Capitalism vs State Capitalism and Potash

The Government of Saskatchewan wants nothing to do with a state (read China) corporation takeover of Potash Corp.  The Globe reports:

“The Saskatchewan government signalled Wednesday that it is unlikely to support a takeover of the Saskatoon-based company by a sovereign wealth fund or other state-owned firm from China or other large potash-buying nation. The fear is that the new owner’s primary motive – to supply food and fertilizer for their populations – would conflict with the province’s goal of supporting its people through higher potash prices.

“It would seem to us at first glance that their interest and the interest of taxpayers of Saskatchewan may not be aligned,” Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd said in an interview.”

Perhaps I am missing something but is this more logical than saying a propos of BHP Billiton or other foreign capitalist suitors:

“The fear is that the new owner’s primary motive – to maximize profits for non Saskatchewan residents  – would conflict with the province’s goal of supporting its people through higher potash prices.

“It would seem to us at first glance that their interest and the interest of taxpayers of Saskatchewan may not be aligned.”

Be the purchaser capitalist or state capitalist, the province still owns the resource and can set royalties as it sees fit. If that power is not enough, then perhaps the province should take over the company itself.

3 comments

  • If the Sask gov were to threaten to nationalize potash right know they could tank the deal.

  • Make it public- if there are any people in Canada that understand what being custodian of the land can mean to people- it is those flat landers in the prairies. I am quite shocked that there has not been a lot more talk about taking it public.

    You are pretty hilarious today Andrew- I do like the quote from the government you mention- quite humourous indeed and deserves a repeat re-blog-

    “The fear is that the new owner’s primary motive – to maximize profits for non Saskatchewan residents – would conflict with the province’s goal of supporting its people through higher potash prices.”

    I surely do not understand how having a non-state capitalist profit maximizes any differently that a state????

    Ahhhhh- are we not talking about multi-billions of dollars? Can we at least get a proper analysis and debate of situation- WTF! What a dog and pony show.

    I think they need to start a make it public campaign- Why on earth would our prairie people just out and out give away these profits??? In the name of some dumb ass belief in an ideology that somehow some CEO somewhere knows how to sell Potash better??

    Given the state of the food supply of the planet, it is pretty obvious that potash is and will grow in demand by leaps and bounds. Don;t be silly Saskatchewan- make it public and keep your wealth.

  • So what does it mean to be a Canadian corporation these days? Having a supposed head office in Canada? Since the provincial Conservatives and the NDP privatized PCS, the stock has traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and a majority of the stockholders have been Americans. It was highest when the NDP was in office, close to 80%, and now is down to about 52%. The CEO lives in Chicago and runs things from there. People are nervous here for why would stockholders have any reason to keep in head office in Saskatoon if they could get a better return from a head office in Australia?

    There is absolutely no debate about ownership of the present Potash Corp in SK. There is no difference on the issue between the Sask Party and the provincial NDP. In a press conference recently, Kevin Yates, speaking for the NDP caucus on the issue, was asked about the option of public (social) ownership of the company. According to the quote I heard on CBC radio, he replied: “We tried that and it didn’t work.”

    This goes a long way to explain why the provincial NDP is around 25% in the polls, the Sask Party government has generally had a 70% approval rating, and in the next provincial election the NDP will be crushed.

    While Erin has done his best to raise the issue, no one in any important position in SK wants to discuss the issue of profits and economic rent and who gets what.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.