Commentary

Chasing Amazon? May I Suggest You Consider Facebook Instead?

Image: Facebook Headquarters, Menlo Park, California. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The competition to attract Amazon H2 and its 50,000 jobs is reaching a fevered pitch. Some experts have suggested the total value of the incentive deal will reach $5-billion ($100,000 per job) or more.

Amazon has even stated that it expects a massive incentive deal. Some jurisdictions will undoubtedly waive all corporate taxes – income, sales, property, et cetera, and also offer some kind of personal income tax rebate (i.e. a grant to the firm based on how much personal income tax is expected to be generated).

As I have said before this amounts to lottery-mania. All the Governor “war rooms” established and all the gimmicks (remember the town that renamed itself Google on a temporary basis to attract that firm?) will end up being a fun distraction (and a costly one).

RELATED: Ambition Won’t Get Us Amazon, But Could Land Us Another UPS or Air Canada

May I suggest, as an alternative, that you consider attracting Facebook instead.

Facebook has already announced it will be hiring several thousand new staff to monitor content and one expert suggested this would only be a drop in the bucket. He indicated 10,000 or more may end up being needed around the world to ensure all that fake news you click on or like is put into context or deleted outright (did Bill Murray actually benefit from New Brunswick’s legendary kindness?).

New Brunswick has a cybersecurity cluster. It has a long history with back office and customer interaction centres.  It is rapidly boosting its immigration to ensure a future pipeline of workers. It is almost a certainty that a 1,000-person Facebook cybersecurity/content centre would thrive here.

RELATED: How N.B. Is Trying to Capitalize On Trump’s Efforts to Restrict Immigration

As a cherry on top, the NBCC and CCNB would be thrilled to churn through hundreds of graduates from a customized content moderation/security training program.

After all, like the lottery, winning $100-million would be nice but the free tickets, $10 and $100 prizes are in large part what keeps us coming back for more.

David Campbell writes a blog about economic development in Atlantic Canada called It’s The Economy, Stupid. This post was republished with permission. Campbell also operates Jupia Consultants, a consulting company that conducts demographic and economic analysis.

Huddle publishes commentaries from groups and individuals on important business issues facing the Maritimes. These commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Huddle.