Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Think Global, Act Local

We have been getting attention at this Blog, mostly in Canada, but now from 8 other countries, including Nepal.  As curious as that may be, we need to focus on the local scene, starting with our neighbours.

In alignment with that philosophy, I blew the marketing budget this week.  I printed off 1,000 copies of one of the Blog posts ( $10.8 Billion of Fascist Chicken ), fixed it up so it could be read out of the Blog's context, and did a bulk mailing to my community.

Canada Post has a pretty good deal, about $0.16 per piece for un-addressed flyers.  Now everybody knows, and perhaps some will care enough to get involved, or to discuss it further.  I hope to get 1% actualized, so I expect 10 people to do something with their new awareness.

I felt that was a better option than sitting here, waiting for the government to do something.

I encourage others to download the file, print some off, and post them at the various bulletin boards in your community.  For those who are too far gone to stop themselves, feel free to do a mass mailing like me.

We need to focus on our local community, for it is our friends and neighbours who know us, trust us, and will listen to our pain.  Think about all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, suffering under the chicken tyrants, then act locally in your community.

CFO Chickens Out, Denies Hearing

CFO has decided that running away is better than facing the issues head on.  On March 21, 2013 Chicken Farmers of Ontario issued me a letter stating that the CFO Board had decided to not hear my complaint against CFO and the chicken supply management system.  See Hearing Denied

This clears my way forward to seek the intervention of the FPMC (Farm Products Marketing Commission, CFO's boss), or the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal ("Tribunal").

CFO has reserved the right to request that the Tribunal refuse to hear my complaint, because they feel my complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, not made in good faith, or similar grounds.  If the system is as corrupt as some believe it is, CFO may be successful in stopping me before I get started.

If anybody has experience with FPMC or Tribunal, and is willing to share their experience, or to help our cause, we encourage and welcome your help.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rational Citizens will Succeed by August 2013

We have been successful in getting the word out to our constituants and stakeholders.

By removing the data from the first 6 days, we can more easily see that we have entered the linear doubling phase of growth.

Now we have to keep up the pace, or get even wiser on how to keep our message growing until everybody across Canada is on board.

We need 23 doublings to get every eligible voter in Ontario to be aware of the issue.  We currently have 10.62 doublings under our belt.  Based on the current linear rate of doubling our exposure, we will have achieved our 23 doublings by July 24, 2013.

Once we have everybody's ear, we can explain our case.

Bryan Caplin, an Economist at George Mason University in the US wrote the book "The Myth of the Rational Voter" For those more inclined, there is an entertaining  YouTube video by Bryan, and a related video TEDxMileHigh Talk by Michael Huemer.  Bryan and Michael speak about the "Rational Ignorance" of the public.  They propose that most people don't understand the issues because it makes sense not to.  This is explained by:
  1. Rationality requires effort, money, and time to become informed (ie. it is difficult & expensive).
  2. People are only willing to pay the cost when the rewards exceeds the costs.
  3. The probability that one person can influence the outcome of a vote or a public policy is close to zero.
  4. Most people can live a happy, functional life in spite of irrational ideas on numerous topics
  5. We usually hang out with people who are like minded, so we're not exposed to conflicting ideas.
  6. We can have strong opinions on an issue even when we are ignorant on that issue.
  7. Getting informed will likely cause us great frustration and anxiety as we are forced to change our beliefs so as to match the facts rather than our prior assumptions (ie. cognitive dissonance).
  8. We can easily dismiss people who disagree with us (ie. they are evil, biased, or ignorant).
It is suggested that all 8 of these reasons apply to our chicken struggle, and Canada's Supply Management system.

Bryan Caplin suggests that the vast majority of citizens will correctly choose to remain ignorant on the subject, and they will tend to split their opinions on a equal basis for or against the issue (ie. a random coin toss).

They also suggest that the smart politician (ie. those who want to stay in office, and/or do what's in the best interest of the public) must pay attention to those citizens who are well informed on the issue, and act accordingly.

The small percentage of voters who choose to become well informed (ie. willing to pay the private cost due to private benefits and the grand social benefits) will tend to be rational, and if we can demonstrate there are rational, overwhelming reasons for what we propose, then we will carry the day and the necessary changes will be made.

There is a test to see if you have chosen to be part of the biased, irrational, ill informed majority:
  1. Do you become angry when discussing this issue?
  2. Do you have strong opinions before collecting objective data on this issue?
  3. Do your opinions stay the same as you become exposed to objective data that conflicts with your current beliefs?
If you answer one or more of the above 3 questions with "Yes" or "Sometimes", then there is a good chance that you are one of the biased, ill-informed, irrational citizens.

All the above makes sense to me.  So for those who are reading this, thank-you for your patience and interest in this issue.

I will continue assuming that both you and I:
  • Have chosen to pay the personal costs for becoming better informed.
  • Are willing to suffer the momentary frustrations for learning and changing our opinions as we learn.
  • Are willing and able to influence others, especially our bureaucrats and politicians.
  • Will be successful in our efforts, for bureaucrats and politicians have a keen sense of when there is a sea change occurring in public opinion, and it is suicide to act in a way that is contrary to the views of the informed citizen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Brave New World

What would Ontario's chicken world look like if the mill stone was removed from around the neck of Small Flockers?

Would it all end with the bankruptcy and ruin of every commercial, quota-bearing chicken farmer?  Would people in Ontario starve due to a lack of chicken?  Would the sun rise the next morning?  Just how bad could it get?

Using our infamous HHI (yes, again), I did the present case, and some future scenarios.  Let's take a look.

Today    There are about 13,000 Small Flock Poultry Farmers in Ontario.  The average small flocker raises 69 birds per year.  Here is the total market share (quota + small flockers) for Ontario:

We can see that the Small Flockers add little to nothing; neither to the market share, nor to the HHI scores.

Case II:  Small Flockers raise 300 birds each for sale  They will raise some birds for themselves, but everybody suddenly becomes totally committed to local food production and raise the new maximum (ie. 300 meat birds per farmer).  Here is what we would get:


Now the %HHI increases from 0.01% to 0.18%; better but still insignificant.  The mega giant quota holders still dominate the scene.

Case III: Small Flockers raise 2,000 birds each for farm gate sale   IN this scenario, we have the following results:

Now we're talking!  Finally, Small Flockers have a significant presence in the Ontario chicken market.  Small Flockers are about the same as 5 of the other size categories for quota farmers.  The %HHI for the mega farmers is reduced from 63.84% to 58.92%.  The overall HHI score is reduced to 83.9% of its former value.  Nobody dies.  The world doesn't come to an end.

Can't we all just get along, recognize and appreciate the unique roles that each of us can contribute to the greater good of the public?

We're International

It isn't much, but the Blog is now getting international attention.  Total of 1,550 pageviews so far, from the following 10 countries:

Keep up the great work, my friendly Blog Dogs.

And keep those hot, moist tips coming in.  Operators are standing by to receive your calls.  Unlike me, you know what's going on out there in Supply Management and small flocker oppression across Canada.  I need your help to educate me quickly, then we get the item up here so everybody knows.

Sunshine makes the darkness go away.  Those who have caused and/or benefited from the current abomination called Supply Management can only continue in their dark arts as long as the sunshine is avoided.

CFO's District Balance

Chicken farmers are represented by their elected Director at CFO.  Is there balance between the power and influence by all 9 Districts in Ontario?

Let's take a look.

Chart 8 is from CFO's 2012 Annual Report, and gives the number of premises in each District, and the basic quota held by those premises.  On first look, it seems balanced.

When we do some additional analysis, we get the following table:

Here, we see that there is a CV% (Coefficient of Variation) of 31.68% on the number of premises in the various Districts.  That is somewhat large variability.  Similar comment on the Basic Quota in those Districts (32.85%).

The average quota per premise however, has a very small variability, a CV% of just 3.83%.  Therefore, all the Districts seem to have great consistency in the size of the various farms.

Next, we calculate the District's HHI (Herfindahl-Hirschman Index).  It is typically used to measure market share (see the Blog Post Why are there Gorillas in Ontario Chicken Coops? for more info on HHI).  Here, we see a CV% of 34.48%.  The largest influence is felt in DIstrict 3 with 18.35% of the quota-based HHI.  Usually, something within 2 Standard Deviations would be seen as normal and acceptable variation, and District 3's HHI is within 1.89 Std. Deviations of the all-District mean.

Above is the HHI data in histogram format, showing a distribution of HHI that is close to a normal bell-shaped curve, which is what we want.

So CFO has Districts that are more or less balanced.  Way to go CFO!  You got another thing right.

As farmers come and go (ie. retire or new farmers start up), this balance between Districts could shift.  Re-drawing District maps is not easy and it can cause difficulties for the farmers to get jerked from one District to a different one, so re-drawing should be minimized.

I hope that CFO does this type of analysis every year to keep tabs on the district-to-district balance.  This ensures that all farmers have an equal voice, and no District has an unfair advantage or undue voice at the Board of Director's table of CFO.