Invest locally and in people

Wilhelm Waldstein enjoys Mayor Furney's poetry but not his economic views.

Dear editor,

“Show me the money!”

The favourite phrase of my dear friend Robert Bennett (he died last September and I miss him dearly, our night-and-day political philosophies notwithstanding).

I have no taste in taking on Mayor Gerry Furney in regards to the resource-based view of economics and the dependence on the same for creating employment in our area. I recommend the read of Small is Beautiful and Good Work by E. Fritz Schumacher, on the production of essential goods and services, and “economics as if people matter.”

If I only had a little bit of that Rockefeller money (and by the way, I am delighted that the fortunes accumulated during the crassest periods of capitalism — when great fortunes were accumulated as striking workers were driven off at gunpoint — that same money is apparently now at work to help save the planet from getting polluted out of existence.)

As I was about to say: if I only had a little bit of that Rockefeller money: I bought at the time of publication thirteen copies of House of War/The Pentagon/The Disastrous Rise of American Power and distributed the same to people I thought were sophisticated enough and economically/environmentally aware enough of the wrongness of the billions, indeed trillions, being spent on weapons production and endangering the planet with a nuclear arsenal that could destroy us a hundred times over. It would take just a single occurrence beyond the control of those in charge and mankind could still disappear in a nuclear disaster.

I am reminded of when I was 13 years old in Germany when Goering shouted to the crowd, “Wollt ihr Butter or Kanonen?” (Do you want butter or cannons?), and the crowd roared back, “Kanonen.” They were taught a bitter lesson when their big cities were attacked en masse and the horror of modern warfare was brought home to them.

I — we — “want to grow our economy.” I dislike that expression. We need the $45b that is allegedly to be spent on military ships and airplanes to be spent on peaceful endeavours. Imagine! Each small city, one thousand of them, could receive $45m to create small industries.

I approached Mayor Furney some time ago to ask if the three towns would become partners in creating a sawmill, as I have in my home town of Weissenstadt, creating 80 to 90 permanent jobs — and not boom and bust jobs. He told me to talk to Bev Parnham, the mayor of Port Hardy. As you all know, it takes economic start-up money.

I like to reminisce about happier times when Gerry and I were younger. In 1956 I applied for a job on Beatty Street in Vancouver. When they found out that I played the clarinet they gave me a cushy job in the finishing room.

I have often asked: why did not every employee put five or ten dollars from each pay cheque into a common fund for a future investment in buying the mill as a cooperative?

Canadians! “Sawyers of wood and drawers of water!”

And by the way: Gerry, I bought not one but three copies of your published book, your poetry. A job well done, and I recommend the book to anyone. We are proud of you. I am not so sure I can agree with your resource-based economic view though. May the Lord protect us from oil spills and foreign ownership companies!

Wilhelm Waldstein

Port Hardy

 

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