Are we all frogs sitting in a pot of water that is about to be boiled? An economist thinks we might be. He`s worth listening to.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  August 27, 2012  It is interesting to listen to the views on Burlington`s decision to purchase cars that were not `made in Canada`.  Some understand what a world economy is while others are afraid of it.

In the next two days, a distinguished speaker will be in Burlington to talk about his book  The Boiling Frog Dilemma.  Todd Hirsch, a senior economist with the Alberta Treasury Board asks: WHAT CREATES WEALTH?

The answer to that may be surprising. Economic wealth isn’t created by oil and gas molecules in the ground, nor by an auto assembly plant. It isn’t created by tax credits or subsidies. It isn’t even created by economic development programs.  Wealth starts with one thing: an idea.

“The Boiling Frog Dilemma” argues that Canada in the 21st century is at risk of falling behind internationally. We need to seriously “up our game” in terms of creativity, innovation, risk taking, entrepreneurialism, cosmopolitanism, community, and re-thinking environmental stewardship—or risk becoming economically irrelevant on the global stage.

Hirsch, who will be in Burlington for two days comments on the automotive industry with remarks that are useful for those engaged in the argument as to who the city should have bought new cars from.  Hirsch says:

“Consider the automotive industry.  It used to be possible to categorize car companies by country.  Ford is a US car maker, Toyota is a Japanese car maker, Renault is a French car maker etc.  But increasingly this makes no sense.  Certainly the head office of the car maker remains fixed to one particular country.  But in the 21st century a car could be designed in Japan with computer engineering systems from Switzerland, parts made in Brazil, Mexico and South Korea, an engine built by a German company, marketing campaigns plotted in Japan, the UK and California, environmental and safety testing by a Swedish company and the final assembly in Alabama.  The car could then be sold by a retailer in Chicago and run on gasoline made from Alberta`s oil sands.”

Hirsch points out that we are all Global Traders and what we have to do is figure out where in the global chain of production we want to fit.

Many in Burlington seem to feel that the production chain begins and ends at the Ford factory in Oakville and that we have to take care of each other.

There is an opportunity for those people to widen their thinking.  Thinkspot! a Burlington creative consulting company  has brought Hirsch to the city to talk about his book during four different sessions at the ThinkSpot offices on Locust Street.

Todd Hirsch will be in Burlington next Monday and Tuesday (August 27th and 28th).  Debra Pickfield, ThinkSpot head honcho, explains the event: “We are hosting a number of open-invitation events for people to come together at ThinkSpot! , talk with Todd, and hear why he thinks Canada and Canadians could begin tapping into something significant – our ability to create and innovate.”

ThinkSpot’s Debra Pickfield – wild about Canada’s and Burlington’s economic complacency.

“Some of you have heard me  talk about Todd Hirsch and the recent book he co-authored “The Boiling Frog Dilemma.” After reading the book it was all I could do not to jump on a plane to Calgary and sit for a day talking with Todd and Robert – here was a book that explained perfectly why I get on my soapbox about creativity, problem-solving and innovation.”

There are a few spots left.  Give ThinkSpot! a call and get the details or log into the reservation site.  Given the close date – you might just want to take a chance and drop by the ThinkSpot offices.


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