Beware the wrath of Bruce

I see the Self Sufficiency Action Plan is quoting Alec Bruce:

It’s all very well to talk about New Brunswick’s emerging industrial clusters, technology centres of excellence, and innovative economic sectors, but none of it means much when the crucial resource needed to power these initiatives is vanishing. As absurdly simple as it sounds, people, not governments, build long-term economic capacity. They launch businesses, invent new products and services, and employ relatives, friends, and strangers. They inspire others to become entrepreneurs, exporters, teachers, lawyers, doctors, architects and engineers. They enrich and diversify the culture. They buy stuff, and they pay taxes.
Alec Bruce, Voice of the People Telegraph Journal (May 4, 2007)

In my mind, the true test of the success of this government will be their ability to quote Alec Bruce after three or four years in power. When his BS-O-Meter starts to go off, they will likely not be able to find many quotes to use. The flip side of that is if they actually start to do what they say they will be doing, maybe Bruce will be kind.

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0 Responses to Beware the wrath of Bruce

  1. mikel says:

    Let’s pretend that that is all true, and that somehow this government is interested in building a culture of entrepreneurs…what would that mean?

    It means virtually the opposite of what is in this self sufficiency paper. It would mean MASSIVE investment in education, practically free tuition, rather than a measly tax credit upon completion and a grant for first year studies.

    It would mean massive investment in retraining of workers, subsidies so that people can be trained in exporting. What we hear so far is that ‘community schools’ are going to be set up to feed current businesses-namely construction. Is a construction boom predicted for the next three decades?

    And to point out NBT’s argument, if such entrepreneurs are meant to be the lifeblood, why in heavens name would you re-increase the small corporate tax from 1.5% to 5%? ‘Your’ government instead is saying that it is providing ‘grants’ to businesses, once again putting government in charge of ‘picking winners’ rather than simply providing a favourable tax rate. Of course what that ALWAYS means is that money goes to those with the political connections-not those with business acumen. Sometimes those are one in the same, but certainly not always, as the FatKat situation shows.

    Basically they are saying ‘if you survive long enough and employ enough people we’ll throw money at you’, which is exactly what government always has done, and which never works (again, look at Atlantic Yarns).

    So they may ‘quote’ Alec Bruce, just like they scream about self sufficiency and how the status quo is not an option, all the while doing exactly the opposite. There’s no point in quoting people if you aren’t following their advice.

  2. nbt says:

    Mikel touting my message?? My job is done here. 😉

    Oh btw, with regards to A. Bruce, I think it’s difficult to bite [or in this case critique] the hand that feeds you. Unless, you are alright with coming across as a serious hypocrite.

  3. mikel says:

    Notice the words “lets pretend that that is all true”. In other words, this is simply ‘the prosperity plan’ part two. Notice how they lump everything into four categories, sort of like the tories ‘five in five’. Two parties, one platform.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It means virtually the opposite of what is in this self sufficiency paper. It would mean MASSIVE investment in education, practically free tuition, rather than a measly tax credit upon completion and a grant for first year studies.

    People are more than willing to invest in themselves, as long as they see a possibility for later success. Our economy must be more than a government sponsored service industry.

    To your average high-school New Brunswicker, the opportunities sometimes just don’t seem there. That initial blush of enthusiasm to enter the workplace is being unnecessarily kicked to the curb in large part.

    Sure, you can usually find work (and sometimes interesting work, at that) – but the pure population density predicts only a minority will even get the chance at certain careers if they stay in New Brunswick. They certainly aren’t going to be overcompensated for their doing so.

    Some of that is practical (i.e. you want to study wolf mating behavior – no wolves left here), or lack of places for specialized community college or medical school, but some is systematic. The jobs seem to be doled out here at the whim of the employer. With only a few businesses offering the bulk of positions, young people are often out of luck when it comes to certain careers. The less education they have access to, the worse this situation become.

    Warning: Leftist rant follows:
    Speaking about education & employment from the businessman’s “free-market” perspective runs into problems with reality, not only moral (determining who is allowed to succeed), but practical issues, such as our limited funding for health care and other subsidized businesses (i.e. oil refining).

    Although it’s only fiat money we’re playing with here. The implications for many are no joke – like being forced to continue playing a losing game of monopoly.

    That we continue to determine what we do based solely on shiny pieces of rock and numbers in computers will hopefully be a ghastly footnote in history of our distant future.

    Until then, we need real changes that allow people to perform and succeed,not just platitudes. One way to accomplish this would be to properly compensate our workers – they should be encouraged to work for their own benefit, rather than to line the coffers of a ruling hegemony.

    Even within the system, the work we’re doing is limited by only a few different things – our imagination, laws allowing restrictive monopolies, and the values we place on core issues such as education, affordable housing and healthcare.

    For the optimistic view – If businesses in New Brunswick could just step up their game to the point where we had variety in the work available, the picture would be much different IMHO.

  5. mikel says:

    There’s no doubt that by far the best system of societal organization is socialism-at least REAL socialism, not what many people call it. Christianity preaches socialism, every kid on the playground is told to share.

    However, we have to deal with reality, and its NOT ‘lack of imagination’ that bars real progress in NB or Canada, or the world, it is a lack of democracy. In poll after poll people have stated what they expect of government to no avail.

    But even that is marginal in NB. Look at it this way. We KNOW that animation employs hundreds of people at two firms which are growing exponentially. Now, WHY do you think govenrment isn’t all over that? Why wouldn’t a government be salivating and getting up every morning to give a radio address proclaiming they have the solution to a ‘new generation’ of workers? Why wouldn’t they be making stump speeches about how two companies, with minimal government investment, could provide half the jobs of the Sussex Potash Mine?

    Why wouldn’t they be saying ‘forget bilingualism, the language kids need are ones they already love-music, games, animation, computers’. Why would they instead be talking about making schools pander to dead end jobs in construction?

    You can pretend they are just unbelievable stupid or lazy, but the simple reality is that politics, in our current form, provides a service to those it represents, and in NB it is a small coterie of large businesses. That’s the reality, and despite what David says in todays blog, EVERYTHING is ‘the public sector’, whether its operas, symphonies or ballets. Until ‘people’ have control over their representatives then that won’t change. NB is definitely worse than most provinces, but even most provinces pretty much cater to the business sector. Ironically, people can argue about the definitions of terms or how much they hate about certain terms, but Adam Smith and modern capitalism was founded on democratic principles-NOT corporate ones, and many self professed libertarians have never read a word of Adam Smith and don’t realize that the guy had a profound distrust of businesspeople and talked about government regulations at every level.

    That’s not ‘leftist’, thats just reality.

  6. David Campbell says:

    I have read The Wealth of Nations – both volumes. I have them in my book case at home. However, I can’t argue your point because it is true that Smith’s version of capitalism is not the version we see today. If you don’t want to buy the volumes, you can read them here: