Thirty-five years ago the policies in Canada that now define democratic governance -- or rather anti-democratic governance -- were literally unthinkable. Voluntarily giving up, through reckless tax cuts, hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue needed for running the country (and provinces); the fire sale disposal of some of the country's most valuable, efficient and productive Crown corporations; the signing of corporate rights agreements like NAFTA that severely constrain elected governments from legislating on behalf of their citizens; the ruthless slashing of social spending; and the deliberate driving down of salaries and wages by government policy -- all now commonplace and once unthinkable.
In the late 1960s and early '70s, at the height of the so-called golden age of capitalism, the ideas behind these policies were not discussed. They didn't appear even in the mainstream media. They were, in effect, caged up somewhere, almost invisible.
Then the leaders of North America's largest corporations took a simple action that would initiate the eventual destruction of what was built in the post war era. They established think tanks which started introducing the unthinkable. The ideas were still not up for broad discussion. But they were uncaged, released into the public domain -- a first, necessary step.
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