Who is Responsible, or Which Came First the Chicken or the Egg?

Holigolitely posted an article on her blog entitled, “I Wanna Go Out And Do Something Fun and I Don’t Mean Walking Along Some Silly Nature Trail.”

She pointed out that “With every passing day, Downtown Winnipeg gets more and more desolate. The Winnipeg version of progress is truly sucking ass. It seems to me that while we were all home nurturing our children, the boring, anti-fun league took over the city.”

I generally agreed that urban culture has changed and that dives or places were people go to blow off steam are getting rarer, although I like hiking trails.

I guess all of Holigolitely’s readers are not on the same wave length as one reader (Joe) wrote back and blamed the current city decline on laziness.

(See Joe’s first post below)

Okay so I got a bit PO’ed as I really hate when people blame welfare recipients for the big economic problems, I think it is nonsense of the first order. I pointed out that from my socialist opinion that the fault was on the Banks for loaning money.

(see my first post below)

Joe responded to my post pointing out that there are jobs out there but people don’t want to work, and reiterated that people that could not afford to pay borrowed the money so who’s fault is it.

(see Joe’s second post below)

Then I went searching and found the stats for Winnipeg showing that there were not a lot of jobs and I outlined how I saw the financial situation.

(see my last post below)

Joe responded by blaming the responsible and referring back to the lazy (those that won’t work)

(see Joe’s last post below)

Now I have to give Joe credit although I disagree with him he has been very civil not once has he tried to attack me, but has kept to his opinion, the only thing I can criticize him on is a lack of evidence to support his point, but as he said and we both agreed this was getting off topic when it addressed Holigolitely’s original article. I decided that Joe might like to as he said “take this discussion further.”
So I have hijacked it from Holigolitely’ Blog. I don’t feel too guilty as Holigolitely is also a contributing editor here as you know. (that said if she would like to move this back to her Blog I have no problem with that)

First of all I don’t think I will ever agree with Joe on this point so If he choose not to debate it I will understand, secondly I promise to be reasonable and this debate will inevitably end in a stalemate so won’t keep it going ad infinitum.

So Joe as you didn’t flesh out your last point now is your chance as you say to “type a lot of ideas, and take this discussion further”



Joe 6 November 2009

I think Winnipeg is becoming increasingly, a welfare town. The neighbourhoods are falling apart. People sitting around with nothing but spare time, getting a cheque from the government. They resort to all sorts of dysfunctional behaviour, but generally don’t go to bars to party. When those who work hard for a living go to their jobs, these people are just going to bed. We are plauged by the lazy.

A wise co-worker pointed out that the rest of North America has been suffering from a Depression, but Winnipeg has not. He suggested that the reason is, Winnipeg has been in a depression for a long time before this…so there is no change here.

Any activity that gets you out of the city is great! Even if it is a boring nature trail… beats getting shanked.

And I think the so called “kids” are smart to stay home. Going to the bars that remain open is dangerous. With all the street gangs and lack of common decency out there, going out is risky. Maybe they should work on their spelling, granted…. But, I won’t knock them for avoiding the danger.

billarends 9 November 2009

Joe I disagree. I don’t live in Winnipeg but I disagree. Why? Because the first thing those that have money do, when there is a problem is blame those that don’t have money. The issue is that those that have, were greedy and created a situation that has caused this depression. It’s that simple. It has NOTHING to do with Laziness. I would like your definition of Dysfunctional behaviour, would that be hanging out selling drugs because there are no jobs for them to earn money legitimately. And don’t tell me that there are lots of jobs out there or you haven’t looked recently. As for street gangs and crap in Winnipeg give me a break. Winnipeg may not be the safest city on the planet but try going to New York City or Los Angeles or Chicago. Personally I think that investment in Winnipeg is down because entrepreneurs don’t have money to invest why because there isn’t enough out there. Don’t blame welfare don’t blame young people try looking at those that really caused the problem, the people that wanted big returns on their investments so loaned money at interest to those they knew couldn’t pay it back. As for Holigolitely’s original post, she is talking about places these young folks can go that will take them off the street, a solution to depression, not whining about welfare types or street kids etc..

Joe 11 November 2009

Bill, I agree that my comments go beyond the scope of the article, but people generally do not party much if they are unemployed.

For every evil banker handing out loans to the poor, there are eager poor people borrowing more money than they can handle… It just depends on your political perspective on the topic who you think is to blame. I see blame on both sides.

Besides, the company I work for has trouble finding people who want to work. This summer I`ve personally worked over 70 hours every week! The pay is considerably higher than minimum, and I for one am so busy.. I don`t have any time to party…

billarends 12 November

It all depends on what your company does. Keep in mind that most job losses were at the lowest level those that require less training or less education not everyone is cut out to be an accountant or even machinist. Stats Canada recorded and the Winnipeg Free Press reported that “Employment fell by 400,000, or 2.3 per cent, between October 2008 and October 2009, while the unemployment rate rose to 8.6 per cent from 6.3. The manufacturing and construction sectors suffered the largest employment declines in all three economic downturns. StatsCan reports 218,000 manufacturing jobs were lost, or 11 per cent, from October 2008 to October 2009, and the decline was widespread. The agency says manufacturers suffering notable decreases included fabricated metal products; transportation equipment manufacturing; paper and printing; and furniture and related manufacturing. Construction employment dropped by 73,000, or 5.8 per cent, all of it during the first five months.”

Albeit the trend has stabilized, this is no rosie picture to anyone.
As you can see by the stats it is the working poor that caught the brunt of this. Although the reduction in construction jobs was not a total disaster there was a 36% drop in housing starts which means that those that were working will soon not be working unless there is a bounce back before the current jobs end these folks are screwed.

Also the eager people you are describing are not the poor. Most of them would not even think to take on a mortgage it is the working poor the non-lazy ones that are the ones that took the loans and mortgagees and credit cards. If you’re lazy and don’t work people don’t give you money even as a loan banks are greedy not stupid.

Argue all you want that both sides are to blame, from a causational point of view if the banks did not offer the loans then the would be no crisis. If people were not told they could buy a house with no down payment we would not be in this problem. The club of Rome (think tank) back in the 50s and 60’s said that there were limits to growth. More people borrowing money means more money needs to be made, and the only way to do that is to grow the productivity that exists. No growth no money. We are going to hit the limit of growth and thus the banks are going to have to accept that they have reached the maximum amount they can loan before people stop paying it back. My parents taught me to only loan out the maximum amount of money that you are willing to loose. The banks would loan out everything they had if they thought that they would get it all back with interest. Sorry that is just greed.

Joe 13 November 2009

Wow. I could really type a lot of ideas, and take this discussion further, but as you said earlier, we are getting off topic.

All I can say is there will be people who disagree with me.

Irresponsibility is rampant out there. Everyone thinks they are entitled to their piece of the pie, even if they haven’t earned it. This applies to those who do not work for a living, as much as it applies to those who work but are borrowing irresponsibly. Even applies to the Banks who are loaning the money out. There is a general lack of responsibility out there… and eventually it will catch up to us.


6 thoughts on “Who is Responsible, or Which Came First the Chicken or the Egg?

  1. O.K… Well, Bill, I don’t mind discussing this topic with you at all. As you know there are some with socialist views and some who are more conservative. No doubt the discussion here would end up being a long presentation of quotes from various sources that support your argument and mine. So, I don’t know if we will come to any resolution that we can both accept, but, I think people will enjoy the banter no matter what side of the argument they choose to back.

    As this is your website, I’m venturing into your own territory, so be fair, even if you do not agree with my perspective.

    Money doesn’t grow on trees. It is earned though hard work. As Canadians we are are fortunate to live in a country that has social services to support people in need, but someone has to earn money and pay taxes to support the Government programs.

    The current economy is plagued with problems. Some involve those who are dependent on government handouts, but even more of the problem revolves around people borrowing more money than they can handle. The practice of buying on credit is pushing our economy to the brink of a Depression.

    You’ve argued, that to point the finger at those who are on assistance is unfair, and that the blame should be placed on big businesses and banks who loan out money to poor people.

    What I’ve argued is, poor people are not without blame. Although the banks are offering huge loans to people, consumers are willingly accepting those loans. I consider myself to be poor, but being poor I am not stupid. I am doing my best to avoid bank loans.

    So, it won’t be hard to find various sources of information that support a more conservative view…. I scanned the web to find a few quotes…etc.

    The first is this on Winnipeg from a website :http://www.fcpp.org/publication.php/470

    “The reasons for the city’s bad performance are many and varied. However, it is safe to assume it is related to a low-growth policy mix that besets the entire province: a politicized economy, high taxes, a focus on wealth distribution, not creation, all propped up by outside transfers. The list goes on.”

    I would assume the author is refering to “Wealth Distribution” as government intervention in the form of EI, Welfare, etc.

    Statistics Canada Posts data on the Labour Force Participation rate on it’s website. I copied their table here for reference.

    OCT/08 OCT/09
    Participation rate (%) 70.6 71.0 0.4 …
    Unemployment rate (%) 4.8 6.0 1.2 …
    Employment rate (%) 67.2 66.7

    If I’m reading this information correctly This October 71% of the population were part of the active labour force. Of these 6% were currrently Unemployed and looking for work, and 66.7% were working.

    This means that there are approximately 30% of the population not working. These likely include some who cannot work, the elderly and infirm. But, it also includes people who refuse to work. This means there is about 1/3 of the population who do not contribute financially to the city though taxes.

    Although I cannot speak for every individual in the city, I do wonder about what this 30% of our population does with all that spare time. It would be interesting to see what the breakdown of this is. How many of these non-working people are otherwise able to work, V.S. those who are Unable to work due to age or handicap.

    So, I’m interested to reasearch this further, and find more information, even if it supports your argument. I believe we are looking at the same information, but our interpretation of the data is different.

  2. Found this quote as well on the web,


    “Winnipeg’s inner city has astonishingly high rates of poverty and associated social pathologies — high rates of unemployment, low rates of labour-force participation, street-gang activity, prostitution (which starts in some cases before girls reach their teens), violence and dilapidated housing.”

    This Bill, to answer your previous question, is what I call Dysfunctional Behaviour. The crime rate is high, and family break down is also a contributing factor.

    As the city decays, the decay spreads. People don’t want to live beside a crack house, and nobody wants to buy there. So, property values drop. Crime rates increase….etc…etc. A huge number of Gangs are forming on the streets, and gang violence is on the rise.

    I know you were saying that if someone has to sell drugs to survive because they can’t find a job, it isn’t their fault. However, there are more positive ways to make a living if an individual is willing to work. The problem is most jobs do not pay as much as drug dealing.

    Many of the young women turn to prostitution because they do not have a solid education. Even if they could find work, jobs that require simple math skills may be beyond their ability. Prostitution is a job that provides a quick buck and requires little education. Many prostitutes are addicted to drugs, and have to turn tricks to keep themselves a ready supply of their fix.

    When people don’t work or have no sense of ownership, they lose any emotional tie to the things they own.

    The article goes on to describe some of the many programs that are being implemented to curb the urban decline.

    In my opinion the city is turning ugly so fast, that the programs are too little too late. It is a sad state of affairs, making what was once a beautiful city ugly.

    As the original blog states, the city is becoming less fun as establishments shut down, and the “anti-fun league” move in.

    I believe that the lack of cool night spots in Winnipeg has less to do with the prim and proper types, and more to do with urban decline in general.

  3. Joe – Thanks all good points I will reply with my position but it may take a day or two I have a few urgent things to work on for the next few days.


  4. left of centre 101

    The entire argument here is based on causation Joe you mentioned that “The crime rate is high, and family break down is also a contributing factor.” Is family break down a contributing factor, or a by product of stress on the family by other contributing factors.

    If you loose your job you have two choices find a similar job or retrain. If no jobs are available then you retrain simple? Not really as retraining cost money. The poorer parts of society don’t get paid enough to retrain, education is a product only those with some money.

    The family breakdown could be easily looked at as a product of children being used to a certain amount of support (new clothes phones video games etc…) and now because a caregiver no longer can do so they rebel and in a typical short attention span and lack of knowledge of consequences young way they turn to drugs both dealing and taking.

    To us this might be seen as dysfunctional behaviour to the it is an obvious solution. I did not deal with prostitution because although it is similar there are other issues here such as the need for young women to feel valued (not to the johns but to the pimps)although in reality they are being used.

    Now how does this impact the city and Holigilitely’s point that the fun spots are moving out? Simple no self respecting businessman will locate in an area of drug dealers and gangs you’re right there. From one point of view we should insist that they all get jobs by not giving them hand outs and then they will leave the streets and the business will come back right? Nope that has been tried they simply move to places that don’t treat them as refuse. Ottawa has developed a get tough policy on street people the mayor actually compared them to pigeons saying if we give them money they will stay around, so the population of street people in Toronto has gone up as those in Ottawa have gone down. Migration of street persons is common just look at the population of street people in Vancouver a climate more suited for them.

    The solution from a right wing perspective is to have them become involved in the process of wealth development (which sounds reasonable but is it realistic as humans are humans and wont always do as they are told.) The other solution is to in a socialist way redistribute the wealth, which also does not work as entirely welfare driven tends to breed dependance the left of centre but nonsocialist view is to give them just enough that they can better themselves but who pays for this? Everyone, of course a redistribution of wealth by economics money will grow were money has been spent.

    So in essence in order to improve society we have to think redistribution of wealth not accumulation of it. The richer society gets the more money is concentrated in one place then the less is in the hands of those that really need it and poverty increases and then there are less people to buy and the greedy fail and from the rights perspective it is all the poor’s fault. This as you know I don’t agree with.

    So in order for a city to grow we need to invest in the people not the businesses they will grow on their own. Once this happens the fun places will come back.

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