The Essential Review of "The Ivany Report"It is not my intention to fully review the Ivany Report. Rather, I seek to address its most blatant error. Much within the Ivany Report hings upon one paragraph:"Our relatively low rates of attraction and retention for international immigrants, along with our negative inter-provincial migration trend, are factors that most clearly differentiate Nova Scotia from other Canadian provinces and contribute to weaker economic growth over the past 30 years."Literally there is truth in this statement. That people have to leave Nova Scotia in order to obtain satisfactory employment is a fact. If we use Gross Domestic Product as the measure of an economy then it is also often observed that the economy will shrink as population declines.
The take home message from the Ivany Report has become that we must increase immigration and make conditions even more favourable for immigrants. Party Leaders agree! This message aligns exactly with CBC ideology and conforms with campaign dogma espoused during the recent Provincial elections by all three political parties; the NDP, Conservatives, and Liberals. The message also suites the interests of; immigration lawyers, advocates for the exploitation of immigration as a tool for international social welfare, businesses seeking to exploit cheap labour, and those who profit as demand for housing increases and housing becomes less affordable.
All of these voices have received more than ample airtime on CBC radio since the Ivany Report has been made public. This is to be expected given that there is not a hairs-breadth between the self interest of these groups and the population-growth agenda that is regularly pushed by CBC radio.
Can the CBC --- or any of the other powers that be --- countenance a different analysis?
First, the negative inter-provincial migration trend is caused by the poor economy in Nova Scotia. There is little doubt that many former Nova Scotians would return if the Nova Scotian economy were to blossom.
Second, we need to be crystal clear about cause and effect. People move to wherever a better living is to be made. The converse is not true. A better living is not to be had by virtue of simply adding more people! Increasing population does not create an economy full of wonderful new jobs!
This mixing up of cause and effect is the essential error made by the Ivany report, and by the CBC and by all political parties. Nova Scotia is a basket case because those with power don't have the wit to resolve cause from effect.
More immigrants increases the competition for jobs, keeping wages low. This suites the interests of many in the upper class who directly profit by exploiting cheap labour. But the overall well-being is diminished, the working poor cannot support themselves, young people cannot pay off the debt that they incurred to become educated and are left unable to afford either housing or children. With no prospect of making a dignified living, they join an underclass of welfare recipients --- or emmigrate, westwards.
Increased population is the ultimate cause of all environmental degradation. Of course, in a globalized economy the populations in remote markets are also a part of the local environmental impact (they eat our salmon, they mine our gold, they pulp our forests) --- but the local population is obviously the primary cause of impact and the conduit for impacts by remote populations.
It is often true --- but not always true --- that increasing the number of people does increase the GDP of a province. But this apparent virtue hides a multitude of sins:
In an empty world, population growth leads to economic growth and this is a good thing (for human well-being). But the world is not longer empty, it is full. Canada is full. Nova Scotia is full. Population growth (and economic growth) has become unprofitable. That is to say that the growth actually diminishes the overall well-being of the people.
- While the total GDP goes up, the amount of GDP per person goes down.
- GDP greatly (and increasingly) overestimates well-being:
- GDP does not take proper account of resource depletion nor of environmental impact. Indeed, it represents these negatives as a benefit!
- This deficiency is exemplified by the Table on page 30 of the Ivany Report which shows the "Value of Merchandise Exports from Nova Scotia, 2003 and 2012". This table shows us that the major change in the Nova Scotia economy from 2003 to 2012 is the depletion of Oil and Gas Wells. But really this is a false accounting because no allowance was made in the 2003 budget for the depletion of nonrenewable resources. If the accounting were not so crooked, we would see that our situation in 2003 was really not so different from the dire circumstances of 2012.
- GDP violates the most fundamental rule of accounting, it represents a debt as a virtue!
- If growth has to be forced by government spending/borrowing --- as it repeatedly has been --- then GDP grows but everyone is impoverished. In reality, debt is a liability and payments on debt cost us plenty. Well-being is diminished.
Of course, there are those of the upper echelon who profit by the increasing misery of the expanding number of poor people. The advocates for those are the voices that we hear in the media. They are the voices for power. They are the voices that politican's heed.
I must speak truth to power regardless that I speak alone and unheard.
To all those who doubt me, I ask one question. Why is it that the world has always had so many living poorly, and continues to have ever more living poorly, regardless of the hugely expanded productive capacity that has been granted by the light of science and practical application of technology?