Tag: public sector

The Incompetence of the Canada Post Corporation

By Alexander Robak | Canada

As of October 16th, 2018, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has declared that they will begin rotating strikes across the country. Over the past month, these rotating strikes have hit many major cities across the country such as Mississauga, Ottawa, and Toronto. Not only have these major cities (which are responsible for the processing of much of Canada’s mail) been affected, but many of the smaller cities and townships in Canada have been affected as well. This strike comes in the wake of the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The CUPW believes that striking will prove to be an effective method in ensuring a fair agreement for employees of Canada Post. However, all they are doing is hurting the much despised government-operated corporation.

As rotating strikes hit many regional distribution centers across the country, distribution of mail in Canada has been slowed to a snail’s pace. On top of this, these strikes are not expected to end any time soon and are not uncommon. Almost every time that a new CBA must be negotiated between Canada Post and the CUPW, the workers strike and demand more benefits and pay. This is doing nothing but annoying Canadian consumers and forcing them to lose trust in the once-beloved crown corporation. The only logical solution for the Canadian consumer in this situation would be to boycott Canada Post altogether and make the switch from public mail distribution systems to private ones, such as UPS and FedEx, when sending and receiving both mail and parcels. This solution will not only show the government how the Canadian people are losing trust in Canada Post and crown corporations but will put Canada Post in a state of financial danger if done correctly.

A Government Failure

The main problem that comes with the mere existence of a corporation such as Canada Post is that it is owned and controlled by the government of Canada, yet it does not maintain a monopoly over the mail system as a whole in Canada. While Canada Post does maintain a massive market share, it has nowhere near enough of a market share to choke out its competitors that are privately run. On top of this, these private competitors have often exceeded Canada Post in terms of quality of service and customer satisfaction. My question to the Canadian taxpayer is this: Why do we continue to allow ourselves to pay our income to support an overpriced government-owned corporation that is often beat out by its competitors?

Under no circumstances does it make sense for the Canadian consumer to support a crown corporation with tax dollars and also have to pay to use the service provided by the said crown corporation. This financial ineffectiveness on the part of Canada Post only plays into the fact that governments are inept at creating and managing businesses in the free market. If Canada Post were a private corporation, but still maintained this deplorable level of service, there is absolutely no way that it would survive in the free market, being forced to compete with giants such as FedEx and UPS. The only way Canada Post continues to exist is through the extortion of the Canadian taxpayer.

The only solution to the Canada Post conundrum is to pressure the Canadian government into selling the corporation to a private owner. At the very least, the Canadian government should open up the market to allow more private options to the consumer. This would only happen through a minimizing of the size of Canada Post’s responsibilities, and the size of the business as a whole. However, we should seek for the Canadian government to abolish Canada Post. The Canadian consumer would be better serviced in the postal industry by a series of privately owned corporations, competing in a free market without government intervention.


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Losing Jobs to Robots: A Misconstrued Non-Issue

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

“Technological Unemployment” was a term coined by economist John Maynard Keynes. It references jobs for people that machines replace, and is a type of structural unemployment. He was not the first to discuss the concept of lost labor due to machines, but he made it more popular by the 1930s. We see this continued sentiment with the progress of technology today. People in Neo-Luddite fashion scream, “Robots are taking our jobs,” or, “With more robots taking our jobs, what are we supposed to do?” At face value, it can be very scary the idea of being unemployed or a lost career that took years with plenty of personal investing.

Are people really going to lose their jobs? In short, yes. Yes, people will lose jobs and careers, with no return in certain fields. With software and technological advancements, there will be careers such as accountants, construction workers, stockers, and more that will have to find alternative fields of employment. This does not mean that other fields will not become available for these individuals.

In fact, with technological advancements, there have been a plethora of jobs and fields that have come into existence only because of these precise advancements. For example, the internet has led to the demise of many traditional advertising companies, but has opened serious career opportunities for social media and online advertisers. When the car was invented, it caused the fall of the horse and carriage industry, but allowed new careers in vehicle manufacturing, advertising, sales, mechanics, accessories, fuels, etc. Only a wistful dreamer would argue that in order to provide more jobs we should ride on horses as a means of transportation again.

Politicians are typically characterized as declaring, “We need more jobs!” Suffice to say, it is not their place to do so. It is also not a healthy economical role for governments to employ many people. Nevertheless, it appears as an easy way of winning votes when a politician tells citizens they will get them “free” things at the expense of others, or more jobs. The only real jobs created would be by government loosening its claws off the neck of a free market that it is crippling with regulations.

Perhaps, in order to simply “create more jobs,” the politician can propose policies that prevent technological advancements, and get rid of more than half of the machines currently used, such as bulldozers. That way, they can give everyone spoons, instead of machines and shovels, and create an entire network of frantic ditch diggers who only use spoons all for the sake of “creating jobs!”

When people protest that they have “a right to work,” this means they believe they have “the right to other people’s property.” A company is owned by an individual or group of individuals. They fronted the risks of creating the company, and they rightly redeem the rewards, losses, and other consequences of having their company. Just because they have a contractual agreement with certain people as the company being employers, this contract does not provide employees with ownership of the company or its property. This also entails the job itself, as it can be terminated by either party at any time, under most contracts. Some areas have created laws to attempt to say otherwise, yet this does not justify their thieving actions.

If the property belongs to the company, it is to the company’s discretion as to whether they would prefer people working for them or robots and software. As people demand more and more for their employment, such as wages, health, retirement, investments, vacation, etc., companies are irrefutably incentivized to go with lowest cost labor that provides the least amount of problems, i.e. robots, machines, and software.

This inevitable change is artificially influenced by increased costs and taxes, and as people require more this process is expedited. A prosperous outcome, for most, would be a laissez faire solution which allows these changes to occur naturally within the marketplace, expanding trade rather than filtering it. This free market would also allow employees to better compete against one another in order to get the job they so desired. It still would not change the fact that many people will lose jobs or careers to robots and software.

Some are calling on “taxing robots,” “Universal Basic Income,” or, “Basic Income,” but at a cost to whom? This cost is, again, to the creators and companies, who then pass the cost on to the market who pay more for the same products. It would also entail higher taxes for everyone, including the poor.

This, of course, should be a motivation to better market one’s self by learning more and expanding their own horizons as opposed to accepting mindless jobs that a robot could do in the near future. More complex jobs, like calculating as an accountant, will still be inevitably lost to software. Yet, there are other fields and companies that will choose to stay with people for a while, and the same goes with more menial jobs. This can be seen clearly with banks providing ATMs while maintaining in-house bankers. Many people prefer dealing with other people rather than with machines, especially as some software is still getting the bugs worked out.

In the long-term, the benefits of robots, machines, and software far outweigh the losses incurred. We have better healthcare, transportation, lower costs, better materials, a greater access to knowledge, and easier forms of communication. This list of benefits can go on continuously and yet we see more jobs available today than a thousand years ago. There are more jobs not because of governments, and not because of stifling regulations, but because of the technological advancements that humankind has created to best benefit us and the world, while also trading. People will continue losing jobs as the world progresses. People will, surely, find more jobs and opportunities as we progress!