Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The CBC Is Useless

 Also available at PFT

Today I want to write about the big news that's going around. Yes, it's controversial and yes it may generate some criticism, but it needs to be addressed. I am, of course, talking about Don Cherry leaving CBC for Rogers... You didn't think I was going to write about Ferguson, did you? I'm not commenting on Ferguson because a) I'm not there; b) my knowledge of the history of black-white relations in the US is too limited to come to a definite viewpoint; and c) I'm pretty sure those protesting and rioting are more interested in looting than advancing the cause of liberty. Otherwise they'd be peaceful or at the very least throwing hardcovers of Man, Economy and State or Tragedy & Hope at the police. 

No, the reason I would rather focus on CBC is because the fundamental economic lessons in Ferguson are present at the CBC. How so? How exactly can one make that connection? Simple: the Ferguson police are funded through taxation, as is the CBC. Of course, one is American and the other is Canadian but thanks to the not-yet-announced North American Union, we're practically the same country.

It may be beating a dead horse, but this needs to be drilled in over and over again: governments and bureaucracies cannot behave like the private sector. In the latter, one must produce a good or service worthy of consumer purchase in order to be rewarded with profits. Failure to meet the demands of your customers results in bankruptcy. This process is known as economic calculation and this is how “society” figures out the best and most efficient ways to use the planet's scarce resources. We all vote with our dollar – now only if our dollar was an actual commodity rather than debt-paper printed by the central bank.

Now this process of economic calculation is nonexistence with government bureaus, or Crown Corporations like the CBC. But unlike the media in say, North Korea or Cuba, the CBC operates in an environment alongside private enterprise. Therefore they can look to the pricing scheme of say, CTV or Global News, and make estimations based off that. Or, as in the most recent cases, the CBC has been forced to rely more on advertising revenue – but truth be told – they still rely heavily on taxpayer money. They are still technically a Crown Corporation.

But with Rogers acquiring the rights to Hockey, and Don Cherry jumping ship, not to mention the Jian Ghomeshi sex-scandal, one must question the necessity of the CBC – if there ever was one. It was created when Canadian media was still underdeveloped, as a way of giving Canadians a voice and a sense of national culture when our airwaves were dominated by the American media. But now we're 14 years into the 21st century, Canada has its very own media conglomerates that dominate the airwaves. Albeit, through regulatory capture of the CRTC and the crony-capitalism of our current system... But now with the internet, anybody anywhere can make their own youtube channel or website or blog or whatever. Never before in its 78-year history has the CBC been as irrelevant as it is now. It's time to stop funding the state broadcaster... Well, it's time to stop funding the State itself, but that's another topic for another day...

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