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NAFTA


SharperDingaan
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Whatever we may think of the recent threats/discussions to 'build walls', there is a funny side to this ....

 

Per some of the Canadian comedy shows; the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has been 're-named' the The North American F*** Trump Agreement - with a few extra gestures from the Mexican side. The on/off again refugee ban, is also being referred to as the 'The Art of the FU'

 

Probably not what the US had in mind.

 

SD

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You may find that funny but, I have personally seen the stress and fear experienced by very good and competent Canadian people afraid to lose their jobs to Mexico. Moreover, when the Canadian dollar moved up due to oil in the 2000's it was a big problem and there was nothing these folks could do despite them improving their productivity by a lot. 

 

I was also involved in multiple sourcing studies so I also know the politics that sometime go into this including fudging of numbers on both sides. Some get promoted for immediate savings, etc. Some lie. When these are done properly, you realize quickly that the lure of lower wages does not always compensate for inventory issues, speed to market and true productivity among others.

 

Cardboard

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Agreed it cuts a little close to the bone, and could be seen as somewhat offensive.

My apologies for any offence.

 

The reality is that we can all be replaced, the Mexicans as well.

There is always a cheaper labor pool somewhere else, and being the lowest cost provider is a well-trod competitive strategy (Porter). For many countries, people are the only real export, & life is cheap; whether it be a migrant worker repatriating earnings home, or an unskilled domestic worker forced to work in a Bhopal garment factory - because that's the only job there is, & it's that or starve. Unfortunately people aren't the competition, its automation; the robot can do it better, and more reliably, than just about all of us. 

 

The fear is real; trade agreements are one of the many ways of dealing with it.

Trade benefits us all, and agreeing to rules over a specified timeline - allows us to plan (NAFTA). Gaming by all sides is par for the course, hence agreements are  usually renegotiated every 'X' years to contain the abuses. Posturing is a negotiation strategy, it's not in the collective interest of all, and it needs to be called. For hundreds of years; theater, comedy, and sardonic humor have been the well-worn methods of achieving it.   

 

The best robots are executing software, not machinery.

To make them work for us, and not against us; we have to be willing to radically change what we do, and how we do it (ie: adapt). Roughly 100 years ago we were still getting around by horse and buggy, and traveled to/from major cities by either rail or ship - motor vehicles and aircraft were still in their infancy. Today we have block-chain and smart-contracts executing on common databases; and have reduced the time to confirm and settle a securities trade to near real time - with complete audited history & elimination of the need to reconcile. Within financial services it means the elimination of literally tens of thousands of back-office jobs, paying maybe an average 50K/year, or $25/hr before benefits. The potential public sector impact is much higher.

 

Fear is the mind-killer (Herbert), but human ingenuity is the light.

My money's on the humans.

 

SD

 

 

       

 

 

 

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