The Open Society and its Enemies
I reminded of the title of Karl Popper’s famous book when I read about current political developments. In America, both parties are increasingly hostile to an open society. According to Jon Hartley, things look much better north of the border:
Poilievre’s conservative economic-policy platform — largely built on zoning reform to promote housing affordability and on occupational-licensing reform to get skilled immigrants to work — have handed his party a significant lead in the polls. . . .
Poilievre’s conservative plan directly confronts the tight local and provincial land-use regulations. These regulations prevent new housing construction in many Canadian cities, and that in turn spawns skyrocketing housing prices, making it nearly impossible — especially for younger voters — to own a home. . .
As a result of Poilievre’s plan to withhold federal infrastructure funds from municipalities that don’t hit housing supply-growth targets that cheapen housing, young voters, an almost universally progressive demographic, have been miraculously galvanized to support the Canadian conservatives. . . .
Poilievre is also winning votes from legal Canadian immigrants by proposing occupational-licensing reforms that help such immigrants use skills previously honed in their home country that can’t be used in Canada because of onerous laws. For instance, Poilievre has proposed a “Blue Seal Test” for 20,000 Canadian immigrant doctors (many of whom currently drive for rideshare) to allow these doctors to practice in Canada, contingent on their passing a medical exam.
In the US, substantial portions of both political parties are opposed to “YIMBY” measures to boost housing construction. While some individual proposals are flawed, it’s telling that opponents tend to avoid offering alternatives. For many, a lack of new housing in their area is a feature, not a bug.
Canada’s conservatives are also far more supportive of free trade than either political party in the US. They are also supportive of Canada’s immigration policy, which admits about 500,000 immigrants per year. And that’s in a country of only 40 million, vs. 330 million in the US.
Many of the open society issues do not fit neatly on the left-right axis. It’s heartening to see Canada’s conservatives embrace this general approach, so different from what we see in the US.
PS. Speaking of Canada, this Bloomberg article caught my eye:
Legal Cocaine Is Coming, This Canadian Startup Predicts
Safe Supply Streaming begins trading on Canadian exchange
Company to push for legal drugs, invest in addiction clinics