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In the fashion industry, McShopping has gone global - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2017

invaded by the same global chains that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. In the main shopping districts of Paris, Madrid, London or Toronto, the invasion of the same global chains (e.g. Zara, H&M, Primark & Uniqlo) that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. It's destroying the visual identities of cities once visited for their unique charm.

The cheap-chic revolution has brought affordable fashion to the masses and, thanks to better monitoring of offshore factories, provided millions of decent jobs in developing countries. It also has its downsides. Massive amounts of "disposable" clothing end up in landfills each year. When clothes are this cheap, we don't think twice about chucking what we bought last month for something even trendier. Instead of four fashion seasons, we now have at least 12...... department stores are a dying breed. Those that survive will likely only do so by going global.
Konrad_Yakabuski  fast-fashion  fashion  apparel  retailers  department_stores  brands  globalization  concentration  identity  Uniqlo  H&M  HBC  Zara  Paris  Madrid  London  Toronto  disposability  Primark  uniqueness  J.Crew 
january 2018 by jerryking
Freeland moves from the Davos bubble to the real world - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017
......the Davos consensus (i.e. open borders, combined with activist government policies to redistribute income and promote social mobility, are the keys to ensuring global growth and stability. Ethnic and religious diversity as linchpins of modernity, not threats to social cohesion).

It is also a vision inimical to the Trump administration and senior Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who is tasked with keeping white working-class voters on board the Trump train. In the Bannon world view, globalism, diversity and the nanny state have eroded everything that once made America great. He admires Russian President Vladimir Putin’s skillful cultivation of ethnic and religious nationalism and wants to revive their domestic counterparts in America.....Rex Tillerson has been criticized for putting Texas-based Exxon’s bottom line ahead of U.S. national security interests. But as CEO, that was his job. If he applies himself as effectively on behalf of his country, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be ruthlessly focused. Realpolitik, not values, will dictate policy. Canada may be an afterthought.

Ms. Freeland will need to direct all of her abundant energy to earn the trust of both Mr. Bannon and Mr. Tillerson. The Trump people have no particular animus toward Canada – but they will not do us any favours either on softwood lumber exports or renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement.
cabinets  in_the_real_world  Davos  WEF  Chrystia_Freeland  Donald_Trump  Rex_Tillerson  Konrad_Yakabuski  Exxon  CEOs  NAFTA  Realpolitik  U.S.foreign_policy  whites  social_cohesion  Stephen_Bannon  working_class  open_borders 
march 2017 by jerryking
On campus, it’s good to be bothered by a diversity of ideas - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 05, 2016

consider the advice U.S. President Barack Obama gave last spring to the graduating class of Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C.

“Don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them,” Mr. Obama said in May. “There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. But listen. Engage. If the other side has a point, learn from them. If they’re wrong, rebut them. Teach them. Beat them on the battlefield of ideas. And you might as well start practising now, because one thing I can guarantee you, you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks … at every stage of your life.”

Better yet, students should, in Prof. Levinovitz’s words, see university as a “boot camp, not a hotel.” You’re there to toughen up for real life, not shield yourself from its infuriating injustices, painful conflicts and, yes, even the Donald Trumps of this world. Because they’re everywhere.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Colleges_&_Universities  diversity  ideas  intellectual_exploration  political_correctness  censorship  political_orthodoxy  free_speech  hate_speech  safe_spaces  civility  polarization  intellectual_diversity  disagreements  argumentation  heterogeneity  core_values 
september 2016 by jerryking
The risk of going easy on China - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Aug. 29, 2016
Konrad_Yakabuski  China 
august 2016 by jerryking
Venezuela reaps what Chavez sowed - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 23, 2016

Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, is reaping what Mr. Chavez sowed. The destruction of the economy through the nationalization of entire industries, hostility toward foreign investors and massive borrowing against the country’s vast oil reserves have left Venezuela on the brink of collapse. The very poor on whose behalf Mr. Chavez and Mr. Maduro claimed to be fighting their revolution are much worse off than they were before this pair took over.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Venezuela  mismanagement  authoritarianism  repression  criminality 
june 2016 by jerryking
Where do you begin to parse Trumponomics?
It has by now become abundantly clear that Donald Trump feels entirely unbound by anything he says. Never has a major U.S. party
Konrad_Yakabuski  Donald_Trump 
may 2016 by jerryking
St-Hubert, Rona and new fears of a hollowed-out Quebec Inc. - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 07, 2016

Existing institutions, starting with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, are increasingly seen as being unable or unwilling to play the gatekeeper role that prevented key businesses from falling into outside hands in the past. The Caisse, which manages investments for the Quebec Pension Plan and other provincial retirement regimes, is much more focused on global opportunities as it seeks the returns it needs to prepare for an onslaught of pensioners.

For former Rona chief executive officer Robert Dutton, that became painfully clear in 2012 when Lowe’s first tabled a hostile bid for the Quebec chain. Speaking out for the first time last week, Mr. Dutton told Radio-Canada that Caisse chief Michael Sabia had always favoured Rona’s sale, but was forced by then Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand to block the Lowe’s bid in 2012. Mr. Dutton’s ouster and subsequent board changes, he said, were engineered by the Caisse to pave the way for a much richer bid by Lowe’s, a premium made possible by a weak Canadian dollar.

Mr. Sabia has offered a different version of events. In 2012, the Caisse, which owned about 17 per cent of Rona, believed that the Quebec chain could still be a consolidator in the North American home-renovation sector if it boosted its competitiveness. By early 2016, that plan no longer seemed feasible. “Rona was improving, but it was still not well-positioned,” Mr. Sabia said in February.
CDPQ  competitiveness  consolidation  economic_nationalism  gatekeepers  generational_change  hollowing_out  Konrad_Yakabuski  Quebec  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  multinationals  weak_dollar 
april 2016 by jerryking
Is Solomon scandal the latest sign of a CBC celebrity culture? - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2015

Like so many other journalists in the tiny Ottawa bubble, Mr. Solomon seems to have confused what is ultimately a transactional relationship with friendship. But only a naive or egotistical reporter could think “people of great power” want to be their friend for their intellect or sense of humour.
celebrities  scandals  CBC  Konrad_Yakabuski  Evan_Solomon  politics  journalism  journalists 
june 2015 by jerryking
America’s racial divide widens under Obama’s watch - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 07 2015,

African-Americans are sliding down an economic ladder they had been gradually climbing. Millions of black people who moved north during the Great Migration of the mid-20th century found jobs in bustling factories. Millions more found public-sector jobs – as teachers, postal employees or city workers – as black people took over city governments and congressional seats in places such as Baltimore and Detroit. These workers formed the basis of a black middle class.

But the previous recession hit black people harder than any other group. Manufacturing was shedding jobs before the crash; governments and the post office followed suit when it hit. As Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead has noted, black people accounted for less than 12 per cent of the U.S. work force in 2011, but 21 per cent of postal employees and 20 per cent of all government workers. But with government and manufacturing in retreat, black people faced bleak job prospects.

The new economy is largely a black-free zone. A USA Today analysis last year found that African-Americans occupied only 2 per cent of the jobs at seven big Silicon Valley companies. That’s not hard to understand given the state of public schools in places such as Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, where political nepotism and unions have stood in the way of reform.

Meanwhile, systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system – black people are far more likely than white people to be sentenced to jail for minor drug violations, ending up with criminal records that make them virtually unemployable – is so deep as to cry out for a national inquiry.
racial_disparities  Silicon_Valley  Ted_Cruz  Konrad_Yakabuski  Campaign_2016  digital_economy  race_relations  Obama  downward_mobility  African-Americans  public_sector  middle_class  Walter_Russell_Mead  systemic_discrimination  criminal_justice_system  joblessness  public_schools  Great_Migration  sentencing  downward_spirals  institutional_path_dependency 
may 2015 by jerryking
Infrastructure spending is no miracle cure - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 23 2015

In some circles, infrastructure spending is seen as a miracle cure to lift the economy, if not political fortunes. With rock bottom interest rates, proponents say now is the perfect time to ramp up spending on trains and subways in order to stimulate growth, relieve congestion and boost long-term productivity.

As with most economic strategies, however, the devil is in the execution....You can always find studies to buttress your claims that new infrastructure pays for itself by stimulating the economy and generating jobs during the construction phase while boosting productivity thereafter. But this is hardly true across the board. Does anyone believe the Sheppard subway line has made Toronto’s economy more productive? It’s a sinkhole whose operating costs are a drain on the rest of the transit system.

And what about Pearson Airport’s Terminal 1? It’s a cavernous monster that adds to passenger stress levels while subtracting from their productivity. Speaking of poorly conceived projects, the soon-to-open rail link between Pearson and downtown Toronto appears to rely on overly optimistic ridership projections.

In our infrastructure envy, we decry our subways, roads and commuter trains as second-rate. But proper scale and functionality are far more important than fancy architecture or expensive materials.
Konrad_Yakabuski  infrastructure  politics  debt  second-rate  Keynesian  scaling  functionality  UPX  interest_rates  sinkholes  low-interest  overoptimism 
april 2015 by jerryking
The lost art of political persuasion - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 25 2015

Talking points are hardly a 21st century political innovation. But they have so crowded out every other form of discourse that politics is now utterly devoid of honesty, unless it’s the result of human error. The candidates are still human, we think, though the techies now running campaigns are no doubt working on ways to remove that bug from their programs.

Intuition, ideas and passion used to matter in politics. Now, data analytics aims to turn all politicians into robots, programmed to deliver a script that has been scientifically tested...The data analysts have algorithms that tell them just what words resonate with just what voters and will coax them to donate, volunteer and vote.

Politics is no longer about the art of persuasion or about having an honest debate about what’s best for your country, province or city. It’s about microtargeting individuals who’ve already demonstrated by their Facebook posts or responses to telephone surveys that they are suggestible. Voters are data points to be manipulated, not citizens to be cultivated....Campaign strategists euphemistically refer to this data collection and microtargeting as “grassroots engagement” or “having one-on-one conversations” with voters....The data analysts on the 2012 Obama campaign came up with “scores” for each voter in its database, or what author Sasha Issenberg called “a new political currency that predicted the behaviour of individual humans.
Konrad_Yakabuski  persuasion  middle_class  politicians  massive_data_sets  political_campaigns  data_scientists  data_driven  data_mining  microtargeting  behavioural_targeting  politics  data  analytics  Campaign_2012 
april 2015 by jerryking
Quebec students get a lesson in austerity - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Mar. 30 2015

Any society would be in big trouble if its students, out of fear or complacency, did not protest. Challenging the existing order is a rite of adulthood and an initiation into democracy. Social change often starts on campuses, those righteous repositories of the social conscience of a nation.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Quebec  Colleges_&_Universities  austerity 
april 2015 by jerryking
Think tanks need to show us the money - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Feb. 09 2015

Like Brookings, almost of all of Canada’s leading think tanks claim to be independent and non-partisan. But while none – not even the Broadbent Institute – is directly affiliated with a political party, it’s not hard to discern an identifiable political agenda in the research they produce. American think tanks, says former think-tank founder David Callahan, “often operate as the motherships of ideological movements – weaving together a jumble of values and ideas into a coherent story and actionable agenda.” You could easily say the same of most of their Canadian counterparts.
Konrad_Yakabuski  think_tanks  lobbying  Brookings  institution-building  networks  institutions  political_infrastructure  transparency  political_advocacy  policy_analysis  policy  conflicts_of_interest  policymaking 
february 2015 by jerryking
You can’t predict a black swan - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 29 2015

The New York snowstorm that wasn’t, like the Swiss currency storm that was, are reminders that sophisticated computer models used to predict the future are useless in the face of the unpredictable. Instead of seeking a false assurance in the models, it’s better to prepare, to the extent possible, to weather any storm Mother Nature or man dishes up.

Black swans are “large-scale, unpredictable and irregular events of massive consequence,” as defined by the author who popularized the term in a 2007 book. Given their unpredictability, says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the solution cannot lie in developing better predictive methods....Robust policy – such as sustainable public finances or effective bank regulations – must be designed to withstand black swans.
Konrad_Yakabuski  forecasting  weather  public_policy  reminders  modelling  unpredictability  assumptions  antifragility  Nassim_Taleb  black_swan  resilience  risk-management  policymaking 
january 2015 by jerryking
In the push to get back to black, don’t ignore the economy - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 19 2015 | The Globe and Mail | KONRAD YAKABUSKI.

Rather than worrying about whether Ottawa will be slightly in the red or slightly in the black over the next few years, the questions Canadians should be asking are the following: Is a smaller federal government good for the country if it means reduced services and the gutting of federal institutions? And do the Tories have an economic action plan that does not rely on a global commodities supercycle to underwrite growth?
cutbacks  Konrad_Yakabuski  Jim_Flaherty  Ottawa  public_sector  policy  budgets  Joe_Oliver  commodities_supercycle  austerity 
january 2015 by jerryking
Fighting inequality is not a job for Toronto’s new mayor - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 04 2014,

Inequality is a society-wide phenomenon best addressed through national and provincial policy tools – partly taxes, but mostly by fostering equality of opportunity with good public schools and health care.

Besides, a higher minimum wage for Toronto alone would only end up hurting those it is meant to help, leading to fewer hours, less job creation and a shift in employment to the suburbs. It would also drive up the cost of living for those least able to absorb it.

City governments can do their part to mitigate inequality by creating safe neighbourhoods, with parks and recreation facilities, accessible public transit and by providing adequate social housing to those who truly need it. Mr. Tory will have his hands full as it is.
Konrad_Yakabuski  mayoral  Toronto  John_Tory  inequality  policy_tools  equality_of_opportunity  public_schools  public_transit  neighbourhoods  parks  social_housing 
december 2014 by jerryking
School-board politics, the gateway drug - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 20 2014
TDSB  Konrad_Yakabuski  dysfunction 
november 2014 by jerryking
Is there life in MaRS? Dubious - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 16 2014
MaRS  Konrad_Yakabuski  Ontario  Liberals  Vivek_Wadhwa 
october 2014 by jerryking
Is Poloz making the loonie fly low? - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 25 2014

the governor of the Bank of Canada does not take his marching orders from the government. But the government does influence monetary policy by choosing the governor.

Ask Jean Chrétien. In John Crow’s case, “I didn’t agree with what he had done under [Brian] Mulroney by opting to wrestle inflation to the ground with high interest rates in the middle of a recession and with a high Canadian dollar,” the former prime minister wrote in his memoirs.

Mr. Chrétien turfed Mr. Crow within two months of his 1993 election and replaced him with Gordon Thiessen. The dollar began what seemed like a fortuitous descent from 76 cents to 62 cents in 2002, triggering a manufacturing-led export boom in Central Canada.

The flip side of that boom, however, was complacency. With a low loonie, Canadian manufacturers ignored the need to become more productive and innovative. Thoroughly unmodern, few had any other competitive advantage to fall back on when surging oil prices drove the dollar to parity in 2007.

A lower dollar can put the wind in your sails for a while. Long-term, not so much.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Stephen_Poloz  Bank_of_Canada  loonie  interest_rates  monetary_policy  central_banking  Jean_Chrétien  productivity  complacency  weak_dollar  manufacturers 
september 2014 by jerryking
A distinctly Canadian oath – I’ll swear to that - The Globe and Mail
ow can swearing allegiance to a little old lady on another continent mean that? Because, through the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Quebec Act of 1774, Confederation and the Constitution Act, 1982, we progressively transformed the monarchy into a secular symbol of our democracy and respect for the rule of law. One can swear allegiance to the Queen (as a symbol) and argue for the abolition of the monarchy.
Konrad_Yakabuski  oaths  Canada  Canadian  constitutions  constitutional_monarchies  Confederation 
august 2014 by jerryking
Will we ever be proud of our oil sands? - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 23 2014

Unless politicians and industry do a better job at making the case for their exploitation, they will sow regional tensions and exacerbate a national malaise about the direction the country is heading.

The first step involves spelling out for Canadians just how critical the oil sands are to the national economy. In 2011, Albertans contributed $19-billion more to federal coffers than Ottawa spent in their province. No other province comes close to making as large a contribution to the federation. Indeed, at least seven out of 10 provinces are net beneficiaries of federal spending. Without Alberta’s wealth, federal transfers to have-not provinces would need to shrink, compromising the quality of life and public services for millions of Canadians.

Those who argue that other, cleaner industries would fill the economic vacuum if we shut down the oil sands ignore the fact that countries do best by exploiting their comparative advantages. Ours lie in resources. Though our technology sector has occasionally produced global success stories, our collective expertise still lies mainly in large-scale resource development.

Canadians, however, also want to be seen as conscientious global citizens. Our Prime Minister (if not this one, the next) could build a consensus behind developing the oil sands if he were to make shrinking its environmental footprint a national priority. Such a project would be a boon to domestic innovation, producing economic and social returns for the whole country.
oil_sands  oil_industry  Alberta  Konrad_Yakabuski  R&D  oil_patch  pride  economic_vacuum  comparative_advantage  natural_resources  resource_extraction  environmental_footprint 
june 2014 by jerryking
No, the CBC’s not cool. Nor should it be
Apr. 21 2014 | The Globe and Mail | KONRAD YAKABUSKI.

It would all be easier if the broadcaster’s leaders, past and present, weren’t still stuck in some alternate reality, deluded by visions of grandeur and budget envy. They think that, if only Canadians funded their public network the way the British and French fund theirs, the CBC could be all things to all people and ne’er a disparaging word would be heard. In other words, it’s not their fault; it’s ours.
alternative_realities  CBC_Radio  CBC_TV  Konrad_Yakabuski 
april 2014 by jerryking
Big Data makes for meaner politics - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Jan. 18 2014
What do you get when you combine modern technology with old-style politics? Hillary's wrath, that's what.

News that top aides to Hillary Clinton used a computer spreadsheet to compile a "hit list" of disloyal Democrats after her devastating loss to Barack Obama in the party's 2008 presidential primaries is more proof that what used to be an art is turning into a science.

Politicians have always rewarded friends and punished enemies, as the spiteful Bridgegate scandal engulfing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie now reminds us. But evaluating loyalty and disloyalty used to be an entirely subjective exercise that required endless mental acrobatics and was rendered fallible by lapses in memory, blurred emotions and information overload.

The era of Big Data is changing all that. And none too soon for the Clintons, as Hillary keeps her options open for 2016. When you've crossed and been crossed by so many people in 35 years of bare-knuckle politics, it's naturally hard to keep track of all the slights. What better than a computer scorecard that replaces the old mental tally of friends and enemies?

According to a new book by two well-regarded White House correspondents – Politico's Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes of The Hill – Ms. Clinton's aides assigned scores between 1 (most loyal) and 7 (most disloyal) to each Democratic member of Congress and pumped the data into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The result was an instant loyalty ranking that would inform Ms. Clinton and husband Bill's future interactions with fellow Democrats on the list.

Endorsing Mr. Obama for the nomination did not mean you scored an automatic 7 if you had a reasonable excuse, such as being black or from Illinois. Similarly, endorsing Ms. Clinton did not mean you got a 1 if you "didn't go the extra mile" for her or were "just kind of there." The 7 rankings were reserved for those who "endorsed him but really should have been with her … that burned her,"
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The Conservatives need any help, really. The party’s Constituent Information Management System (CIMS) is considered the most advanced political database in the country, compiling records on millions of Canadians....In her book Shopping for Votes, the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt describes the unsettling transformation of Canadian politics into a game dominated by computer geeks who pump vast amounts of our personal information into party databases to determine whether we’re naughty or nice. The Tories aren’t alone. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are determined to outdo their rivals in data collection by the 2015 election, and the New Democrats aren’t that far behind.
massive_data_sets  dark_side  political_campaigns  politics  Hillary_Clinton  books  Richard_Nixon  data  data_driven  Konrad_Yakabuski  constituencies 
january 2014 by jerryking
The damaging legacy of discovery learning - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Dec. 05 2013

The 2012 math rankings from the Programme for International Student Assessment, in which Canada slipped to 13th place, are based on average test scores..... it’s important to distinguish between what Canada’s notable drop in international student rankings can and can’t tell us about how our kids our doing.

First, some context: The two most damaging developments to hit public education have been the power of teaching fads and the proliferation of standardized testing. Fads are dangerous because they are often based on shaky hypotheses about how children learn, and are blindly embraced by impressionable teachers keen to make a difference but lacking in the experience and training needed to transmit knowledge or the talent to light the spark in their students.

Standardized testing is not bad in itself. But education policy has become hostage to testing data. The result is a disproportionate focus on raising the average scores of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and less emphasis on producing top students, regardless of income....As education historian and influential U.S. testing critic Diane Ravitch blogged after the latest PISA results were released, “what we cannot measure matters more. The scores tell us nothing about students’ imagination, their drive, their ability to ask good questions, their insight, their inventiveness, their creativity.”....[ Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.]. The decade-long drop in math scores among students outside Quebec corresponds with the spread of “discovery learning” in the classroom. The idea that students must be free to solve problems based on their unique learning styles popped up in the education literature in late 1960s and went mainstream in the 1990s. But there was a huge revolt when U.S. parents discovered Johnny couldn’t multiply; the pendulum has since swung back to teaching the basics.

Yet most English-Canadian school boards embraced some version of discovery learning even after it was being questioned south of the border. It fit with the “equity” mantra that permeated the jargon of education bureaucrats and ministers. “Reaching every student” became the theme of education policies aimed at bringing up the bottom with “student-centred learning.”
Konrad_Yakabuski  education  high_schools  rankings  PISA  STEM  mathematics  test-score_data  standardized_testing  metrics  students  imagination  drive  questions  insights  inventiveness  creativity  discoveries 
december 2013 by jerryking
Why newness, not nostalgia, is the way forward for the CBC - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 03 2013 |The Globe and Mail | JOHN DOYLE.

Pardon me if I seem like a CBC bore, but the future cannot be found in nostalgia for a fondly remembered past or in endless collaboration with the enemy. The future is niche and broad, both the new and the familiar....It’s unwise to posit a recalibrated CBC on the antiquities of the past. Nostalgia for The Journal, Barbara Frum, and Patrick Watson’s series is understandable, but there is no going back to the good old days. The TV landscape has changed utterly. Nostalgia is not the way forward....Lacroix’s reliance on partnerships is a red herring. Of course it makes sense to use partnerships with other broadcasters to deliver big sporting events. But to cite “collaboration” with giant private-broadcasting conglomerates as a general panacea is a mistake. CBC-TV’s future is being both niche and broad – and distinctive; its mandate must not be diminished by “collaboration.”...[CBC's]news and documentary coverage must be different. That means more progressive voices heard, filling a huge gap in the Canadian media, an arena dominated by centre and right-wing views. The politically-progressive base in Canada remains stable and remains largely unheard. It’s the CBC’s job to fill that vacuum. Less of the Don Cherry-style dismissal of “pinkos out there that ride bicycles” and more attention to those who reject the right-wing, Big Business view of the country....CBC needs to put art on the air and cover the arts and media with a vigour that no commercial broadcaster will allow....Instead, a sharp questioning of establishment views and establishment stars. Something to make people talk about – whether it’s the demolition of received opinion or the creation of an artistic work for TV that makes your eyes pop and your mind reel.

It’s a fact that CBC is presented with a new circumstance, less reliant on, and preoccupied with, hockey.
CBC  CBC_Radio  CBC_TV  Konrad_Yakabuski  niches  nostalgia  partnerships  digital_media  future 
december 2013 by jerryking
NHL deal gives CBC a chance to reboot - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 28 2013
Konrad_Yakabuski  CBC  NHL  hockey  challenges 
november 2013 by jerryking
Buying votes with empty subway seats
Sep. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by KONRAD YAKABUSKI.

Andy Byford, the highly competent head of the Toronto Transit Commission, has been pleading for a so-called “downtown relief line” to take the pressure off existing stations in the core. But politicians only have eyes for voters in suburban Scarborough, announcing billions for a new subway that promises to be one of the most underused undergrounds in North America.
Konrad_Yakabuski  TTC  transit  DRL 
september 2013 by jerryking
Harper wanted wireless competition. All he got was grief -
Sep. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by Konrad Yakabuski.

Ottawa has had every good reason to seek to inject competition into Canada’s wireless sector. Our trio of telecommunications conglomerates have behaved as any loosely regulated oligopoly would, effectively eliminating consumer choice with identical pricing and straitjacketed product offerings. They have deftly split the Canadian market equally among themselves, ensuring heady profit margins. As far as Rogers, Bell and Telus are concerned, the status quo is heaven....Pity Mr. Harper. He has nothing to show for five years of attempts to spur competition in Canada’s wireless sector except the ire of corporate Canada and thousands of Rogers, Bell and Telus employees. Consumers, a diffuse constituency, were never going to reward the Conservatives for lower cellular prices. (As if they’d let that determine their vote.) But you can bet employees of the Big Three will remember the summer of ’13 when they next go to the ballot box.
Konrad_Yakabuski  wireless  telecommunications  oligopolies  Verizon  constituencies  Corporate_Canada 
september 2013 by jerryking
A radical idea for union leaders: partnership - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 19 2013 |The Globe and Mail | Konrad Yakabuski

Unions know they have an image problem, but just can’t seem to shake their old habits. A secret CAW-CEP discussion paper prepared last year identified the “growing negative public opinion of unions, and the view that unions are self-interested and outdated” as one of the factors requiring a radical rethinking of the union movement’s overall strategy.
unions  mergers_&_acquisitions  partnerships  Konrad_Yakabuski  radical_ideas 
august 2013 by jerryking
If BlackBerry is sold, Canada faces an innovation vacuum - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 17 2013 | The Globe and Mail | KONRAD YAKABUSKI.

The sale and breakup of a flagship technology company is a reoccurring theme in Canadian business. But this time is different. If BlackBerry Ltd. goes, there is no ready replacement. That’s a telling switch from the situation Canada faced with the sale of Newbridge Networks in 2000 and the demise of Nortel Networks in 2009....Canada has an innovation bottleneck. An abundance of science is generated in university labs and start-up firms but most of it never finds its way into commercial applications. Risk-averse banks and too many businesses of the bird-in-the-hand variety remain the weak links in Canada’s innovation system.

“We punch above our weight in idea generation,” observes Michael Bloom, who leads the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Business Innovation. “But the further you move towards commercialization, the weaker we get as a country.”....Innovation can be driven by any sector, even the old-economy resource extraction business of the oil sands. But tech firms remain by far the most R&D-intensive players in any economy.

Hence, the tech sector is a key barometer of a country’s innovation strength. And innovation matters because it has a profound influence on our living standards – it is “the key long-run driver of productivity and income growth,” ...Canadian businesses remain oddly complacent.

“We tend in this county not to look at the true market opportunity of innovation,” Mr. Bloom adds. “If you only see a market of 35 million people, you’re going to see more risk than if you see the market as Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Americans see risk, but also great opportunity.”

It’s no coincidence that many of Canada’s greatest entrepreneurs and innovators have been immigrants. Unlike his American counterpart, the average Canadian business graduate does not dream of becoming the next Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs or, for that matter, Peter Munk.

Mr. Lazaridis and ex-BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie notwithstanding, how many Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators have truly changed the world, or aspire? By all accounts, not that many. A Conference Board study released last month found that only 10 per cent of Canadian firms (almost all of them small ones) pursue “radical or revolutionary” innovations. Large firms focus at best on “incremental” innovations.
Blackberry  bottlenecks  commercialization  competitiveness_of_nations  complacency  hollowing_out  Konrad_Yakabuski  Newbridge  Nortel  innovation  idea_generation  ecosystems  breakthroughs  incrementalism  large_companies  sellout_culture  Jim_Balsillie  moonshots  immigrants  Canada  Peter_Munk  market_opportunities  weak_links  thinking_big  oil_sands  resource_extraction  marginal_improvements  innovation_vacuum  punch-above-its-weight  This_Time_is_Different 
august 2013 by jerryking
The middle class is good politics but a curious crusade
Aug. 03 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Konrad Yakabuski.

A “thriving middle class” won’t come from new programs hatched in Ottawa. It will come from the innovators and entrepreneurs who harness Canada’s abundant human capital and natural resources to create wealth.

as TD Economics has shown, Canada has not experienced the same wage polarization that has led to rising income inequality south of the border. Social mobility is higher here and our tax system is more progressive. The after-tax income of the top 10 per cent of Canadians was 4.1 times that of the bottom 10 per cent in 2010. The U.S. ratio was 6 to 1.

There is no doubt that globalization and technological change have rendered thousands of middle-class Canadian jobs obsolete. But there is no reversing this trend, no matter how much would-be federal policy-makers aspire to meddle. Besides, globalization’s upsides outweigh its downsides. And Canadians, among the best-educated people on the planet, stand to benefit.

“Rewards to education, to innovation and to creativity are higher than they have ever been,” notes Princeton University economist Angus Deaton in The Great Escape, his forthcoming book on the history of inequality. “Perhaps the greatest escape in all of human history, and certainly the most rapid one [is] the reduction in global poverty since 1980 … The world has done much better than the pessimists predicted.”
Konrad_Yakabuski  globalization  Chrystia_Freeland  obsolescence  middle_class  technological_change  social_mobility  Toronto  expatriates  inequality  books  income_inequality  capitalization 
august 2013 by jerryking
Inside the D.C. bubble – stupid, slimy, savvy
Aug. 10 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by Konrad Yakabuski.

Mark Leibovich’s This Town betrays just about everything despicable about Washington’s political culture.

Politico’s business model lies not in pursuing high-minded Watergate-style journalism or even beating the Post in circulation or unique Web visitors. Fewer than 40,000 copies of its free print edition are distributed on the streets of Washington. Its content is aimed squarely at “The Club.”

In a new insider account of Washington, Mark Leibovich explains how The Club consists of the “spinning cabal of people in politics and media and the supporting sectors that never get voted out or term-limited or, God forbid, decide on their own that it is time to return home to the farm.”

The journalists, lobbyists, political consultants, White House aides, Capitol Hill staffers, socialites and persons-of-no-fixed-profession Mr. Leibovich profiles in This Town embody just about everything despicable about the D.C. bubble.....Playbook is the daily D.C. cheat sheet. Compiled by Politico’s Mike Allen, it summarizes the top news stories, parties, lobbying and book deals, staff changes, birthdays and nuptials of interest to The Club. And no one solicits mentions in Playbook – whose main corporate sponsor of late has been Keystone XL pipeline proponent TransCanada – as covetously as Robert Barnett.
Washington_D.C.  WaPo  Konrad_Yakabuski  sophisticated  start_ups  newspapers  business_models  politics  journalists  lobbyists  political_consultants  political_culture  books  Inside_the_Beltway  White_House  market_intelligence  newsstand_circulation  playbooks 
august 2013 by jerryking
Montreal and Toronto need a new breed of mayor
Jun. 20 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Konrad Yakabuski.

Canada’s two biggest cities are in the market for new leadership at a critical juncture. So-called “higher” levels of government are out of money and ideas and de facto city states are re-emerging as the real motors of national growth and innovation. Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution point out that this “inversion of the hierarchy of power” presents cities with both challenges and opportunities. Higher levels of government are too broke, too slow and too politically divided to make transformative public policy, so visionary mayors must fill the void. The trend is yielding a new model of governance. “The metropolitan revolution,” they write in their new book of the same name, “is like our era: crowd-sourced rather than close-sourced, entrepreneurial rather than bureaucratic, networked rather than hierarchical.”...If inclusiveness is key to the metropolitan revolution, Toronto and Montreal have been shaped by history and demography to embody it. With half of its population born outside Canada, Toronto reverberates with the influences of an entire planet. Dundas Square on a Sunday afternoon is a chaotic free-for-all of colour, creed, generation and gender. There are few places in the world that could pull it off as peacefully....As Torontonians ponder a Ford-free future, they need to think about who can best lead such a diverse city as it stakes its claim to global greatness. Choosing an anti-development ideologue who puts poverty alleviation ahead of economic growth would be just as big a mistake as picking a crane-loving populist who doesn’t know his Weiwei from his WiFi.

The inversion of the power hierarchy promises to make the next mayors of Toronto and Montreal national leaders, not just local ones. To succeed, they will need to transcend outdated political cleavages and notions of progress.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Toronto  Montreal  anti-development  leadership  mayoral  networks  crowdsourcing  books  John_Tory  Brookings  voids  governance  cities  city-states  cash-strapped  vision 
june 2013 by jerryking
Bernard Roy was Brian Mulroney's right-hand man - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

Published
Monday, Apr. 15 2013,

“Thank you enormously, but I am going to decline your generous offer,” Mr. Roy wrote. “In accepting your invitation to become the prime minister’s chief of staff, it was to help you and serve Canada. I did my best.”
chief_of_staff  Brian_Mulroney  obituaries  Quebec  lawyers  friendships  Konrad_Yakabuski  politicians 
april 2013 by jerryking
Big Data should inspire humility, not hype
Mar. 04 2013| The Globe and Mail |Konrad Yakabuski.

" mathematical models have their limits.

The Great Recession should have made that clear. The forecasters and risk managers who relied on supposedly foolproof algorithms all failed to see the crash coming. The historical economic data they fed into their computers did not go back far enough. Their models were not built to account for rare events. Yet, policy makers bought their rosy forecasts hook, line and sinker.

You might think that Nate Silver, the whiz-kid statistician who correctly predicted the winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election in all 50 states, would be Big Data’s biggest apologist. Instead, he warns against putting our faith in the predictive power of machines.

“Our predictions may be more prone to failure in the era of Big Data,” The New York Times blogger writes in his recent book, The Signal and the Noise. “As there is an exponential increase in the amount of available information, there is likewise an exponential increase in the number of hypotheses to investigate … [But] most of the data is just noise, as most of the universe is filled with empty space.”

Perhaps the biggest risk we run in the era of Big Data is confusing correlation with causation – or rather, being duped by so-called “data scientists” who tell us one thing leads to another. The old admonition about “lies, damn lies and statistics” is more appropriate than ever."
massive_data_sets  data_driven  McKinsey  skepticism  contrarians  data_scientists  Konrad_Yakabuski  modelling  Nate_Silver  humility  risks  books  correlations  causality  algorithms  infoliteracy  noise  signals  hype 
march 2013 by jerryking
True innovation doesn’t flow from a pipeline
Feb. 22 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Konrad Yakabuski.

... If the oil companies can’t ship raw Canadian resources using that 150-year-old technology, they will rely on an even older one – rail. And if not rail, they might just float their bitumen on barges down the Mississippi.

Huckleberry Finn might have marvelled at this inventiveness, but it doesn’t quite cut it as a 21st-century national strategy for wealth creation. Yet our frantic obsession with exporting minimally processed bitumen is sucking up all the oxygen in the national conversation. Getting Alberta’s oil to market is “the most important economic issue” facing the country, says former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice. There is “no more critical issue facing Canada today,” adds Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco.

In fact, the most critical issue facing Canada today may just be figuring out why we find ourselves in this situation. Raw resources can be a tremendous source of income, but they are volatile, and we’ve always known that overreliance on them is a recipe for economic stuntedness. As Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says: “Real wealth is built through innovation.”

Innovation is not wholly absent from Canada’s oil patch. But it’s hardly a first line of business. You’d think it would be a top priority, given the vexatious characteristics of Alberta bitumen, the oil sands’ distressing environmental footprint and the Canadian industry’s growing global image problem. Even in boom times, however, the Canadian oil and gas industry spends a piddling proportion of its revenues on research and development......Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that the coming boom in global shale oil production could slash the price of crude by $50 (U.S.) a barrel over the next two decades. “One effect will be to cut the need for expensive, environmentally destructive extraction techniques like the Arctic and tar sands,” the head of PwC’s oil and gas team told Reuters.... the real issue facing Ontario is its failure to make the shift from making low-tech goods to advanced manufacturing, the only kind that can support middle-class wages. Governments have showered the industry with tens of billions of dollars trying to make Canadian firms more innovative, to little avail. Cash-strapped and fed up, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty slashed R&D tax credits in last year’s budget. The result will be even less innovation, as domestic companies cut back and foreign-owned firms shift R&D elsewhere.

“Canada’s problem,” says Robert Atkinson, the author of Innovation Economics, “is that it’s not Germany, which has a much better engineering innovation system, and it’s not the U.S., which has a very good system of science-based entrepreneurship. You’re mediocre in both.”
Keystone_XL  pipelines  crossborder  oil_industry  Mark_Carney  Ontario  innovation  oil_patch  wealth_creation  books  natural_gas  natural_resources  fracking  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  Konrad_Yakabuski  oil_sands  complacency  mediocrity  commodities  volatility  cash-strapped  national_strategies  environmental_footprint 
march 2013 by jerryking
The pain of black America just got worse - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI | Columnist profile | E-mail
WASHINGTON— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011
Konrad_Yakabuski  obama  African-Americans 
august 2011 by jerryking
1967: A critical year for Obama’s presidency - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI | Columnist profile | E-mail
WASHINGTON AND JERUSALEM— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 20, 2011
1967  Arab-Muslim_world  Middle_East  obama  U.S.foreign_policy  Six-Day_War  Benjamin_Netanyahu  Konrad_Yakabuski  Mideast_Peace 
may 2011 by jerryking
Remembering a war that is still being fought - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
CHARLESTON, S.C.— From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2011
Civil_War  Konrad_Yakabuski 
april 2011 by jerryking
Is the U.S. doomed to forsake Haiti once more?
Jan. 16, 2010 |Globe & Mail | by Konrad Yakabuski. “I'm
skeptical that any kind of religious belief system is antithetical to
development,” Raj Desai, a professor of international development at
Washington's Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Brookings
Institution, insisted in an interview. “I'm more inclined to think that
the arrow runs the other way around. It is the lack of stability, the
lack of economic development, the chaos, the poverty, the corruption and
the lack of opportunities that are more likely to turn people to voodoo
rather than the other way around.”
Haiti  U.S.foreign_policy  history  David_Brooks  Konrad_Yakabuski  Brookings  belief_systems 
january 2010 by jerryking
Schadenfreude does not apply - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

From Saturday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Wednesday, Aug. 05, 2009
Toronto  cities  globalization  Konrad_Yakabuski  schadenfreude 
august 2009 by jerryking
Canada's innovation gap
Jul. 04, 2009 | - The Globe and Mail | Konrad Yakabuski
innovation  Canada  creativity  Konrad_Yakabuski 
july 2009 by jerryking
Climbing Mount Mozzarella
March 2004 | Report on Business Magazine | By Konrad Yakabuski.
Never mind about sweeping up local parts of Parmalat. The scion in
charge of fast-growing Saputo wants to rule the cheese-mad market to the
south. Jerry Dryer, a Chicago-based consultant to the dairy industry
and editor of Dairy & Food Market Analyst. Robert Cropp, an
economist at the University of Wisconsin who specializes in the dairy
industry.
cheese  Saputo  mozzarella  Konrad_Yakabuski 
may 2009 by jerryking

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