Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Friday, January 28, 2011


I was at the gym today and I saw some scenes on CBC Newsworld. The sound was down, there were subtitles and I was very uninvolved in the details. I did learn that they were showing and talking about the protests in Egypt. It looks like a chaotic situation there.

In addition to the video coverage of the protests, I saw a pie chart outlining trade information between Canada and Egypt. At that I was somewhat aghast.

Admittedly I don't know the full nature of the discussion but it seemed like there was a very quick jump from showing a troubled place in the world to figuring out how it affects the economy here. Is that really what's important?

I have a Bachelor of Commerce. I pursued that degree because I liked and found it easy to play with numbers in high school accounting classes. I have little interest though in what numbers mean and not a whole lot of belief that they mean anything. The presentation of numbers in accounting reports require assumptions and an understanding of what principles were used to determine them. Even in the most honest of situations, they can be presented differently. Aside from their questionable accuracy, however, in looking at the trade between Egypt and Canada we are saying "Let's look to numbers to tell us how much this matters to us." People in another part of the world are in the midst of a crisis situation. I think that it's more helpful to try to understand why and to figure out if we can help.


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