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Letter from Canada

25 January 2003 * by Mark Aarssen

I'm new to your web page and consider myself fortunate to have found it. I live in Canada and I am the product of an American mother and Canadian father. I'm 45 years old now and I have a sense of our place in history. At least our collective western economic history that is. I have no formal training in economics or stock market investing. I'm what you might call a regular "Joe". I have worked in law enforcement, life insurance, and as a UAW member representing 500 workers as a health & safety officer. In one way or another I have always looked out for the well being of my fellow man, either protecting them physically or financially.

My factory downsized two years ago now by closing two sister plants in Canada and consolidated its workforce and production assets. I was displaced as a result of the consolidation. Being in Canada gives us a preview of sorts of what's coming soon to the U.S. Since many U.S. firms operate here we see some of their business strategies here first, before they impact the U.S. markets.

Since you made some predictions I'd like to make some too. You will see manufacturing jobs shrink by at least 20% to 30% over 2003. These jobs will NOT come back. The reluctance of the automotive industry to aggressively introduce and implement new green technology will cost North America jobs that will go to Europe. (see www.theaircar.com)

American economist Paul Zane Pilzer (Unlimited Wealth) says that failure to implement new technology in established industries cost us money and opportunity. We can move ahead in 2003 but only if we embrace radical change and thinking and apply it to established industries and methods. The combustion engine is an antique by any standards. The U.S. is famous as an idea place so why have we failed to offer and implement our new ideas on a grand scale as in the past?

It seems to me that the owners of the old technology are trying to squeeze water out of a rock. They seem reluctant to re-invest in that which provided them their livelihood for decades. Greed seems to be the new American Dream.

America has always been respected in our household. We saw it as a great nation leading the world in real time. The foundational values of your constitution and the fleshing out of that constitution in the lives of your citizens always inspired.

Yet, in recent times the light of your ideals has dimmed. You seemed to tolerate political and corporate scandal as long as the DOW was going up.

We gasped collectively as 9/11 struck. We responded collectively doing what we could as a friend and neighbor. We went so far as to join you in the war on terrorism. As a Canadian I'm personally ashamed that my country has offered so little assistance. Our military has been under-funded for years. Hopefully soon a change in government will bring about needed change in those areas. Our armed forces are stretched to the limit. Our volunteer reserves (Militia=National Guard)are also numerically low.

The prospects of more warfare will prove difficult for us financially and in terms of people in the field. I fear we will indeed have more wars to address in 2003. Wars which we will have to consider conscription (Draft) in order to provide the necessary support.

The drain on both our economies will be significant. I fear your real estate bubble will act as a catalyst towards a national financial panic in 2003. I hope I'm wrong. Then there are the huge deficits almost all governors are reporting. The Federal Reserve printing presses will be doing double time.

Our economy is one tenth that of yours, I hope the economic devastation will be reduced at an equivalent scale for us. We are in this together and we will over come the devastation. Web sites such as yours will prove to be a valuable tool for public preparedness. Keep up the good work and God Bless you and America in 2003.

Mark Aarssen
Ontario, Canada


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