Sunday, December 17, 2017

Victoria author Andrew MacLeod hopes for a better place in new book

May 13, 2015 by Jayden Grieve, contributing writer

There are times when British Columbia really is the beautiful place that the license plates promise it to be; there are also times when it feels like just a cruddy backwards province.

In his new book, A Better Place on Earth, local journalist Andrew MacLeod (known for his work at The Tyee and Monday) discusses several unpleasant circumstances that have wormed their way into BC. Front and centre: the massive income split between the poor and the rich, something that’s gone relatively unchecked for a long time.

“It’s the kind of thing we are maybe aware of but it’s not always front of mind,” explains MacLeod. “I think the Occupy movement did a good job of putting the idea that the one percent has done really well in recent decades at the expense of everyone else on the agenda, but that sort of ended and nothing really changed.”

Local journalist and author Andrew MacLeod explores British Columbia’s income-distribution gap in his new book (photo by Annie MacLeod).

Local journalist and author Andrew MacLeod explores British Columbia’s income-distribution gap in his new book (photo by Annie MacLeod).

MacLeod says that people forgetting about the movements they initially get so excited about is a problem in society. People want a quick fix, and it’s just not going to happen that way, he says.

“In the moment it feels like nothing ever changes. That’s why it’s hard,” says MacLeod, “but things do change and you do have to look at it as a marathon, not a sprint.”

MacLeod goes on to say that he feels that nothing is ever hopeless and even though it’s easy to give up, things do change, as long as people do stick with the causes they support.

“Inequality has risen over the past three decades,” he says. “It has been changing; now how do we change it back? If change is possible in one direction, it’s possible in the other.”

As well as outlining the current situation regarding income inequality, poverty rates, the welfare system, and other pieces of the puzzle, A Better Place on Earth suggests a plethora of ways to aid, or possibly even fix, the income-distribution crisis.

MacLeod goes so far as to say that the problem is at the point where it’s not just those at the bottom who need to try to fix it: it’s everyone.

“I’d say we’re at a point where lots of people do get that it’s a problem,” says MacLeod, “that the rising inequality is a problem not just for people at the bottom but for everyone, and for the economy.”

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