Empty Spaces, Waiting
The unemployment rate in Canada was 9 % in September of this year of our transformation, 2020. It had been 10.5% in the previous month and even higher in the months previously. About one out of every 10 working age people in Canada is not currently working for money. I am certain many of those people are working – raising and educating children, cleaning homes, caring for elders, growing and preparing food. Many have benefitted from our very sensible covid financial supports to stay home and help keep everyone healthy.
Why on Gaia is a witch, a priestess, writing about unemployment rates? Because chaos is fertile, and an empty space attracts something to fill it.
Some places where people used to work, no longer exist. Covid has forced us to relocalize our economies, which is a good thing.
Now is the time to Envision
An empty space will be filled, either by something good or something else. I was on a zoom call with some dearly loved women yesterday. We each told a story from the perspective of 2030 about how the world sorted itself out, how climate change, among other things, resolved well. Together, we created the Good Reality. We created hope.
How we fixed climate change and social inequities
I told of how Canada implemented Guaranteed Minimum Income – after that pandemic way back in 2020, we realized how much more stable and weather-proof our society would be if there was a floor on what people could earn. We realized that the social determinants of health – the environment of food, shelter and safety a person is in – were a force for good when everyone had their basic needs met, guaranteed. That we didn’t have to worry as much about our economy collapsing, and that with GMI, so many social problems – domestic violence, homelessness and exploitation of all kinds – faded out the way cholera was vanquished by modern sewage treatment and hygeine, and smallpox with vaccines. People became hard to exploit, and had the security to make good choices.
We believed in intelligent, research based policies, not politics
I told of how Covid had convinced us all, or at least most of us, here in the sensible north of 40, that disregarding science was a bad idea, and that the best outcomes for all involved making desisions based on research not politics. Accordingly, we paid attention to the work of researchers who argue that high, uniform carbon taxes are the most effective and efficient way to reduce carbon production enough to save us. Basically, ruthlessly tax the heck out of any fuel that releases net carbon, and anything made or done using that fuel will become way more expensive, and the low carbon alternatives will be chosen by people, not to do the right thing, but because the have become the cheapest options. Companies that can’t do this will dwindle, and ones that can will grow. It’s nature. Return all those taxes to citizens and residents in the form of refundable tax credits (or maybe universal basic income/ guaranteed minimum income) and Canadians will have the money to do the right things, and the availability of goods and services produced without fossil fuel will be a lot higher.
We built a system that shared power fairly
I told of how we got proportional representation, which meant that more people had representatives who both shared their views and had influence over important decisions. More women and racialized people were elected, which is a well researched natural consequence of proportional representation.
Every good thing Canada has ever done – votes for women, universal health care, gun control, Canada Pension Plan, marriage equality and now a sensible pandemic response and Canada Emergency Response Benefit, happened when there was a minority government in power and polititians had to work together across party lines. Setting our political system up so that coalition and minority governments were not only the norm, but that the votes of all Canadians count, made all the difference.
From Little Things, Big Things Grow
In my writing about the Butterfly Effect, I talked about how deterministic (cause and effect) situations with non-linear potential were the ripest places for magic. When you have a gigantic, world altering problem, then you want to look for the ways where small changes, change everything for the good. This is good practice for magic and other ways of changing the world, and we need both to solve our problems.
So how does this relate to unemployment in Canada, back in 2020? With Guaranteed minimum income, displaced workers can be safe, fed and housed while they figure out something else to do for work, money can be moved from the super-wealthy to people who will spend it in Canada, carbon taxes will mean jobs becoming available in sectors where there is a future, and the hole becomes whole.
So mote it be.