The Advent of Plutonomy

The advent of Plutonomy: A cause for concern in a Just Society

I was listening to CBC radio a few weeks ago and a documentary came on about a recent phenomenon called ‘Plutonomy.’ To put it simply, they were describing how the gap between the haves and the have nots was widening these days. They went on to say that some investors in the stock market were taking advantage of it by investing in companies which produced goods and services for the growing group of upper middle and upper class people.

I found this to be a cause for concern. As a Liberal who grew up in the Trudeau/Lévesque period of Canadian and Québec history, I was marked by how these two men were very concerned with basic issues of justice for the average person, regardless of their diverging views about Québec’s place in Canada.

Ever since the Communists took power in Russia in 1917, people who belong to Liberal-style parties had to adopt more group-centred ideas like Medicare, and pensions, and Workers’ Compensation, because we were afraid that if we didn’t, the Communists would take over and the free enterprise system would be removed, and our freedom to worship God would be also.

So these kinds of reforms were adopted in Canada and the U.S. and Europe, to save us from Godless Communism. At least the Communists did some good in that sense, in that they kept the free enterprise system honest by putting pressure on it from the Left side of the ideological spectrum.

The problem now is that we defeated the Communists. This was supposed to make the world better. But what we seem to be seeing now is that the free enterprise system, now that the Communists are no longer putting pressure on it, is free to do as it pleases.

Our ancestors didn’t fight in two World Wars to defend our rights, at the global cost of 60 million lives, just to see the powers that be take away what they, and all those that came after them, fought so hard to obtain.

That’s why we have to keep our leaders honest, by demanding that our health care system be maintained, as well as our pensions, our water, and our environment in general, all the while maintaining a healthy economic climate for investment. This is the challenge for the future. Let us not flinch from the task at hand so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same kind of Québec, and Canada that we enjoy.

Plutonomy is not the answer. Doing it on purpose to make the gap bigger between the haves and have nots is not what Messrs Trudeau and Levesque would have wanted, nor is it what Christ intended for humanity.

Peter Stuart

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