Thursday, November 20, 2003
There are unfortunate consequences to good economic strategy . . .
But I do not wish to place myself in the same camp as white kids with dreadlocks and "F**k the WTO!" t-Shirts. Ick. In their camp, you'd probably be at high risk for skin parasites and oversimplification.
Simple truth: There are lots of good ideas out there. But they rarely get carried out by good people, or in good ways. For instance, Free Trade is a good idea. It, theoretically, should put everyone on the same level and increase productivity while lowering prices for everyone. But it seems that these initiatives are not backed by the type of Marxist Utopians you might think. Instead, they are backed by those sleazy, let's breed a fish with a strawberry and see what we get types at Novartis, Monsanto and ADM. And they know full well that they can get more out of high-polluting factories in Mexico, China and India than they'll ever get out of US factories, with their damned EPA regulations. The philosophy behind Free Trade at this point is not "More for Everyone." It is now "More for Us."
Additionally, for small family farmers with sustainable agricultural practices, the learning curve to compete with such megacorps (if there is a light at the end of that tunnel, I doubt most of the backers of these initiatives will help them find it) is so steep that it could bankrupt entire rural populations . . . not only in developing countries, but within the States as well. The North-South economic gap is just a small example of what could happen if Free Trade of the Americas were to get through. While those of us lucky enough to not live in the rural south, we get all the goods they, and the agricorps can produce.
Unfortunately, as those farmers down South have to produce less volume for the same selling price, even using the same pesticides, herbicides, and in all likelihood, GM seeds, they can't compete with the sheer volume produced by the huge corporations. And if they go under, all the better for Monsanto who can purchase their land and add further to their profits . . .
Good economics, in the long run. But at what cost to our cultures, our world right now?
Posted by Cassie Schoon at 8:39 AM