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Philosophy Political

Might Nature be Canadian?

Essays on Mutual Accommodation

by (author) William A. Macdonald

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2020
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
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Mutual accommodation is about co-operation, compromise, and inclusion. It's a big idea, equal to freedom, science, and compassion. The postwar global economic order led by the United States is one of the greatest historic achievements of mutual accommodation, yet it is now at risk from the centrifugal forces that have led to populism. Today, to many nations and people, Canada is the model country driven by successful mutual accommodation. In Might Nature Be Canadian? William Macdonald explores the theme of mutual accommodation with a close lens on the Canadian experience. Canada has a drive toward mutual accommodation. The United States has a strong drive toward division. There has always been a divergence of ideologies between the two countries. The United States now appears to view the world as a never-ending struggle, which has become greater since 2000, between good and evil, while Canada, by contrast, leans toward the idea that there is an underlying order at the heart of things. Canada has always faced strong limits in creatively overcoming a challenging geography and French/English language differences within its own borders; on the other hand the United States sees itself as a country with virtually no limits. Throughout its history Canada's drive toward mutual accommodation, stronger than that of any other country, has allowed its increasingly diverse citizens to live together peacefully and successfully, even as they retain their own culture, language, and religion. Nature can be described as simultaneously either/or and both/and. Is there something fundamentally Canadian about this? Taking inspiration from British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who said that "civilization is the triumph of persuasion over force," Macdonald argues that the urgent spread of mutual accommodation, a charge led by Canada, is central to achieving a bearable world for everyone.

About the author

William A. Macdonald is the founder and president of W.A. Macdonald and Associates Inc., which provides economic and policy counsel to business and government. He lives in Toronto.

William A. Macdonald's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This collection of Macdonald's essays provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue. Such a dialogue would bring to the table diverse perspectives. There would be agreements and disagreements with Macdonald's hypotheses. But that would be the very engagement of the process of mutual accommodation." American Review of Canadian Studies