Van “an honorary member of the Third World” tot “The least-bad rich-world economy”

Op Itinerablog (blog van Itinera Institute, Belgie’s onafhankelijke denktank) stond vandaag een verwijzing naar een artikel over de Canadese economie uit The Economist. Vandaag dus geen deel van het verslag, maar wel dat artikel.

Daar waar The Wall Street Journal in 1995 nog sprak over Canada als “an honorary member of the Third World”, spreekt men naar aanleiding van de manier waarop Canada de huidige economische crisis doorstaat over “The least-bad rich-world economy”. Lijkt me een goede evolutie. 😉

Het ganse artikel is hier te vinden: The least-bad rich-world economy
Men verwijst in dat artikel ook nog naar een ander artikel: Canada’s resilient economy
Hier volgen enkele stukjes uit beide artikels:

Good policies, good behaviour and good fortune: if only others could be as lucky

* Despite its umbilical links with America, Canada’s economy suffered only a mild recession and is now well into a solid recovery. […] When Stephen Harper, the prime minister, hosts the get-togethers of the G8 and G20 countries next month he will be able to boast to his visitors that his country’s economy is set to perform better than that of any other rich country this year.
* The main reason for the country’s economic resilience is that neither its financial system nor its housing market magnified the recession. The banks remained in profit. House prices held up fairly well and are now rising. And for that regulators deserve a chunk of the credit.
* Canada’s banks face high capital requirements and a cap on their leverage, such that their assets cannot exceed 20 times their capital (a lot less than the corresponding figure for many Wall Street firms and European banks). Canadians who take out mortgages worth more than 80% of the value of the property must also take out insurance against default from a federal agency.
*  By 1995 Canada’s chronic fiscal deficits, towering public debt and stagnant economy prompted the Wall Street Journal to call it “an honorary member of the Third World”. Years of deficit cutting followed. The result was that Mr Harper’s government could easily afford the modest stimulus it applied in 2008. Government debt in Canada is still below 36% of GDP (and will soon fall), little more than half the (rising) ratio in the United States.
Maar ook een mindere noot:
*  And Canada’s fiscal health will soon come under strain from the treasured but expensive public health-care system and an ageing population. There is little sign that the country’s politicians are ready to deal with either.
* Strict financial regulation and a new commodity boom have turned “boring” Canada into an economic star.
* Their economy is so intertwined with their neighbour’s that when the United States plunged into recession, Canadians assumed they would be dragged along for the ride. […] Yet whereas the United States has still not officially declared its recession over, Canada is nine months into recovery from its mildest and shortest downturn in recent history. Unemployment has been falling since last August.
* Jim Flaherty, the finance minister, attributes Canada’s strong performance to its “boring” financial system. Prodded by tight regulation, the banks were much more conservative in their lending than their American counterparts.
* The volume and value of home sales in Canada are now at record highs. In some areas the market looks downright frothy: a modest house in Ottawa listed at C$439,000 ($435,000) recently sold for $600,000. “A lot of homes are selling in one day, and often for over the asking price,” says David Cullwick, a local estate agent. Rising prices have bolstered the construction industry and sellers of furniture and building materials.
En dat hebben we ter plaatse allemaal goed kunnen merken! Niet dat dit natuurlij nieuws is voor ons. Toen we onze aanvraag voor een visum verstuurden, kregen we voor elke euro 1,6 Canadese dollar. Ondertussen krijgen we niet eens meer 1,3 Canadese dollar… Heel wat centjes minder dus om een huis te kopen! En dat terwijl de huizenprijzen waanzinnig zijn en nog verder stijgen. We zijn er ons dus van bewust dat we qua huis moeten gaan inleveren, maar dat vinden we geen ramp.

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