I received a couple of interesting emails about my column last Saturday where I made the case that New Brunswick should be a place where companies can make a profit and that we should take it seriously when whole industries are not. For me this is a problem as firms will not invest in jurisdictions where they can’t make a reasonable return on their investment over time.
I stated openly that this does not mean that governments should prop up individual firms. In any industry there will be winners and losers, innovators and laggards, badly run firms and well run firms. Government policy should want that dynamic as in the end it should make for better firms within a healthy competitive environment. However, if the profitability of a whole industry is well below the national level, it deserves a closer look.
Secondly, I didn’t mean it as a polemic about the merits of capitalism. We can have that debate. I’m up for it. But this column was set in the context of the system we have in place now. There are too many people in New Brunswick that are suspect of profits, wealth, accumulation, etc. To them it is unsavory.
It may be unsavory but it is the system we have. We need to attract firms and foster ambitious entrepreneurship that create profits – translated into wealth – and partially taxed to help pay for the public services and public infrastructure that we all care about.
You shouldn’t just see RED because someone wants to have an adult conversation about ‘profit’ and its role in a vibrant, capitalist and democratic jurisdiction.