Brian Lee Crowley

Of unicorns, sasquatches and supply management

At the exact moment where Canada is risking its spot at the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in a quixotic effort to buttress supply management, the EU, that bastion of neo-liberalism, is abandoning milk quotas to the delight of both consumers and entrepreneurial dairy farmers. In my column for the Globe’s Economy Lab (Aug. 21st edition), I walk readers through the massive changes shaking the milk world globally, and why Canada’s efforts (endorsed by every political party) to “protect” dairy farmers are in fact harming the industry and costing consumers handsomely to boot.

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What a dollar is worth matters as much as how many dollars you have

Lost in the angst about income inequality is the fundamental point that the poor’s purchasing power is increasing all the time. Innovation is the chief explanation, as I lay out in my latest column for the ROB’s Economy Lab feature in the Globe. I am one of those people who thinks that the gap between the most and the least well-off is far less interesting than whether we are improving the lot of people at the bottom. One of the most effective ways to do that is to increase their purchasing power, which private sector innovation does more effectively and effortlessly than increases in government transfers.

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“Monopoly” no synonym for “consumers massively preferring good companies”

In this week’s column for the Globe’s Economy Lab feature I have a little fun with words. Specifically I call to order those who erroneously  call Google’s dominance in the search engine market a “monopoly.” It is nothing of the sort when consumers freely choose one provider’s product or service over that of its competitors, which is the case with Google and was the case in earlier times with Microsoft, IBM and others who have all been unfairly and inaccurately treated as monopolists.

If you want to find real monopolists, you should look at those companies whom the state shelters from the bracing winds of competition, technological change and consumer preference. Supply management and the post office, anyone?

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Brian Lee Crowley