Zeno Has Nothing On These Guys
In the Globe's words,
"The difference here is not huge, but it is consistent and significant. For example, Canadians and American consumers are four percentage points apart when asked whether they intend to spend less in 2009; in Canada, 62 per cent said yes, as against 58 per cent in the United States. Other questions yielded similar answers.
The contrast is striking not only in the light of the comparative health of the Canadian economy as a whole. When, more specifically, the economic conditions of households in these two North American countries are considered, levels of debt and net worth are more favourable in Canada than in the U.S., which means that Canadians are paradoxically better able to spend, but less willing to do so."
It's a puzzler all right, we might need to invent another branch of mathematics to solve this one*.
This is part an editorial where the Globe chides Canadians for not doing their
"Canadians should spend wisely, but spend nonetheless. They might reasonably cut back on some immediate pleasures, but they should think seriously about taking advantage of lower or stable price levels. Pleasure may be compatible, however, with quality and durability; consider women's clothing, for example, the prices for which fell in 2008 in Canada."
I'd respond but someone has already said all that needs to be said in the comments,
"Wait a minute ... Americans basically CAUSED this worldwide problem by being too willing to spend more money than they had, getting into unsustainable levels of debt, and now it's a problem that Canadians are more cautious in their spending than the most reckless consumers on the planet?
On a final note, is it too early to nominate 'paradox' as one of the most overused words for 2009? It's been a perfect storm of paradox references in my recent reading.
* It took the development of calculus to solve many of the paradoxes posed by Zeno in ancient Greece.