If you walk into any dollar store in Canada you'll notice three things. First, things are cheap — not surprisingly, usually a dollar. Second, outside of food, nothing is made in North America. Third, they're often packed with customers.
The dollar store is a microcosm of what's wrong with our economy. In the closing days of the Cold War, the grinning avatars of hard conservatism — Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney — helped to kick start a new global order that would supposedly bring prosperity to all by removing barriers to the free flow of investment capital and trade. Once the Berlin Wall fell, the last real barrier to a globalized world economy disappeared and it was full steam ahead.
Over two decades, governments and technology corporations followed suit by adding one brick after another to the ziggurat of the globalized economy: NAFTA (1988 and 1994), the invention of HTML and thus the Internet (1991), the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations (1986-94), the WTO (1994), conservative Work Bank policies (from the 1990s on), the concentration of mass media in fewer and fewer hands, the Web 2.0 (2004 and on), deregulated financial markets under George W. Bush, smartphones (starting with Blackberries in 2003). The new order had its global markets, global communications network and a friendly banking system in place. This ziggurat is now more or less complete, with only a few outliers like North Korea beyond the pale.