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The Big Ideas of 2009

Jan/Feb 2009

Only in Canada

The trend in the Anglo-American world is to move beyond the conservatism of the Bush era and support progressive, environmentally-conscious governments. Canadians, however, have elected Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper for another term as prime minister, positioning Canada as an outcast among developed nations when it comes to taking action on climate change.

Big Idea: A Steady-State Economy

The growth economy is failing and we have to attempt a steady-state economy. The steady state answer is that the rich should reduce their throughput growth to free up resources and ecological space for use by the poor, while focusing their domestic efforts on development, technical and social improvements, that can be freely shared with poor countries.

Big in Japan

The sudden increase in popularity of Kanikosen (The Crab-Canning Ship), a bleak 20th century novel seething with proletarian despair, points to tectonic shifts taking place beneath the polished veneer of Japanese society.

Spiraling into Chaos

Less than a decade ago Mexico was considered the darling of Latin America. International analysts applauded the country as a beacon of democracy, justice and modernity. Today, violence and organized crime in Mexico are escalating, prompting writer Mónica López to wonder if the country is descending into a land of violence, lawlessness and chaos.

Seismic Shifts Down Under

The first months of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s term in office were full of positive action: he ratified Kyoto, promised to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and publicly apologized to Indigenous Australians for years of mistreatment. But no honeymoon lasts forever, and as Rudd’s term unfolds his conservative side is coming to light.