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Dan Breznitz: Unless we change Canadian business, our kids will have a worse life than us

The Logic via National Post | Murad Hemmadi  | Apr 19, 2022

Dan Breznitz - Dan Breznitz: Unless we change Canadian business, our kids will have a worse life than usA prominent political economist and a frequent, vocal critic of federal innovation policy, Breznitz had spent years warning that declining productivity and business investment imperiled Canada’s long-term prosperity. Now Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was standing in the House of Commons and announcing billions to fix the problems he’d identified.

For three decades in Canada, “we have been telling a story for ourselves that we’re great,” Breznitz says as we look over the menus. “We’re not.”

See:  Nov 20, 2017: NCFA Canada Welcomes Competition Bureau’s recommendations to encourage competition and innovation in Canada’s financial services sector

To hear him tell it, Canada has created the world’s most educated workforce and its best research infrastructure, but our businesses’ investment in R&D and adoption of new technology have lagged ever further behind the pack. “How could that happen in exactly the same period?”

The numbers back up the hand gesture. A larger share of Canadians hold a post-secondary credential than elsewhere in the OECD, and our higher-education institutions do more research. Meanwhile, our businesses spend far less on R&D and invest less in information and communications technology, while workers’ wages have grown slower.

“Our kids will have a worse life than us, unless we change Canadian business,” says Breznitz, who has two children. And “unless we do significant structural and systemic changes, it’s not clear how we are going to become a green economy without becoming poor.”

Breznitz is blunt about who he thinks is at fault for Canada’s economic woes.

Big business has become the problem,” he says, through its failure to innovate or adopt new technology.

Until very recently, economic growth was not in the top agenda of [the finance department],” Breznitz agrees. But that’s changed, and the private sector hasn’t. “Big business need to start engaging with new technology and innovation, and stop just complaining and bitching non-stop.

See:  Is productivity, wealth creation and competition at the forefront of Canada’s growth agenda?

Ottawa needs to kick-start this process of experimentation and discovery.  What I think it really means is a final realization that growth really matters for our futures.  It’s been years since someone in Freeland’s job talked about Canada’s productivity problem.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Dan Breznitz: Unless we change Canadian business, our kids will have a worse life than usThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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