Canadians still successfully ignoring elephant in the room

So, potential iPhone customers in Canada will get the shaft, via the carrier’s wireless data plans.  Don’t be too surprised—we’ve been getting gouged (relative to our southern neighbours) on dairy products like eggs, milk, butter and cheese for decades.  And we’re all much more likely to buy any of those items.  Yet dairy lacks the sex appeal of cell phones, so instead of getting angsty about the essentials, people get angsty about the toys.

I am a little sympathetic to the situation, since I am also required to be a hostage to the nation’s only GSM service provider. But I’m not going to blame Rogers for taking advantage of their monopoly situation, which was, after all, blessed by the CRTC and thence by politicians.  Companies, large or small, always adapt to market conditions—otherwise they go out of business.  It has always been thus.  More appropriate targets for popular agitation and reform might be:

  • Various federal politicians and their departments, who protect sectors of Canadian industry from the hurly-burly of unfettered interaction with foreign competitors.
  • Voters, who have consistently elected protectionist politicians.  There is still a widespread notion across all major parties that Canadian firms cannot hope to survive against global competitors.  They must therefore be protected by the regulations and restrictions of our artificial economic hothouse.

On a global playing field, you can have protectionist safeguards to preserve local industry, incurring potential costs of stagnation and non-competitive pricing.  Or you can have innovation and competitive pricing at the potential cost of losing your local industry.  It is an either/or proposition.  You can’t have protectionism accompanied by innovation and competitive pricing, because competition is the very thing that spurs companies to innovate and stay nimble.

To be blunt: lack of competition is a structural problem afflicting large sectors of the Canadian economy.  The CPRP and OECD say so.  It is not mere avarice on the part of one company, or even one industry.  It is the natural, logical result of trying to protect companies from the very catalyst that forces them to improve.

So by all means, write angry letters to Rogers, the CRTC, your MPs, et cetera.  But don’t expect an awful lot of change unless you’re prepared to let certain sacred cows die first.

Category: Amor Patriae, Finance, Industria  Tags:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.