The inequalities of being at U of T are weirdly mixed together and overlapping in my life now. It’s weird to live in one of the most expensive parts of Canada, but regularly find it worthwhile to walk for 90 minutes rather than spend $3 for the subway. It’s weird to be at one of the world’s better universities, and to observe the way in which resources are allocated. Teaching staff and research staff essential to the basic purpose of the university have to fight for pay increases that keep up with inflation, yet we keep building luxury sports facilities. It’s strange to turn out my empty palms for beggars, no longer because I think direct financial transfers to them are more damaging than beneficial, but because it’s now necessary to think about every dollar.
Faced with all this and looking at the political landscape in Canada and the United States, there seems to be a sad consensus among politicians that action on the necessary scale is politically impossible. I would like to see a major North American political party say that we have totally screwed up policy-making, especially since the 1980s. Other countries like Scandinavian states are obviously governed much better, so we should abandon the failed Reagan/Thatcher/Mulroney project and establish a system that works better, both for those who are living today and for those in future generations.