Friday, October 21, 2016

The Milkman is coming . . . with apples

Canada is about to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. Don’t stop reading. Really. This is the economic equivalent of hearing a creak from your attic on a stormy night. You need to grab a candelabra and investigate. Climb those stairs with me. Climb on.

Most people do not ever care about international trade deals. And they shouldn’t because they are confusing to the point of being boring. Trying to prove they either worked or didn’t is like finding the causative link between cell phone use and quinoa consumption. (They’ve both been rising over the same time period. There’s got to be a connection!) The fact is, there are too many factors in play at any given time to clearly assess these vast agreements.

The North American Free Trade Act, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the US version – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership all have one thing in common: They slide power from governments to multinational corporations. If farmers from Poland want to sell apples over here, the agreement says fine. No more pesky regulations and tariffs. Let the market decide who has the tastiest Gala for the tastiest price. They give the market more control of markets.

The control is taken from governments. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide. I can tell you for sure it makes governments less relevant. It puts a few squares ahead on the Chutes and Ladders of human history, closer to the free world of The Milkman, on sale wherever finer books are sold.

Reduced government, lower consumer costs, more market sensitivity – it’s all gift. Like a Polish apple. From a witch.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Run With Me

I’m kicking around an idea for new novel: The plot is full of political intrigue. Two presidential candidates make a secret pact to get one of them elected. One positions himself as the alpha-male leader of America’s right wing, the other slides left. They agree that after the alpha male has solidified his leadership, he will throw the campaign, leaving no time for the right to recover and his old friend can more easily walk into the presidency.

The protagonists have agency. They are smart, make plans and carry them out. They are not billiard balls waiting for the next knock, hoping it finally puts the other down a hole.

You know, a fantasy utopian novel. There hasn’t been much of market for that kind of thing lately, but I’m thinking that might change. I’m calling it Run With Me. There might be more than few people looking for a little escape.