Friday, 12 February 2016

Crisis in Vancouver, the Great Brain Drain of the 21st Century

There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this article published on VancityBuzz by Grace Chen.  Just one day later, another article pertaining to Vancouver's housing affordability crisis surfaced on The Globe and Mail which can be found here.  Of course there are some responses such as "If you don't like it here then move!" which is an extremely narrow-minded way at looking at any type of issue.  After all, criticism is the only way to pave the way towards progress.  Another ridiculous response I found on the articles are: "You are just being self-entitled.  Work Harder.  You are just being lazy, etc" if that is the only issue that these articles are addressing (sarcasm).

Here is my take on this.  The affordability crisis we are now witnessing in Vancouver has a trickling down effect on society, most notably the middle-class.  One, it creates a massive divide between the haves and have-nots.  For example, those who have a lot of money choose to invest in Vancouver's housing market but could not care less about building a community here and thus ruining any sense of vibrancy and culture that this city will have if it were actually built from the ground up instead. A lack of Entry level jobs with a wage that matches the standard of living is something that this city simply does not have compared to other word class cities such as London, New York or San Francisco.  Two, for those who are living paycheck to paycheck, they do not have the luxury or time to enjoy the fine things that this city has to offer.  You know there is a problem when more than half their salary is being consumed just to pay for rent.  What about the small businesses in Vancouver?  We all know that they must pay a high rent so if the money is not flowing in due to the depletion of the middle-class, how will they stand up to the big boys like Starbucks which has 20 stores in just downtown alone.  Don't get me started on Wal-Mart which is set to expand its stores even more in the coming years and thus driving even more small businesses into the ground.

What does this all mean?  It means that there is no sense of purpose to stay here when your time and money could be spent more wisely elsewhere.  I don't know a single person who would just go through life by the motions working a shitty job and getting lectured that they're not working hard enough.  When the reality is that the commuting times have increased for the average citizen here due to the fact that so-called "affordable" housing can only be had in the burbs, you know that this would contribute to the general unhappiness of the population.      

So no, telling people to work harder does not solve this affordability crisis when the cost of homes jumped up yet another 25-30% from last year.  Name one job that enables your wage to jump up that much in one year.  You can't.

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