(I am aware that a lot of this post applies to other countries as well, and banks in general.)
I’m completely disgusted with hearing about how terrific Canadian banks are doing. You want to know who’s not doing so well? Canadian people! You know why? Because they are having every penny squeezed out of them by Canadian banks. Canadian citizens, faced with insurmountable monthly costs, are being forced to go into record levels of debt to… you guessed it, Canadian Banks! The banks and financial experts tell the newspapers and media that this is because we are all freewheeling and dealing, blowing cash on anything we can, just for the hell of it! The truth is this: The cost of living in cities like Vancouver and Toronto is so ridicuously out of proportion with what the people in those cities actually earn it is staggering. People can’t make rent, they have to borrow money, they go into debt. They want to go to school to obtain an education and get a better paying job, they have to borrow money, they go into debt. This isn’t some nation wide frat party. This is people just trying to exist.
But all you see in the news is report after report about how strong our economy is, and how well our banks are doing. How we’ve “weathered the storm” and what a shining example we are for the rest of the world. If we actually think we’ve avoided the kind of total economic collapse that has rocked the rest of the world, it’s time for a serious wake up call… we may be a little behind, but the crisis is coming to Canada. First of all, the housing market will crash, that much is inevitable. Don’t believe me? See if you can tell the difference between a Vancouver crack shack and a million dollar mansion. So that will cripple construction, hammer the banks and real estate… and generally devastate many a profession based around this hyper inflated market. Then there’s the little fact that these levels of “personal” debt (you know, that of real, actual people, not just institutions and governments) are 100% unsustainable. Here’s the reality of our economy: A dual income couple with no dependants living in a one bedroom apartment, can just barely make rent with a little left over for food and transportation to and from work. In order to pay bills and BREAK EVEN (that’s no extra cash for anything, no savings, no paying off of debt, no visits to the dentist… we’re talking basic existance here) they HAVE TO go into debt, with the hopes they will one day make more money in the future. They won’t. Why? Because employers are routinely and systematically stripping away whatever is left of the dignity and decency of their employees. Increasingly, you see job postings offering less and less money, with more and more qualifications and experience required. How exactly is someone paying off a 4+ year degree supposed to survive on $12/hr? More credit and debt of course! Gotta keep those banks well paid. We’re told we should feel lucky to have any work at all. Meanwhile, employers are hacking away at any semblance of workers rights, acting as if a lunch break or paying for holidays is optional in this country. They think they can not pay overtime and fabricate lies to take money off of paycheques. They are demanding outlandish hours with no notification of how many days, or how many hours, you will be working. Or perhaps they’ll offer you 20 hours a week at minimum wage and then have the audacity to demand you are available every day, for weeks in advance, when they only post the schedule one week in advance. They try to control your home life and ‘extra-curricular activities.’ They have no respect for you as an individual, and the work force remains silent, passively accepting the worsening conditions because they should just feel lucky to have a job, right? Shut up, put up, and take it Canada.
You know why they believe all of this? Because they are right. They can and will get away with anything they want. You know why they behave this way? Because they can. They know they are winning, and we are losing, and we won’t fight back. We have no means to do so. The laws are shifting more and more in favor of the businesses and the banks, because we, the actual people, have no voice. No one speaks for us. No one cares about us. Which is funny considering… WE ARE THE COUNTRY! This is OUR country. “We” is not some fringe group of outcasts. “Workers” are not a small portion of the population. This is not the middle ages. We are not serfs. We are not slaves. But only if we don’t allow ourselves to be. Right now, we are slowly being enslaved with the same ancient methods used by many oppressive civilizations of the past, and no one is saying a word.
Sure, our ‘leaders’ will carve out a nice little bit of rhetoric for us in one of their speeches, but it never translates to anything meaningful. We are just bags of flesh whose only purpose is to pay every cent of our wages to the bank. Don’t fool yourself, your rent doesn’t go to the landlord, it goes through your landlord, straight to the banks. The banks get it all in the end. That’s why they’re doing so well. We get nothing. We get to exist, barely, as if we should be grateful that these rich, evil institutions allow us to do so. Grateful that they have a constricting choke-hold on our lives. Make no mistake, we will never be truly free again as long as they continue to do so. People would much rather lash out at anyone who dare criticize and make obvious observations, regurgitating what they hear on the news. They say the problem is that we’re all out buying new houses and yachts and cars because of low interest rates. We’re all reckless, freewheeling spenders. The reality is that they are, and we are taking the blame. We have been successfully divided and conquered. The average citizen blames other citizens. They lash out at each other, dismissing any criticism of how the banks are operating as ludicrous. No newspaper or magazine dares report the truth of what real Canadian people are going through… they are all owned by big businesses who are owned by the banks. They say what they are told to say. They blame the greedy consumer. There is no reporting of the real struggles of real people. There is no article on people having their rent increased by $50 to $100 a year while their wages stay the same. There is no talk of desperate people having to take out loans to pay for dental work because their benefits were severed and their wages slashed in half. There are no articles on abusive employers and students being manhandled and burdened with massive debt loads straight out of high school. There is only distractions, more blame piled onto the overworked and underpaid Canadian just trying to survive. There is talk of a farcical ‘jobless recovery’ and ever more news, that the banks are doing just fine with all our money.
At least someone is doing fine with it, because the Canadian people, are not.