The Canadian Pension Plan: The Deadly Hand of the Market

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1614 ... May 31, 2018
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The Canadian Pension Plan: The Deadly Hand of the Market

Judith Deutsch

A recent article in the Toronto Star and its accompanying photo bear comment. The reaching hands are not of rioting, starving people grasping for food but of stockbrokers on the trading floor. The article, about protecting individual portfolios, counsels people to know of their options though "the majority of investors have little or no understanding of puts and calls and, in most cases, don’t want to be bothered." A number of practices keep the public uninformed, including a plethora of neologisms that defy comprehension, lack of transparency, and skewed computations that omit life’s crucial externalities. Economics has been called the "dismal science," but "abysmal" more fittingly describes its deadly impact on people worldwide.
The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is believed by many to represent the caring face of Canada, while it is lauded as the "New Masters of the Universe" and "Maple Revolutionaries" by the OECD, G20, and the World Bank. "OECD analysts describe these Canadian funds as ‘pioneers in infrastructure investing’ that helped to establish infrastructure as an important and increasingly popular asset class." It is no exaggeration to state that the CPP is "banking on death," the title of Robin Blackburn’s comprehensive history of pensions. The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade lists CPP investments in seventy three corporations (and here) supporting Israel’s military/police/surveillance/prison industrial complex. The CPP is also a big investor in nuclear weapons and in Canada’s fossil fuel and mining sectors which are wreaking havoc in indigenous communities worldwide.

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