Category Archives: Free Enterprise

Governments Giving To Business

Here we go again with government “investments” in business with a $100 million nest egg courtesy of you the taxpayer for new technologies (artificial intelligence) which apparently is such a sought after space that the private sector isn’t interested.

This is what’s happening. Very poor decisions were made regarding the construction of new office towers in the downtown core of Calgary leading to a 30 per cent vacancy. Obstructionist policy from governments in the oil and gas sector has impeded business from expanding into these new commercial spaces. Now, you the taxpayer are going to pay the price for “malinvestment”. That’s right. Governments have historically been poor investors because politicians don’t personally have any skin in the game. Politicians cater to special interest groups and are amenable to influence from effective lobbyists.

When was the last time your government presented you with a performance statement in lieu of a benefit to you arising from their investment decisions in the private sector? You guessed it – never. There is no accountability.

The unremarkable thing about “capitalism” is that people and businesses fail because of poor investment decisions. The backdrop of a failure potential has the effect of scrutinizing capital carefully for its most efficient deployment.

This decision made by bureaucrats with your money is not sound but there is desperation in the corridors of governments because pension funds with equity interests in Alberta office towers are clamouring.

JP Morgan Chase In Hot Seat Over Precious Metals

It’s been a contentious issue over fifteen years in the investment community. Are precious metals markets rigged? If you’ve never heard of GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee) I suppose it’s about time they get some credit for quiet behind the scenes research into irregular trading patterns of precious metals on the COMEX and LME. GATA has in fact appeared before U.S. law makers on the topic of market rigging during the period in which this alleged illicit trading was conducted. Did the U.S. government significantly digest claims made by GATA through GATA’s research? How could the U.S. Senate draft a 396 page report entitled “Wall Street Bank Involvement with Physical Commodities” having not discovered any of these trades though which allegedly number in the “thousands”.

The news….JP Morgan appears (a plea at minimum so far) to be guilty of conducting illicit futures trades in precious metals as reported by CNBC on December 13, 2018 and in fact there is a reference in the article to the trades by an employee of the firm as being conducted with the consent and direct knowledge of his immediate supervisors. A class action law suit is underway representing those who traded the futures precious metals markets between 2009 and 2015.

Chris Powell of GATA speculates in his December 18, 2018 article whether gold mining companies who have reason to trade futures in order to hedge production will participate. Mr. Powell goes on to elaborate why the gold mining industry has been reluctant to postulate about market rigging. Austrian economists could expound greatly on motives for the suppression of the gold price.    

Not surprisingly, we’ve seen the gold price rise to a six month high today. The big question will become…how far up the chain of command will we discover complicity in the conduct of this bank employee?     w

The Success Sabotage Game

Having just about put a wrap on a very good book this weekend in the personal development genre, I reflect on experiences and relationships all while laying down a new guitar riff. I have things in the office to do on this beautiful summer weekend but the philosopher in me has taken over.

I took up Dean Graziosi on his offer to attend a free seminar and get a meal and book on him. I enjoy seminars as a way of gauging my mindset in the context of others who have achieved successes and wish to share while prepared for “the catch”. Typically, presenters deliver on their word as has Dean.

I’ve yet to gain a full understanding of the man’s history but I certainly do appreciate his sincerity in his book, “Millionaire Success Habits”. What I do know is that he put real estate to work and applied Tony Robbins’ principles in acquiring results. While others were challenged by the no doc mortgage debacle and economic pessimism in 2009, Dean apparently snapped up properties.

My message today surrounds the power of the pragmatic mind developed through failure and the social acclimatization toward risk avoidance. Frankly, the attendance of a seminar pertaining to wealth related concepts in Canadian society is mostly viewed as gullible or naive as opposed to entrepreneurially provocative. The propensity to defer to a messenger’s motive syncs with the suspicion entrenched within a society’s affinity toward liberalism. 

You know that folks seek solace in the shortcomings of others.  You hear it at work and you see it in headlines littered through websites encouraging your clicks. Marketers even target your need to be soothed.  There is a cultural aberration at play which must be called out and identified in your mind in order for the full force of your individualism to be actualized. I’m talking about the influence of this phenomenon in your mind as young as preschool. Negativity abounds and you are better equipped to handle it when you become attuned to its source.

Oh ya…the book, “Millionaire Success Habits” by Dean Graaziosi.              

Retailers Losing To Amazon

Now Wholesale Sports is closing down. They needed to build nice pretty looking stores when blocks of strip mall space lay vacant. They needed to carry excessive inventory with an extravagant in store merchandising effort and little public promotion. I think retailers in Western Canada need to rethink the way they do business before Amazon sucks up the whole space and governments better get on board with business before urban centres become boarded up black holes.

As I write this, the Marlborough mall in North East Calgary has no less than six closed retailers in the one wing which used to host Sears. Part of the blame must go to the mall for failing to exercise flexibility in a newer retail environment. Given what merchants are paying for mall space, it seems obvious that the only companies that can make it work are the well financed large establishments which can cross fund from multiple geographic outlets.

Amazon is a success story. I use them and they’ve never let me down. In fact, cities across North America as we speak are clamouring for the opportunity to be chosen as Amazon’s “second headquarters”. What is to become of strip malls and shopping malls if a business friendly environment is not provided to bricks and mortar retail establishments across Canada? Perhaps, they should be shuttered? Perhaps, there’s a social kind of slant on “going to the mall” which we want to uphold? I don’t think I really know the answer for sure but it seems that the destruction of malls in favour of an alternate use may be net negative in terms of economic utility.

Reduced Pensions and Lost Severance At Sears

There appears to be some sorrow among the laid off Sears employees who “feel” betrayed by a company in trouble. I have news for all employees.  You have a “job” and you serve at the pleasure of your employer.  By pure definition, if you decide to take a “job” you are giving up some of your autonomy.  If you should so choose to have a portion of your pay handled by a private pension plan, what gives you the right to think that there is no “risk” in having a third party manage those funds or to think that the company will be financially fit to make ongoing company contributions on your behalf?  In socialized Canada we are fed this line that you are marginalized if “self employed”.  I have news for those who believe that your company will be there for you.  You are one bad relationship or two bad performance reviews from the exit sign and if you think you have “job security” think again in the context of a financial system teetering on the brink.  If you worked at Sears and have witnessed a steady decline in retail traffic over a period of years, you should have taken a look at the competition or at the least upgraded in the evening with some career changing course work.  Now is not the time to be looking to a bankruptcy trustee for answers or the CBC for sympathy.  There is nothing more defeatist and sad than the state of a workplace in decline with hangers on sinking with the ship believing that the company will throw a life vest last minute in the form of a “severance”.

Your Tax Money At Risk For Bombardier

While your CRA is charging you arrears interest, instalment interest and an egregious personal income tax rate at the same time that you may be managing debt associated with growing your small private business undertaken by earnest capitalist passion, your government is charging zero interest to Bombardier for a $372.5 million dollar loan repayable over 15 years of which no payment is due during the first two years.  This is capitalism in Canada folks.  Lobbying corporate directors of Bombardier with operations in a politically sensitive part of Canada (Quebec) are so proud of their product that they can’t seem to find investment capital outside of their government and hence you as the taxpayer now will bear the risk with an apparent zero rate of return on the prospect a success.  There’s something not right here.  Does our government not believe in capital markets in a capitalist system?  Does it not believe that investment wealth follows good news stories from companies’ aspirant to match their innovative products with financiers?  Does our government think that our first world country lacks pools of available capital?  Or, perhaps, it’s about politics and our government believes you are naive or too self involved to take issue.

Oxfam Report on the Wealthiest

Of course the Oxfam report is written from the perspective of inequity without reference to the direct benefits bestowed upon society as a result of products and services deployed into the market by such individuals of immense financial success.  Certainly, Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Gates weren’t always as philanthropic as they are today.  However; with time and with some contemplation of their position within society individuals in the class of these gentlemen come to learn about their larger role serving mankind.  How does one measure efficiency gains realized by the technology created by Mr. Bloomberg or productivity power generated by accounting clerks deploying Microsoft Excel?  Capital markets have always put a price on new products and services and the price has always included the risk undertaken by entrepreneurs to create something from nothing.  Without the financial reward offered in order to undertake a risk, life as we know it would lack industrial progress and an improved quality of life for the masses.

Governments’ role is not to redistribute wealth.  Governments’ role is to administer the rule of law, protect citizens from military incursion, and collect taxes for the purpose of paying for resources that serve citizens collectively such as roads and hospitals, and jails.  Some governments are more liberal and determine that there are many more resources that its people need to rely on collectively and hence more tax receipts are needed to serve this agenda.  Some governments bring particular progressive ideals which don’t necessarily align with the populous’ appetite for increased taxes.

At the heart of the capitalist model is payment for the delivery of products and services.  Those who deliver get paid.  Those who don’t, don’t.  The market establishes pricing and particular providers may demand higher pay in the context of the nature of their product or service.  Hence; inherent within the capitalist model is competition.  Those less successful providers may be motivated by the system to change industries or change tactics in order to improve results.  There should be no reward for failure but the incentive to find victory.

Those members of our society whose contributions are not directly associated with the capitalist models and hence have a lower income may qualify from government programs, family support, and receipts from charitable foundations.

The backdrop of the release of this new research from Oxfam is a reminder that the capitalist model is under siege and there is an increased propensity of interest groups to want everything from their governments while contributing little of themselves.

Corporate Culture Revisited

Looking back on an old corporate culture is never the healthiest way to grow your business but there are lessons you have taken forward and there are delights to pontificate from past work environments in which you will never again be required to tolerate.  When you call the shots, there are people you have left behind.  There were those who gossiped incessantly.  There were those who had a snooty disposition strutting a one upmanship display of ego.  There were those who skipped basic training in etiquette.  There were those who thought they knew so much but hadn’t read from a book of n0n-fiction in years.  There were those who treated others indignantly and then sought respect.  There were those who did the work and there were those peculiarly familiar with management.

The entrepreneur despises a corporate culture of dysfunction…so much so that if heeded positively can turn into a primary motivating force precipitating a life long journey of commercial liberty.  “The pilgrims with Columbus did not board up on three ships and come to America to get a job.”  – Dave Severn

Rockets Red Glare

June 11, 2007

Well the Albanians love George Bush and ya can bet it’s not ’cause of his personality. This is a nation that has struggled asserting its autonomy and sees George Bush as a symbol of freedom and hope. The nightly news is a huge reminder of the privilege bestowed upon us first world democratic citizens. It hurts me on a daily basis to witness hopeless souls trade time for money in low paying jobs without deploying the seeds of capitalism as a tool to improve their lives. Internet and e-commerce is now available to the masses. The cost of entry has now declined to the point where the capital risk component has been eliminated. If you are reading this message now, I encourage you to get informed. If you are not a professional, a traditional business owner burdened with a large capital outlay, a tradesman stuck in the bush, or independently wealth, then please do some reading on the growth of e-commerce and non-traditional business. A great place to start would be to listen to the video on my page. This man has a message for you.