Category Archives: Business

Capitalism creates widespread prosperity – or does it?

Friedman stated that the only cases in recorded history in which the masses have escaped from gruelling poverty “are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.”

It is a truism often stated by economists and politicians and widely accepted as true by the public. The question is: did the masses escape from gruelling poverty because of capitalism or in spite of it?

Continue reading Capitalism creates widespread prosperity – or does it?

Milton Friedman: The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits

Milton friedman
The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
The New York Times Magazine
September 13, 1970

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who
discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way
are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.

Continue reading Milton Friedman: The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits

BC Hydro’s Choice

BC Hydro’s newly appointed [July 2014] President and CEO Jessica McDonald,  BC Hydro’s Board of Directors [Appendix 1 below] and BC Hydro – a Crown Corporation – have chosen to become directly, personally involved in/with homelessness in Abbotsford.

They have chosen to pre-empt a question currently before the BC Courts – if not Jubilee, if not Gladys then where do the homeless go?

They have chosen to ignore questions raised by a BC Crown Corporation, an instrument of the BC Government and the citizens of BC, acting to pre-empt a matter currently before the BC Courts; not next year or at some indefinite point in the future but before the Courts NOW.

They have chosen to become involved directly with homelessness in Abbotsford and to pre-empt the question of the Charter Rights of homeless Canadians currently before the BC Courts, without a clear, demonstrable, imminent risk that required or demanded they act now and prevented them from waiting another month or two [or three] for the BC Courts to adjudicate the question of: Where do the homeless go?

In choosing to pre-empt the BC Courts on the question of the Charter Rights of Canadians  CEO Jessica McDonald, Stephen Bellringer [Chair of the board], Bill Adsit, W.J. Brad Bennett, O.B.C., Larry Blain, James M. Brown, James P. Hatton, Q.C., John Knappett, Tracey L. McVicar, Janine North, ICD.D, John Ritchie, Jack Weisgerber and the Crown Corporation  BC Hydro have, in addition to the disturbing precedent of a Crown Corporation usurping a matter before the Courts, taken on personal responsibility for answering the question Abbotsford City Council has never answered: Where do the Homeless Go?

Since, by their own choice and of their own free will, CEO Jessica McDonald, the Board, employees of BC Hydro and the Crown Corporation BC Hydro have chosen to become involved in homelessness in Abbotsford and pre-empt the BC Courts on the question of the Rights of Canadians and where are the homeless to go they have, as a consequence, made themselves responsible for – and to – the homeless in Abbotsford for answering where the homeless are to go………

“When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

“A responsible choice is a choice that creates consequences that you are willing to assume responsibility for.”     Gary Zukav

……We [I, the homeless, citizens of Abbotsford] await the unveiling of BC Hydro’s plans for the relocation of the homeless from Gladys, and BC Hydro’s answer – and plans – to the thorny question of where the homeless are suppose to relocate to.



Appendix 1

BC Hydro Board of Directors: 

Stephen Bellringer, Chair of the board

Bill Adsit

W.J. Brad Bennett, O.B.C.

Larry Blain

James M. Brown

James P. Hatton, Q.C.

John Knappett

Tracey L. McVicar

Janine North, ICD.D

John Ritchie

Jack Weisgerber

Suing Ensuing

To sue Shaw or not to sue Shaw that is the question…….although, admittedly, at this point the question is rather moot.

The discussion about homelessness and housing that resulted from the ACS housing proposal, made it clear that citizens do not appreciate how many barriers exist for anyone trying to move off the streets and into housing and  just how difficult it is overcome those barriers.

It is also clear that there is no understanding of just how hard it is to remain housed once one succeeds in finding housing. Especially if one lives on a fixed or low income where your budget has your money spent before you ever get it, months in advance.

Where an unexpected and unavoidable expense presents, at best, a severe financial challenge or begins the death spiral down into homelessness on the streets of Abbotsford once more.

A budget were all monies received are committed to covering expenses such as rent, insurance, phone etcetera; a budget without any ability to set aside some money for emergencies; an emergency that requires you to spend money means something, or several some things, does not get paid.

Which pushes you out onto the slippery slope that leads back to the streets and homelessness; a slide I have witnessed many suffer. It is a prospect, a threat, you are forced to live and deal with; a prospect that weighs on your mind and grinds away at you; a prospect that, even if you manage you finances with skill, puts you through periods of economic strain, poverty and mental stress and distress.

A major automobile expense ripples through my finances with all the subtlety of a tsunami. Couple that with one of the twice a year financial landmines of severely reduced cash flow caused by the interaction of bi-weekly pay periods and monthly payments  and you are staring down the double barrels of increased arrears and homelessness.

The money, robbed from money budgeted to pay the Shaw bill, to pay the automotive expense leaves you scrambling to squeeze money from anywhere in your budget you can to keep internet access.

The severe reduction of cash flow from one of the twice a year landmines means there is no extra cash to be found to appease Shaw and one is faced with the reality that service charges of $85 out of a budget of $100, means you are only going to sink deeper into a financial quagmire and it is time to stop digging.

The introductory low rate of $30 available if you switch service providers permits you to not only pay off what you owe, but will present an opportunity for fiscal wiggle room.

Budget less reduced rate [$100 – $30 = $70] leaves money to catch up, to pay off the amount owing..

So to Shaw’s on-line chat, where you find out you must phone in if you want to disconnect your Shaw service – giving Shaw an opportunity to retain you as a customer. So it is off to the mall to locate a pay phone [car repairs and the looming financial crunch of a month of reduced cash flow have resulted in the loss of phone service – the internet being judged a more vital connection] and speak with Shaw’s customer retention people.

Where I was offered a package that would result in a lower cost, a cost that would let me pay off the balance owing without changing providers and, as the package rate was to be ongoing, it would provide future financial wiggle room and/or the opportunity to add a specialty channel package (Space, BBC).

Even better, the package included phone service.

Unfortunately I would need to pay for connection etc so I would have to do without a phone a while longer. The agent asked me to hold while checking to see if they could include the phone connection.

YES! A day and time [6 – 8 PM on the day of the homeless count]  was arranged for the phone to be hooked up and a number chosen.

With phone included in the cost the budgeted phone cost could pay off the amount owed and allow for setting aside some money each month so the next emergency would not automatically threaten a return to homelessness.

I went to bed that night with……well, dreams of sugarplums dancing in my head and a profound feeling of relief.

The next day I go to use the internet and there is no internet. After nearly an hour online at the Library to access Shaw’s chat I find out that Shaw has decided to renege on the agreement I reached with their representative and am directed once more to phone Shaw’s customer – so called – service.

Where it takes about an hour for Shaw to confirm ‘No Deal For You’ and give me [figuratively] the bums rush out the door – don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

No mention or suggestion of working something out so I could keep Shaw as my service provider. Just a threat about the account being sent to a collection agency if it was not paid off in a month and a transfer to Accounts Receivable where a reasonable person said they would make a note on the account after I explained about tight cash flow and set out what I could budget to pay the balance off over the next three months.

24 hours. Talk about a mood swing, about triggering depression, anxiety, panic, catastrophizing…..

Not only was I left with major challenges to my mental wellness to clean up – I was left Vexed and Vexed I remain.

Being vexed is what had me requesting, just before i was threatened with a collection agency and drop kicked to Accounts Receivable, for a name and address to send a letter outlining what had happened and my thoughts on the matter; a request that was met with direction to the link on the Shaw website to send an email.

I did not ask about emailing, I asked about an address for a letter as this is not a matter that you send off an email about; it is a matter that demands a written letter sent via Post.

Fortunately years as an accountant, in business and management have made me familiar and comfortable with forms. So I have no problem stopping by the courthouse to pick up the documentation to file a claim to sue Shaw in small claims court.

I did as I was instructed, phoning and speaking with an authorized agent of Shaw who made me an offer which I accepted. Offer + Acceptance = Contract.

As customers Shaw does not permit us to say: sorry this is not a deal that should have been made. Try this and they will take every penny out of your hide if necessary

I may not know where or to whom to send a letter about this matter, but I rather expect that I will find serving Shaw with the papers for a small claims court action far more satisfying than a letter – and far more conducive to my mental wellness.