CETA and Toronto “Reasonableness”

18 03 2012

Free trade agreements between countries are made with the intention of boosting trade by broadening markets which then, ostensibly, increase output and employment. Such a scenario would be a net economic benefit to trade partners, despite the fact that there might be initial growing pains and job losses which are a natural result of a shift toward economic specialization, a by-product of trade agreements.  On the other side of the debate, anti-free trade proponents argue the net economic result is one in which factories and jobs are exported to countries with lower minimum wages and production costs. The reality is much less stark  than either of these two views suggest.

The Council of the City of Toronto has asked for a permanent exemption from the Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA) that the federal government is currently negotiating because it felt that too much autonomy over its economic and environmental decisions would be sacrificed. Since trade agreements are legally binding on signatories, municipal governments do not have jurisdiction for agreeing to or even complying with such treaties.  Municipalities operating outside any such agreement would be in violation of the treaty and probably result in countervailing trade sanctions or penalties.

The Canadian government has not included municipalities in the negotiations assuming them to be represented by provincial Premiers (whose agreement to the treaty is mandatory). Toronto clearly feels this not to be the case.  With the backdrop of a massive manufacturing decline when NAFTA was enacted, it has been argued the net economic outcome would leave Toronto in the red – a result of manufacturing job loss. The agreement would end the ‘Buy Canadian’ policy for public purchases – a policy which has bolstered local businesses – since it would require municipal governments to consider bids from European companies when contracting with the private sector.

Unions and environmental groups have joined their voices to the anti-CETA coalition arguing that the deal could lead to the privatization of Canadian waterways, increased drug costs and foreign limitations on environmental policies. Officials of the European Union have admitted that Europe will be able to export more than Canada.

It is clearly reasonable that Toronto has serious and legitimate reservations about CETA, particularly since it has not been involved in the negotiations and since elements of the agreement will have a negative impact not only on its autonomy but also its economy.  Toronto is the manufacturing heart of Canada. With a resultant balance of trade favouring Europeans on this playing field the fortunes of Toronto will take a hit. But is it reasonable for Toronto to ask for a permanent exemption from CETA?  While the answer to this may well be in the affirmative it must be admitted that it is also not realistic. Neither the government of Canada nor the EU will agree to a deal that excludes Canada’s manufacturing centre. Since CETA will be binding on the city, the request for a permanent exclusion must be viewed as an effort to have some influence on the negotiations, to have its voice heard. From this perspective CAW President, Ken Lewenza, is correct in describing the Toronto Council move as “reasonable”.


The Treatment of the Vacuum as a Bosonic Field

30 10 2011

The Treatment of the Vacuum as a Bosonic Field, gcm

Is It Time to Restructure the Financing of our Social Programs?

30 10 2011

Now is the time not only to manage government debt responsibly, but also to restructure debt financing through the government access to capital markets.

Following the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009, governments in North America and elsewhere are faced with smaller tax revenues at a time when citizens rely more heavily on government funded social programs. This has resulted in significantly increased government deficits and debts, which in turn have put pressure on governments to reduce fiscal outlays for social programs in order to reduce the debt load.

Here, and in the United States, most of the social programs, such as health care, government pension plans and social security, employment insurance, etc., may be described as “unfunded liabilities.” This means that, with the exception of the Canada Pension Plan, social programs rely largely on tax revenues and interest bearing notes for funding, and are not supported by capital investments.

Paul Martin, while serving as Finance Minister of Canada in the late 1990s, put in place legislation that would allow Canada Pension Plan to access the capital markets in order to provide a capital base by purchasing equity funding for the Plan. Basically, the Canada Pension Plan assumed the same approach to funding as corporate pension plans. The Canada Pension Plan is now on much more solid footing with a capital and income base to weather economic storms and reduce the long-term burden on tax-payers and government debt.

Based on this experience, it would seem equally appropriate to apply the same measures to finance health care, and other social programs. For example, in the United States, the Social Security program, and government funded parts of Medicare, could be funded by the same means used by private insurance companies. In the late 1990s, former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, advocated such an approach to Social Security. That approach was not supported by Congress at the time. Our Canadian experience with the Canada Pension Plan has demonstrated the net benefit of such fiscal policy approaches.

While there will always be an ideologically based core group who advocate separation between government and private sectors, obviously there would be a net benefit to the private sector, as well as the public, if governments were to gain broader access to equity markets to fund and capitalize social programs generally. This is because, in part and over the long haul, it would bring a lower tax burden on citizens and corporations, would reduce government debt-equity ratios, and provide increased and lasting stability to capital markets.

Restructuring social programs as funded liabilities would allow governments to truly invest in the people they serve.

Can We Engage the Private Sector in Joining Governments in Funding Programs for Energy and Infrastructure Programs?

30 10 2011

The Canadian approach to funding energy and infrastructure projects should include, in future, investment funds jointly funded and managed in cooperation with the private sector.

To date, in part because many provinces in Canada generally power their electricity grids by means of government owned power utilities, the burden for raising equity for investment in the electrical power generating sector has fallen in large measure on the tax revenues accrued by provincial governments, and by the rate-payers. Strategies for electrical energy sector investment have also been developed in large measure by provincial government energy ministries which then must vie with competing budgets in other ministries, and market forces. Capital outlays for needed new electrical power developments can easily result in severe effects on government fiscal policy where those outlays are paid for by public debt instruments and tax revenues.

Some provincial governments have made the electrical energy sector more open to development by private investors, most notably in Ontario. However, huge capital investment is still needed in the province to meet forecast demand loads, which will place great pressure on the governments’ ability to manage and meet all the demands on its fiscal policy. Similar considerations apply to most other provinces in their energy sector strategies.

Ontario has also led the way in providing an overall government agency to promote and advise on investment strategies for electrical power generation, including investment in clean energy producers. This agency, the Ontario Power Authority, advises and directs the government and business leaders in matters of developing and allocating investment programs.

While this policy approach has resulted in meaningful improvements to the development of diverse and clean electrical energy supplies, huge capital outlays are still required for sustaining and building base-load power generation. It may be possible to address these funding issues by engaging private investors in a government sponsored investment fund to build capital reserves for new electrical developments, including base-load power generators.

Such a fund, structured along the lines of a mutual fund, would provide a source of capital for power generator providers where the private and public investors would be compensated by dividends arising from the revenues accruing from the new electrical power generation. It would have the advantage of funding provincial and private investments in the sector by providing a source of equity otherwise not available. It would also address impacts on the debt load on the provinces that otherwise would accrue from current approaches to funding new power plants.

Certain tax credit mechanisms may be included for private investors to apply against other capital gains and taxable revenue streams. Equity raised by the funds would be done on a “just in time basis,” and electrical power developers would be required to make interest payments on capital obtained from the fund, in advance of dividends arising from revenues that may later be realized by power generation from new power plants. In this manner, investors would be compensated in a reasonable and timely manner for capital investments in power plant construction that would take many years to complete. Companies, including government owned companies, that borrow capital from the funds would be held to strict financial guidelines to ensure that the companies are on a sound investment grade structure. Any investment capital provided by the funds would be done as a secured debt meeting applicable provincial legislation, or through other ad hoc means of reciprocal equity financing by providing direct and proportional ownership of the new plants by fund investors.

In a time of fiscal stress now impacting provincial and federal governments, new financial strategies will be necessary to address demands and impact on government’s fiscal policy. This would be true, as well, for infrastructure projects generally.

Joint government and private sector investment strategies for infrastructure investment may be just what the doctor ordered in these times of fiscal stress.

30 10 2011

Quantization of Special Relativity, amended, gcm

An Imperial E-Mail to Americans

11 10 2011

          To the citizens of the United States of America

            from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy). In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and, therefore,not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters,  and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’  Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.  (look up ‘vocabulary’).

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.  The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of  ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists.  The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent.  Guns should only be used for shooting grouse.  If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler.  Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect.  At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.   Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon.  Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips.  Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of  known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.  New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.  They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.  Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football.  There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders).  Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball.  It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America.  Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.  You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK.  It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream)  when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Seriously Canada, This Is Who We Are?

16 04 2011

A quiet panic clawing my throat, barely held at bay by the frequent and deliberate redirection of my attention, grew to a fevered pitch this morning with the rash of mainstream media headlines proclaiming Harper storming to a majority. I guzzled some Bromo Seltzer, tuned into Judge Judy for half an hour and my world began to morph back into the craggy, slightly psychotic but comfortably familiar mien I have come to know. There are some stragglers still stuck in my craw though. I keep coming back to one pulsating question: Seriously Canada, this is who we are?

This man, Stephen Harper, is who we select time and time again to represent our values, aspirations and ideals? Are we no more than a mean-spirited, fear-guzzling, self-centered, xenophobic, reactionary, nation of apathetic tv watchers stuffed to the gills with sound bites and outright lies, whose favourite past time is the stalking and capture of the almighty dollar? Have we become such middle class gourmands that we can afford to carry the cellulite Harper world view around our midriffs in all its spare tire glory? Be damned the clogging of our arteries!

Yes, the economy is important but for very different reasons than the corporatists, who now hold sway, would have us believe. Their concern for the middle and lower class is fickle, superficial and ephemeral; were their need for labourers to disappear tomorrow, all but the very elite would find themselves soon kicked to the curb. A strong economy is important because it allows us to surpass the hard-scrabble battle of survival and to give of ourselves, to our families, our neighbours and strangers. This is why we join in the struggle to better the economy.

The Harper mantra for this election is “economy”.  I can almost see him reclined in the lotus position, his tantra opens in his mind’s eye and he starts his chant, “E…connn… aummm…y…E…connn…aummm…y“. Well, you get the idea. Oh, a quick aside to any real right wing readers, just because I mentioned the lotus flower does not a Maoist of me make. In any case, it’s almost as if Harper’s relentless chanting of this basic mantra has swept the nation into a transcendental, robotic state of acquiescence. We all nod in rhythmic, automaton agreement, “Yes master, the economy is supreme”. But we should stop and consider why the economy is important to us on an individual and national level. It is not an end in and of itself, rather, it is a means to an end. A strong economy lets us fulfill our better instincts; to feed and educate our children, to ensure that every citizen has equal access to healthcare and education, to offer refuge to, both, citizens and foreigners in distress, to improve the world we leave to future generations,  to promote universal human rights, to facilitate and maintain peace amongst individuals and nations and to ensure that justice is applied in an even handed, non-discriminatory fashion. These are only a few of the jewels in the crown of a thriving economy but each one has far greater value and longevity than any accumulation of wealth could ever aspire to.

Despite this, the Harper Tories, given their druthers, would pry out the gems, melt down the gold and divide it all amongst corporations and the wealthiest few, while attempting to convince the rest of us, who have been left to wrestle over the slag, that this is all doable due to some previously untapped alchemical process. Jets, prisons, corporate tax cuts – no worries! We can haz it all! Just eat your slag and shut up. Huzzah!

Harper’s Tories want us to believe that we are on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, hunted by the Balrog and that they alone can fend off the monster. “Fly, you fools”, Harper shouts as he wrestles the great, unearthly economic undoing into the abyss.  I fervently believe that we are better than that. We still have it in us to be the nation we were building towards when we abolished the death penalty, introduced universal health care, led the way in peacekeeping and threw our doors open to refugees and immigrants. We have it in us to be that nation because that is the country we inherited from our forefathers whose footprints, albeit somewhat faint these days, are, nonetheless, indelible .  It is the spirit of Canada and though it may be dormant now, the time for hibernation always comes to an end.  When that slumbering beast awakes, rubs the sleep from its eyes and gathers its wits, it will find it has an insatiable hunger for the progressive, fair and kind Canada that once filled its belly. If only the progressive centre-left would take its hand off the self-destruct button, that beast might have a chance of finding much needed sustenance.

Looking at you Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May.

Demand Side Versus Supply Side Economics

19 03 2011

One of the continuing mantras of the neo-conservative approach to economic theory is embodied in their emphasis on supply side economics, touted by Reagan and Thatcher supporters to the present day. The theory is that with economic deregulation and tax incentives to corporations and business owners, the business sector is better able to effectively grow and efficiently manage their companies, without unnecessary government intervention.

At the same time, the investment community, in its current paradigm, argues that the strength of the consumer sector, or demand side, is essential to driving economic growth expectations. Yet few groups within the investment and business community emphasize the importance of demand side fiscal policies. The argument is that by catering to the stimulus of the supply side through various tax and regulatory incentives, business growth fosters sufficient wealth to bolster the demand side by hiring workers and by making improvements in market efficiencies through deregulation.  This general approach is commonly known as the “trickle down” effect.

Historically, the truth is that whenever the classical supply side approach is taken in fiscal policy, it results in exaggeration of boom-bust business cycles, and consistently puts further stress on the viability of the middle and lower income sectors. This is borne out by the experience of recessions during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, including the double dip recession of the early 1990s, and the more recent and nearly catastrophic results of the Bush Jr. administration. These recessions are caused, in large measure, by unbalanced tax policies and a regulatory structure that fails to ensure sound corporate investment and spending behaviours.

Another argument from supply-side economists is founded on the somewhat blinkered belief that tax incentives for corporations result in higher corporate investment and spending, thus increasing the tax base and ultimately tax revenues. The unfortunate effect, however, is that these very tax incentives result in higher government deficits and debts that cause higher inflation. Given these new parameters, monetary policy usually emphasizes inflation rate management through higher interest rates. This effect is well established in the history of economic behaviours in response to these policies. In other words, the increased “effective tax rate” resulting from high inflation and high interest rates on both business and the consumer caused by the tax cuts becomes greater in magnitude than the gross tax rate cut, and results in an economic squeeze on the consumer sector of the economy.

Perhaps by moderation of the tendency of neo-conservative governments to deregulate the business sector and by adoption of regulatory policies to ensure responsible investment and spending by business leaders, some of the more extreme downturns in market economies may be better mitigated and managed. A progressive and productive economic policy envisions corporate tax reductions tied to corporate hiring policies and, possibly, re-investment practices. In addition, any tax reductions should first take into consideration reductions to the middle and lower income sectors with the objective of a fair and balanced distribution of the overall taxation burden.

The time has arrived when government, business, and labour leaders need to refocus and rebalance demand side versus supply side sectors of the economy.


16 03 2011

Human rights defenders Marisela Ortiz and Maria Luisa Andrade have fled their homes in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, following death threats, harassment and intimidation. Their lives and those of their families are at risk.

In the early hours of 10 March a large banner displaying a death threat against Marisela Ortiz and her son was hung at the school where she teaches. It read “If you want to keep helping the bitch called Malu, fucking teacher Marisela Ortiz, we’re going to screw your family starting with your son Rowe, we have him on the list, sincerely JL” (“Si querias seguir apoyando a la pinche culera de la licenciada Malu, maestrita de mierda Marisela Ortiz vamos a chingarnos a tu familia empezando por tu hijo el chapulin del Rowe que ya lo tenemos en la lista, Att JL”). Publicly displayed banners containing threats and other messages are frequently used by organized crime groups in Mexico. On 16 February, the home of Maria Luisa (Malu) Andrade was damaged in an arson attack by unknown individuals.

Marisela Ortiz and Maria Luisa Andrade are well known human rights defenders who founded Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Our Daughters Return Home) to campaign for justice and an end to impunity for the abduction, rape, and killing of women in Ciudad Juárez. In 2008 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered Mexico to provide Marisela Ortiz and Maria Luisa Andrade with protection measures. To date, however, the Mexican government has failed to grant them any meaningful protection and those responsible for the threats and acts of intimidation have not been identified or brought to justice.

The threats follow a pattern of attacks against women defenders in the state which the Mexican authorities have failed to effectively investigate. In January 2010, Josefina Reyes, who had been active in protests against violence linked to organized crime, and human rights violations committed by the military, was murdered in to the east of Ciudad Juárez. In December 2010, local activist Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was murdered on Chihuahua City’s main square by an armed man during a protest to demand justice for the murder of her daughter Rubí Marisol Frayre Escobedo. On 10 January 2011, human rights defender Susana Chavez’s body was found in central Ciudad Juárez.


* Express concern for the safety of the Marisela Ortiz, Maria Luisa Andrade, their families and other local activists working in Ciudad Juárez.

* Call for immediate measures to protect Marisela Ortiz, Maria Luisa Andrade and their families to be implemented in accordance with the wishes of those at risk.

* Insist on prompt investigation into the threats and arson attack on the home of Maria Luisa García Andrade and for those responsible to be brought to justice.


Minister of the Interior:

Lic. José Francisco Blake Mora

Secretario, Sec. de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez

Delegación Cuauhtémoc

México D.F., C.P. 06600, MÉXICO

Fax:                 011 52 55 5093 3414

Email:                         secretario@segob.gob.mx

Salutation:     Dear Minister / Estimado Señor Secretario

Governor of Chihuahua State:

Lic. César Duarte

Gobernador del Estado de Chihuahua

Palacio de Gobierno

1er piso, C. Aldama #901

Col. Centro

Chihuahua, Estado de Chihuahua

C.P 31000, México

Salutation: Señor Gobernador / Dear Governor

State Attorney General:

Carlos Manuel Salas

Fiscalía General del Estado

Edificio de Procuraduría 3 Piso A

C. Vicente Guerrero # 616

Col. Centro

Chihuahua, Estado de Chihuahua

C.P 31000, México

Fax:                 011 52 614 415 0314

Salutation:     Dear Sir / Estimado Fiscal General


His Excellency Francisco J. Barrio Terrazas

Ambassador for Mexico

45 O’Connor Street, Suites 1000 & 1030

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A4

Fax:                 (613) 235-9123

Email: buzon@embamexcan.com

And to the head of the human rights commission

Email:             gustavo.delarosa@gmail.com


Since 2007, violence linked to organized crime has spiraled in Mexico. The government has reported more than 34,000 organized crime related killings. The majority of these murders have occurred in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state. President Calderón’s administration has attempted to combat the drug cartels by deploying thousands of federal police and over 50,000 military personnel in the worst affected areas, particularly Ciudad Juárez. However this has not resulted in a reduction in violence.

Defending human rights is a dangerous job in Mexico. Scores of activists have suffered death threats, intimidation, and harassment in the last few years. Mexican human rights defenders have demanded that the federal authorities adopt and implement an effective and comprehensive protection program. The authorities have acknowledged the importance of establishing a protection program and have committed to delivering it on many occasions, but so far they have not fulfilled their promise.

Get Your Head Out Of Your Mama’s Apron Dude: Artsy-Fartsies Are Essential!

11 03 2011

A widely held view in some parts of the political culture is that government funding for the Arts, including theatre, film, music, literature, painting and sculpture is a non-essential public service and is a facile, if not willing, sacrifice demanded by the gods of budget cutting programs and austerity measures. Perched on this outcropping of conservative logic, one can see the tops of all those artsy-fartsy heads buried in their mamas’ aprons bemoaning the cat’s cradle game which morphed once benevolent purse strings into malevolent nooses. It is almost impossible to feel any empathy for supporters of the Arts in such a clime.

Far from being a non-essential service, however, the Arts are an integral part of shaping and reflecting a country’s cultural identity and value system. They bind a nation together.  They influence the way we view reality and ourselves, and provide great support to the public at large in focusing on the issues of values and beliefs facing our liberal democracies.  They provide an important bastion for our cultural and multicultural heritage, the foundations of which must be sufficiently robust to support our approach to the changing world awaiting us. The Arts are a universal language which can transcend ethnic, historic, geographic and gender-based borders ultimately turning differences into understanding and opposition into cooperation.

We are endlessly schooled in austerity economics, through the authoritarian, patronizing voice of the government. We learn, as if by rote, that priorities respecting public funding should be tilted towards programs that promote economic growth and security such as the military and penal institutions.  The almost cataclysmic effects of the Wall Street meltdown offered a propitious leg up to this school of thought. Just as the Japanese earthquake knocked the earth off its axis so too the economic crash skewed the importance of the above-mentioned sectors at the expense of the Arts.

Canadian nationhood is unique in the world. Not characterized by economic, historic, cultural or military accomplishment, our identity as a people was nurtured by the Arts in a subtle but profound diet. The Arts enabled diverse peoples to find a footing in a young nation and to move that nation forward. Insufficient funding in this area may lead to aggravation of national identity and, concomitantly, national unity. This is all the more poignant in a country where progressive, appreciative and humble multiculturalism is king. Our crowning achievements are tuques, turbans and yarmulkes not crowns.

Further buttressing the conservative distaste for funding of the Arts, is the myth that the Arts do not generate much wealth in the aggregate Gross Domestic Product.  The fact is the Arts provide the muscle to drive people together in addressing issues of public concern, and they also provide much of the grist the private sector uses in basic mechanisms of marketing their wares, including the aesthetic values of product design. The lines linking the Arts to the GDP engine may be dotted and less direct than those of many other government supported sectors but this does not relegate them to a wasteland of small L liberal economic initiatives anymore than the fragile tendrils of the “butterfly effect” renders the chaos theory worthy of dismissal.

Should the Arts be forced to expose its bare neck to the sharp blade of the budget cutting guillotine, it could be more than just the head of the Arts landing in the basket. It could be the heart and soul of our national unity, disembodied from its people in a post-modern political culture.