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Todd Whitcombe: Looming recession a global problem

It will impact the Canadian economy over the next couple of quarters and maybe for all of 2023.
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In one of my lectures, I have an animation showing dust rising from the ground in the Gobi Desert and travelling as a cloud across the Pacific Ocean to North America. To Prince George.

Another animation shows the sands of the Sahara being blown across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

Over the past few years, we have experienced wood smoke from forest fires in Siberia while our fires have spread smoke all the way to Ontario. Smoke from California has crept north to southern B.C.

Sue Simard has demonstrated that trees in a forest are all interconnected through the “wood wide web” – an intricate network of millions of species of fungi and bacteria swapping nutrients between the soil and trees while sharing beneficial compounds. A forest is an interconnected community.

All of these are examples showing the world is very connected. Much more than we typically envision. What happens in one part of the world can have far reaching impacts and it is not only true for the natural world. We are much more connected.

This is something most people recognize. The war in Ukraine impacts the lives of Canadians. The drought in China affects the world’s economy. The right-wing movement in the United States imperils democracy.

Economists, politicians, and business people around the world are bracing for the looming world-wide recession. It will impact the Canadian economy over the next couple of quarters and maybe for all of 2023.

The economic forces involved are not confined to Canada. They are not something created by our government. This is not “Liberal Inflation” or “Justinflation” as some opposition party members would like to label it. It is a consequence of an interconnected world economy.

It is the result of years of trade liberalization and a pandemic which has rocked the supply chain. Unfortunately, we are at a point where returning to isolationism as a strategy is no longer tenable. We live in an interconnected age.

The one thing we can’t do is rely on trickle-down economics. We are going to hear a lot about the need to cut taxes to the wealthy as a way to stimulate economic growth. The Brits will tell you it doesn’t work. We need a better approach to weather this recession.

Todd Whitcombe is a chemistry professor at UNBC.