way, or none of us will survive & thrive for much longer. Life is tricky & complex, & no matter how intelligent a person or group think they are, they'll never know everything. It's time for we the humans of earth to band together, build each other up, and do this thing called life the better way.

Tribal thinking has more potential to create extremely aggressive, vicious, & destructive behaviour than from any other sociological source. Not just affecting violence, but also basic social interaction. As a species, we had better get a grip on this (fairly quickly), or globally we'll be in some serious trouble very soon. While it's definitely true that some countries seem to function better than others, this does not mean that pockets of our species are somehow more or less significant than others. Cultural diversity also enhances life on earth overall. One of the main reasons why we travel is to see & experience different cultures. As long as we maintain our sense of equality and respect for all of humanity, and communicate effectively between countries, then our species will head in a positive direction.

When you look at the rock-hard facts & stats, the countries which promote human equality always enjoy vastly superior economic prosperity and overall quality of life. In this fact, there is simply no debate. The basic (& simple) reason for this reality, is that with far less income disparity (regardless of career type), far more members of any given society have plenty of extra money to spend, which is of course the main driving force behind every countries' economy. The other basic factor in this equation, is that virtually every career type is necessary for every society on earth to function.

There obviously needs to be enough financial incentive for many to become educated or deal with high normal levels of pressure, but again, the proof is in the pudding. Egofest aside, it simply works. Overall quality of life improves not just because of the money (in & of itself), but because of the added respect that it encourages. Every productive member of society should be able to take pride in their work, as all forms of work are necessary to make a society function. We can't all be doctors, lawyers, politicians and rock stars. Everyone knows, basically, which career types pay lousy, and this ultimately sucks much of the joy & respect from these careers. Often, many of these same careers contain huge responsibility levels, and are hugely important to society. Two good examples of this would be auto mechanics & school bus drivers, but obviously scores of different careers fall into this category (and the list is growing).

In my own province of Ontario, Canada, I am very proud to say that the minimum wage was recently raised (Jan. 1, 2018) to $14/hr. from the previous $11, and then will go up to $15 next year. Many small business owners are not happy about this, but what they will soon realize, is that the increase in sales they will enjoy, will far more than compensate for the extra $3 or $4/hr. per employee expense. It just takes looking at the bigger picture. When the average person on the street has some extra money to spend, you can bet they are going to spend it, and this drives up sales & revenue (across the board) and the local economy overall. I am currently one of those small business owners, and have had numerous employees in the past. What I've learned from being on that side of the fence, is that it doesn't take a huge jump in sales and revenue, to create a large jump in profit, even though certain expenses do increase.
Discussion #2 - Politics

Way too much time is spent feuding over which political party has all the right answers & ideas. No party has all the right answers, & (almost) every party has had some great ideas. This is why politics & religion are so similar (& hotly debated). For some strange reason, most like to think that one group of people have all (or the vast majority) of the right answers & ideas. One good example would be (not trying to pick on any one country), but Democrats & Republicans. Our versions would be the Liberals & Conservatives.

There is a deep, primal urge we humans have, to polarize on issues, tribe-up with those who often view things as we do, and then do battle with the opposing tribes (parties). Many go along with virtually everything their favourite party believes in, basically to fit in with their "tribe". There is nothing inherently wrong with this, except that it means there will always be severely opposing views on virtually every single issue known to man, regardless of which view is right or wrong, better or worse. Recently, the two main political "tribes" in the US have morphed into being more "pro-trump" vs "anti-trump".

My biggest beef when I hear politicians speak, is the us vs. them attitude when discussing foreign affairs. Even though they travel the world constantly, and frequently attend many summits and meetings, this underlying attitude still prevails. It is very patriotic to prioritize the needs and desires of one's own country over the citizens of other countries, but there is a very fine line that should not be crossed. That line is the attitude that one's own citizens are somehow vastly superior in overall significance. This may seem pretty obvious, but it's truly shocking to see this to such a degree at times. Again, it's just the human ego doing it's thing, but if a country does not want to be viewed by the rest of the world as being completely arrogant and self-absorbed, the volume knob on this may want to be turned down somewhat.

Down through the years, the world population has been chopped up into geographical and political territories (countries, states, provinces, cities, neighbourhoods, etc). People immigrate, emmigrate, vacation, and travel all over the world, and at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Due to rapidly advancing technologies and air travel, we are interacting more and more with people across the globe. It's becoming increasingly difficult to compartmentalize and marginalize pockets of our species.

Far too much emphasis is placed on competition between countries (and in general). Instead, more emphasis should be placed on helping each other out. Again, it comes down to the balancing act of competition and compassion. There is much lip service about equality in politics, as it is the "politically correct" thing to do. More and more extremely intelligent people are starting to actually believe in it, but the vast majority of our species still do not. This life is an evolutionary process (pardon my French for using such a controversial word). We may think that we are extremely advanced (as our forefathers also thought), but we still have a long way to go.

The sweet irony of this is that the more we help each other out, the better the world economy, stability, and quality of life becomes for everyone. Every country on earth is linked economically and politically. If one does better, we all do better. I'm not trying to demonize competition (extremely healthy in the right dose). The big trick in life is figuring out what that dose should be. My personal opinion is that this happens naturally if we maintain respect for all citizens of earth, and actually believe in human equality. Far too many people still marginalize those living in poverty, as it accentuates their own feelings of superiority. We may not think this is happening, but deep down inside it most definitely is. This is not just a mean-spirited attitude, it's inaccurate, as most are living this reality through no fault of their own. It's also extremely unwise, as the entire world would benefit economically from the eradication of poverty.

The issue of equality is a very big deal in politics, as it greatly influences major policy decisions (especially military and economic). Dr. King, Mother Teresa, John Lennon, JFK, Abe Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and many others had/have the right idea. These political figures were by no means perfect, but they all had this knowledge in common; our natural arse factor is constantly trying to convince us that our own kind, citizens and ultimately us are all that really matter in this life, but our egos are dead wrong. Irregardless of race, religion, gender, economic/status and country of origin/residence, we are all 100% equal in significance. Most (if not all) of the corruption, greed, military conflict, aggression, oppression, crime and poverty in this world would be completely eliminated very quickly if we truly believed this one fact.

Please be aware and never forget that people residing in the richer countries are the 8%, and citizens residing in the poorer countries are the 90% (no running water, etc.). The working middle class in developing countries are classified as those individuals living on/earning $4 to $13 PER DAY. Many kind individuals and organizations are performing many acts of generosity to help the situation, but world governments are doing very little to solve the root problems. This is something that could be achieved by the end of the year, with the right political will. That political will comes from us, the citizens of earth.

The economic conditions in a country, province, or city are normally the underbelly of all other political issues. If we want to have any hope of making this world a better place for all of us, we need to start by dramatically improving the economic conditions on earth. If we only had the resources to improve one aspect of life on this planet, this would be the one to choose, as the resulting benefits would be massive in all other areas as well. Even the equally gigantic issue of our environment must be mindful of the economy, as energy transition must be at the right pace in order to prevent a complete global financial collapse. That being said, the "right pace" must be aggressive enough to prevent a complete collapse of our environment.

The world is gradually uniting in many areas, but we need to dramatically pick up the pace. The planet does not care if we extinct ourselves from our own stupidity, but we should care. If we do not unite as the human race, we all know that it's highly possible we may just nuke ourselves into extinction, and that would be a damn shame. It would also make us one of the stupidest, most egomanical "intelligent" species to ever rule the earth. We are definitely smart enough to create things like weapons of mass destruction, but we may not be wise enough to avoid destroying ourselves with them.

In a perfect world, there would be one race; "human", one country; "earth", and one religion; "unity". The main reason why we have divided ourselves (over the centuries) into territorial, political, racial, and religious "pockets" on earth, is mainly to compete and attempt to feel superior to other pockets, or to just fit in with those around us. (Think nazi's, slavery, terrorism, the olympics, etc.). We are all biologically virtually identical, with only a few minor cosmetic differences. If aliens from another planet ever stop by for a visit, then we'll see some major biological differences. Globalization and the UN are helping a little, but it's still not enough.

If the vast majority of us choose to remain complacent "herd followers" for the rest of our lives, then our race; the human race, will almost definitely become extinct in the very near future, and some other creature will become the dominant species. It's our massive egos that make us think that planet earth needs us to survive. If we choose to destroy ourselves, earth will recover back to normal shortly after we're gone. Save the planet? What a joke, we're like a mosquito thinking we can save an elephant. We need to save ourselves. I think we all pretty much realize that if World War 3 ever does happen, or if climate change is allowed to continue at the current rate, it will likely be the end for all of us on this planet (or any other).

To change the subject slightly, it's not at all surprising to me, that Donald Trump would win the American election. After all, he is the poster child for financial success in America, & this issue is always #1 in the minds of most voters. Mr. Trump's name, face, brand, etc., are almost the faceplate for this form of success in the US, even though he is nowhere near the richest billionaire in the bunch.

Real estate developers do commonly use their name for their business, but seldom do they become a household celebrity like The Donald. Who better to be their Pied Piper & lead them out of their financial woes, & obviously a squeaky clean image is not a very high priority. When you look at past US presidents, many had very similar personal issues (although not Obama).

One major difference here though, is that Mr. Trump has also become the poster child for racism, & in a country that was built on immigrants (similar to my own), that's going to create some pretty serious extra division. Also, his current stance on climate change is basically non-existent (hopefully not for long). While Trump's ignorance on CC is a shame & quite tragic, it actually matters far more what countries like China & India think & do about it. Quite simply, these 2 countries combined have approx. 8 times the population of the US (not to mention most of the world's manufacturing), and are just starting to burn fossil fuels en masse with their rising affluence. You are starting to see far fewer bicycles being ridden, & far more cars being driven in many Asian countries these days. Luckily, leaders in both India & China believe that CC is man-made & are starting to act on this belief in major ways.

While Trump does have some extremely valid points when it comes to the problems of illegal immigration & the flow of drugs from Mexico, this overall tone is not healthy. I do actually agree with him on a few other key issues though, specifically when it comes to jobs. Although, I do not believe he (or anyone) will ever possess a magic wand that will bring back a vast number of jobs, especially when the majority are being displaced by technology & automation.

I do, however, believe this to be the #1 reason why he was elected president, and this says a lot about the real economic situation in the US (again something I agree with him on). I really hope that democracy doesn't take a huge hit with Trump however. He does seem to be getting along much better with the dictators these days, than many of America's long-time democratic allies. It'll be interesting to see what the results of American protectionism will be on the global economy, trade with China, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and on their own economy. I can definitely say that in my own country (Canada), we are not horribly optimistic about our new deal.

There is a new form of polarization spreading across the western hemisphere. On one end of the extreme, you have a growing "hate wave" of racism, narcissism, elitism, & an attitude of supremacy, and on the other you have a growing "love wave" of tolerance, compassion, humility, & a sense of equality for people from all walks of life. The US currently seems to be leading the way in this form of division, but before we point our finger at any one country, we had better point it back at ourselves, as no country on earth is innocent of this.

Most people (including Mr. Trump) now realize that middle class jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate. The problem is, most of us are not really aspiring to be middle class anyway. The vast majority are hoping to achieve much more. I mean really, who dreams of being middle-of-the-road in anything? Most are hoping to become wealthy (& possibly even famous as well). This is why many are simply not all that concerned about the erosion of the middle class. This would also be a monumental mistake, as this economic group pays the vast majority of all forms of taxes, & also drives the economy in the largest way (most consumers, at least for awhile).

It's also likely a big part of the reason why Mr. Trump was elected leader of the free world in the first place. Clearly, it's wise to aspire to a higher quality of life, but it's also clear, that having Donald Trump for president is not going to create a lot more American billionaires. What will likely happen, is the current ones will just get a lot richer. He's already admitted that he wants to cut taxes for rich corporations (not that they're paying much as it is). He wants to keep good-paying jobs from relocating (and attract new ones), but this will also make the already rich even richer. In his defence, this is not an easy problem to solve (for any country), & he does seem to be putting out a serious amount of effort and thought into some serious attempts & action (right away). This pandering to big business is also however, going to create huge problems in areas like the environment and health care.

The biggest debate in economics will always be whether there should be more or less governmental control over free market systems. In theory, a free market economic system sounds like a fair & more natural way of doing things, but in reality, big business is running the show, and there is nothing "fair" or "natural" about it. Big business is after one thing only in life, more profit. At least with more government control over things, the lower & middle classes have a bit of a fighting chance at grabbing a piece of the economic pie. Pure Capitalism would work great, if we could just suck out some of the short-sighted greed. Not Communism, but not the opposite, extreme polarization, which is erasing our most valuable sector, the middle class.

Then, on the other hand, there is the "new" definition of the American dream, which is a much less materialistic & show-offy lifestyle, with far more potential for real happiness & actually being able to sleep well at night. The big problem however, is that the more gutted the middle classes become, the more "part time low wage jobs" are required just for basic survival. This creates far more "working poor", which is basically becoming a form of virtual slavery. In my own country of Canada, which injects far more Socialism into the mix, we have a bizarre mixture developing of wealthy, well off, working poor, lazy poor (welfare), incredible-paying government jobs, horrible-paying outsourced government jobs, and tons of new "volunteer" internships (for the young university graduates).

Our mainly free market system is simply becoming increasingly polarized as time marches on (the wealth & income gaps are widening). This is painfully obvious, for example, whenever we hear about top execs getting huge 50% raises, when they're already earning millions each year, while at the same time laying off thousands of middle earning workers. The common excuse given by these companies, is that they need to attract & retain top talent in a competitive global market. My comeback to that would be, if the talent is so great, why did/do you need all those corporate welfare handouts and/or tax breaks just to stay afloat?

Ignorance is not bliss, & it's time that we "little" people stand up for ourselves. If we the masses choose to allow (through sheer complacency) our economies to further evolve this way, then we'll basically just get more & more of this "take from the middle to give to the rich" (time & money), which is detrimental to the overall economy & quality of life.

The Darwinistic "survival of the fittest", "let the free market decide everything" philosophy works out great for the rich, but God help those who aren't if this ideology reigns supreme. Then there are times when the free market should be left alone, as interference can just make a huge mess of things (the real estate market is a good example of this). The reason why, is that investment in real estate is one of the very few ways that us common folk can actually get ahead in life. If the sale of, or capital gains of primary residences start to become taxed, then we're all royally screwed. Keep in mind that "corporate welfare" and contracts are constantly siphoning off tax money from governments to the already rich. It's a tricky subject, but one that deserves a lot of our attention.

The Trump decision to close the US doors to many Middle Eastern refugees is going to have some pretty massive reprocutions. My own country of Canada is taking the complete opposite stance, and is opening the doors even wider to all needing refuge. Diversity has always been our thing, and we seem to do it extremely well. The only problem (& it's a big one), is that we need to come up with decent jobs for all of these extra people. Adding more consumers does help a bit towards this, but it's not a complete solution. Adding one extra citizen & consumer does not completely create one extra job.

One reason why my country has always had a very aggressive immigration policy, is largely because of the vast amount of infrastructure that must be paid for by a relatively small number of people. While this is true, many long-time Canadian citizens are naturally extremely concerned about losing out, if meaningful employment or business opportunities can't keep pace with this flow of immigration. This obviously seems to be a pretty big concern for many in the US & Europe right now as well. This is also one of the main issues driving Brexit. The big debate is who to prioritize. Income earning opportunities for our own citizens, or compassion for others in the world who are suffering.

The world also needs to pay far more attention to North Korea. The North Korean government is so oppressive & controlling to their own people, that things like making an international phone call, listening to normal Western music, or travelling abroad (for any reason) are punishable by death in this country. They now have long-range nuclear weapons, and are not huge fans of the United States and South Korea. China, although an ally, have made it clear they will support whichever country does NOT strike first, if it comes to that.

It's amazing that when the global attention is more focused on North Korea, it seems to greatly suck the wind out of other attention-seeking groups, such as ISIS. This just proves how much the global media & internet attention provide much of the fuel for powering the passion that drives these groups of people. Speaking of attention-seeking behavior, as much as most of us find Trump's constant parade of newsworthy headlines extremely entertaining, in my humble opinion, he's getting far too much attention. I mean really, there are over 200 countries on this planet, & roughly the same number of world leaders. Yet, due to his neverending controversial antics, he seems to get virtually all of the global attention. He's quite good at this, marketing is how you build a brand.

It's painfully obvious however, that the massive global issues such as extreme poverty & climate change are simply not high priorities for America & other affluent countries. The main reason for this is simple. The average citizen in the richer 20 or so countries is far more concerned about their domestic economy, or in other words, their/our ability to achieve or maintain the appearance (and/or) reality of financial success. Also our ability to experience the ultimate turbo-stimulated lifestyles is extremely important to many of us. These two priorities always dramatically trump any concerns more distantly removed from our immediate reality. It's just short & near-sighted thinking, pure & simple.

While it is indeed not possible for all humans on earth to eat meat (for example), there are in fact plenty of resources for all to eat well and nutritiously. We're just choosing (globally), to prioritize the indulgences of the elite (that's us), over the survival (or health) of the extremely poor. We also don't seem to care much about the survival of all future generations (including our own descendents), as dealing with climate change (to any serious degree), is not really a big priority for most. It seems, that in the minds of many, it really is all about us.

Life is a team effort, and no one person, country, race, religion, or party will ever have all the answers. We need each other in a major way, or none of us will survive & thrive for much longer. Life is tricky & complex, & no matter how intelligent a person or group think they are, they'll never know everything. It's time for we the humans of earth to band together, build each other up, and do this thing called life the better way.

Tribal thinking has more potential to create extremely aggressive, vicious, & destructive behaviour than from any other sociological source. Not just affecting violence, but also basic social interaction. As a species, we had better get a grip on this (fairly quickly), or globally we'll be in some serious trouble very soon. While it's definitely true that some countries seem to function better than others, this does not mean that pockets of our species are somehow more or less significant than others. Cultural diversity also enhances life on earth overall. One of the main reasons why we travel is to see & experience different cultures. As long as we maintain our sense of equality and respect for all of humanity, and communicate effectively between countries, then our species will head in a positive direction.

When you look at the rock-hard facts & stats, the countries which promote human equality always enjoy vastly superior economic prosperity and overall quality of life. In this fact, there is simply no debate. The basic (& simple) reason for this reality, is that with far less income disparity (regardless of career type), far more members of any given society have plenty of extra money to spend, which is of course the main driving force behind every countries' economy. The other basic factor in this equation, is that virtually every career type is necessary for every society on earth to function.

There obviously needs to be enough financial incentive for many to become educated or deal with high normal levels of pressure, but again, the proof is in the pudding. Egofest aside, it simply works. Overall quality of life improves not just because of the money (in & of itself), but because of the added respect that it encourages. Every productive member of society should be able to take pride in their work, as all forms of work are necessary to make a society function. We can't all be doctors, lawyers, politicians and rock stars. Everyone knows, basically, which career types pay lousy, and this ultimately sucks much of the joy & respect from these careers. Often, many of these same careers contain huge responsibility levels, and are hugely important to society. Two good examples of this would be auto mechanics & school bus drivers, but obviously scores of different careers fall into this category (and the list is growing).

In my own province of Ontario, Canada, I am very proud to say that the minimum wage was recently raised (Jan. 1, 2018) to $14/hr. from the previous $11, and then will go up to $15 next year. Many small business owners are not happy about this, but what they will soon realize, is that the increase in sales they will enjoy, will far more than compensate for the extra $3 or $4/hr. per employee expense. It just takes looking at the bigger picture. When the average person on the street has some extra money to spend, you can bet they are going to spend it, and this drives up sales & revenue (across the board) and the local economy overall. I am currently one of those small business owners, and have had numerous employees in the past. What I've learned from being on that side of the fence, is that it doesn't take a huge jump in sales and revenue, to create a large jump in profit, even though certain expenses do increase.