10
Mar
10

Trade liberalization: it works, bitches

(Man, “it works, bitches” never gets old.)

So one of the things that I actually like about the 2010 Canadian federal budget is the steps it takes towards opening Canadian borders to foreign enterprise.  Not everyone likes this, of course: the medieval idea that furriners — in this case, furrin investors — are somehow impure is depressingly pervasive, especially in the purportedly multicultural Canadian left.  The argument goes that if we let outsiders compete in our markets, they’ll use their horrible non-Canadian disregard for safety standards and minimum-wage laws to undercut our vast social safety net-propping overhead and — holy shit, Margie, hide the kids! — sell us quality products at lower prices.

Of course, this doesn’t hold when Canadians are the shifty untrustworthy foreigners: Canadian holdings in foreign countries are greater than foreign holdings in Canada.  But that’s different, or so I’m told.

Anyway, Stephen Gordon blows isolationism out of the water in fine rhetorical style suffused with damning references:

We’ve already discovered that immigrants increase productivity rather than crowding out domestic workers.  Dr. Gordon argues that foreign-owned plants are likely to be more efficient, more advanced, more focused on research and development, and otherwise shit rainbows — with the usual associated knock-on benefits for their local (and not-so-local) economies.  The losers are most likely to be — well, I’ll let him tell it:

Probably the biggest losers are the former Canadian managers, who will be either pushed aside or down the ladder as the new owners install their people. Indeed, it is presumably the case that their justification for paying top dollar for those assets is that they can manage them better than the previous Canadian managers could. And they’re probably right.

[…]

I really don’t see the point in insisting on Canadian ownership of assets located in Canada if that means tolerating mediocre management, low rates of innovation and poor productivity.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t Canadian companies with excellent management, high rates of innovation, and impressive productivity.  But those companies probably aren’t in danger of being bought out or destroyed by superior foreign competition.

You don’t see WestJet trying to bar Emirates Airlines from Canadian operations, after all.  Zing!

Andrew Parker, Emirates senior vice-president of international affairs, said Air Canada enjoys an unfair advantage on international flights in and out of Canada.

He made the comments Wednesday after Air Canada chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu slammed Emirates during a speech in Vancouver on Tuesday.[…]

“Canadian consumers lose out if competition is constrained in the interest of protecting the national carrier,” Mr. Parker said. “Consumers are being denied reasonable options to travel.”

This isn’t about Canadian consumers, of course: it’s about specific Canadian interest groups (Air Canada, Ottawa airport, &c.) with the clout to lobby the federal government.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Trade liberalization: it works, bitches”


  1. March 11, 2010 at 09:46

    There isn’t any of that Chinese money in B.C., is there?
    .

    • March 11, 2010 at 12:03

      Maybe a little. :-)

      Speaking of free trade and the PRC: Capitalism and Developing Countries (Coyote Blog)

      It turns out that factory workers — not the activists labeled “preachy” by one expert, and not the Nike executives so wounded by criticism — get the last laugh. Villagers who “went out,” as Chinese say, for what critics described as dead-end manufacturing jobs are sending money back and returning with savings, building houses and starting businesses.

      Workers who stitched shoes for Nike and apparel for Columbia Sportswear, both based near Beaverton, Oregon, are fueling a wave of prosperity in rural China.

      I’m given to understand that support for the Communist Party of China comes mostly from the rural PRC, which hasn’t gotten as rich as the cities. If that’s true, this is an encouraging sign.


Leave a reply; use raw HTML for markup. Please blockquote quotations from the post or other comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


anarchocapitalist agitprop

Be advised

I say fuck a lot

Categories

Archives

Statistics FTW


%d bloggers like this: