The madness of the Greens

June 9th, 2008 at 1:01 pm by David Farrar

I encourage everyone to go read the blog post by Sue Kedgley on the World Food Conference in Rome. It is a stunning example of madness and extremism.

They argued that the main cause of the crisis was that food production in much of the developing world has been decimated by three decades of globalization and liberalization policies. Previously self sufficient countries had been unable to compete with heavily subsidized, cheap European and American food and so small self sufficient agricultural sectors collapsed in country after country, leaving developing countries dependent on imports and food aid.

Now read this carefully. In the first sentence she blames the food crisis on free trade liberalization policies (never mind even the very lefty UN is blaming it on biofuels and saying free trade is the solution), and then in the second sentence she complains about heavily subsidized cheap food undermining local agricultural sectors.

Earth to Sue – come in Sue. That is protectionism – the very thing you are in favour of. People who support free trade like me want subsidies and tariffs to be abolished. That way those countries which can most efficiently produce food, get to do so. I suspect Africa would boom in terms of food production if indeed one can get Europe and the US to remove their subsidies and tariffs.

It is scary that a long serving MP can not know the difference between free trade and protectionism. I think this shows that the anti globalisation fanatics have just started to use it as a slogan. Anything they are against they label as free trade and globalisation.

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20 Responses to “The madness of the Greens”

  1. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    ” the very lefty UN”

    Sometimes that old hard-right. Neo Reagen stuff just slips out eh David?

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  2. freethinker (694 comments) says:

    Sue Kedgely doesn’t know her arse from her elbow but I could help her distinguish the difference with assitance from DBP.

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  3. peterwn (3,298 comments) says:

    I think that even the Green Party itself realises this. She contributes well as an impassioned critic, but that is as far as it goes. she is no doubt valued for stirring up issues, but when it comes to moulding them into coherent policy, that is another matter. A presumption that foods need to be regulated, but not herbal medicines is hardly coherent policy. Herbal medicines can be just as harmful as conventional ones, and have the additional hazards of impurities, excessively high or low amount of active ingredient, risk of undue confidence in heir claims meaning people do not seek medical help when needed and an unjustified feeling of product safety as they are ‘natural’.

    One would expect a veteran Green such as sue to be number 3 on the list by now.

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  4. emmess (1,432 comments) says:

    Ooooohhhh, oooohhhh but she brushes her hair and wears nice jewelery she must be a moderate

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  5. Tane W (51 comments) says:

    “Earth to David, come in David”

    Maybe you don’t quite understand Sue. She’s pointing out the hypocrisy forced onto Third World countries by the US and Europe to open their internal markets by removing subsidies and tariffs, and then dumping subsidised food on them, undercutting local production. You know, “Free markets are best when they’re one way and in our favour”. I know you don’t agree with this either, but you’ve mis-read what Sue is saying, it’s entirely consistent. The protectionism at play here is only there for the US and EU, not the third world.

    As for globalisation, it’s dying already, though it will be a long time before it finally carks it. $139 oil and higher will torpedo it. Globalisation requires cheap transport, cheap communications and open societies/borders. Remove one of those and you get de-globalisation. We need to stop living in the 90s, realise that we can’t ship everything in from overseas, and look to rebuilding our manufacturing base. We’re going to need it.

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  6. big bruv (14,132 comments) says:

    Tane W

    “As for globalisation, it’s dying already”

    To be replaced with what?, if you really think that the country is going to turn to that arrogant wanker Comrade Norman for leadership then you are sadly mistaken.

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  7. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    As for globalisation, it’s dying already…

    I’m glad you’re not my financial adviser! Run chicken little run!

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  8. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    We need to stop living in the 90s, realise that we can’t ship everything in from overseas, and look to rebuilding our manufacturing base. We’re going to need it.

    Kyoto penalises local production, favours offshore and has ruled carbon emissions on transport to be illegal.

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  9. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    >>cheap transport

    Ships are cheap.

    >>cheap communications

    Sorted.

    >>open societies/borders

    Getting there.

    >>As for globalisation, it’s dying already”

    Funny.

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  10. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    Earth to Sue – come in Sue.

    David,

    Don’t be too hard on Sue. She is just harking back to the one NGO, anti-globalisation, people power victory of recent times. Sue and her friends are proud of how they stopped the “evil” Doha reform of the WTO. Remember all that protesting – Sue & friends, American agri-business, EU welfare farmers & Japanese hobby rice farmers all got together and “saved” the world from free trade. They fought and stopped the intentions of the worlds poorest countries to end subsidies in the 1st world.

    Sue (you must be aware) truly believes she is channelling “millions of independent farmers” in the 3rd world and as such is their “legitmate” representative. Sue believes she is a much better representative than any silly government of these people. Sue knows she has their real interests at heart (not that she has asked or even speak their languages and certainly not been elected), however Sue “cares a lot” and that is enough for Sue.

    Sue and friends have been removed from the main hall of the conference. But, let me assure you, they shall be let back in the moment 1st world protectionists need “legitimate” representatives of the worlds poor to stage a street protest, sit in or small scale riot to protect “millions of independent farmers” from free trade.

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  11. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Wasnt it Sue who was conned into wanting ban water because she didnt know the scientific definition.

    It proved that these fruit loops are just Commies who want to control my life

    they are all living in 1930s Russia.

    That Norman prick would institute the gulags quick as a flash if he got his crazed hands on the levers of power

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  12. Chris Diack (748 comments) says:

    Tane W

    “As for globalisation, it’s dying already, though it will be a long time before it finally carks it”

    Intellectual bankruptcy.

    Gosh I wonder how those Pacific Islanders could afford the gas and communications to arrive here in 1250. The good old days when things were cheap.

    The urge to trade, to move about the globe to both “know” and “fear” the other is as old as man. I wouldn’t put much store in your prediction of “de globalisation”

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  13. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    A number of my blog posts deal with the issue of Food. One of the key elements is that the Green Revolution, referred to by DPF above actually enabled many countries which did not produce sufficient food to be come relatively self sufficient. Funny that, those nasty Rockefellers helped poorer countries.

    There is virtually no real free trade in food, despite what Kedgley thinks. In a recent post I reference an Economist article which discusses some World Bank research that suggests that tariffs are one of the major impediments to food supply.

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/965/

    In addition it is thought that higher returns to farmers in poorer countries offset cost increases plus enable re-investment.

    Further factors are incompetent and corrupt governments in Africa, and elsewhere turning food exporters eg Zimbabwe into importers, EU and American protectionism, inefficient farming practices and the need for much more investment in agricultural science and development to overcome the problems of water resource depletion, cost of oil and fertiliser. This is why the head of the oECD in releasing a major report prepared jointly with the FAO on the eve of the conference declared that it was time the world realised that GE/GM was a necessity and that the fearmongering by the likes of Kedgley and others had to stop.

    With regard to rice part of the problem is that only 6-7% of the global crop is traded, and the Japanese are sitting on some 1.5 million tonnes which could be released to the global market as it is primarily Thai and US rice bought to meet WTO commitments and then warehoused so as to protect Japanese rice farmers, so the domestic Japanese rice price is thus far higher than the world price. Really clever. heh?

    But umaha-closp is right the moment the EU/US protectionists want to cloak themselves in ‘green’ rhetoric they will pander to La Kedgley and her ilk.

    For anyone interested most of my posts on food issues can be accessed through this static page

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/food-issues-page/

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  14. emmess (1,432 comments) says:

    I think it is insulting that Greens preach the complete opposite of the Green Revolution that has saved billions of lives
    They should be forced to give up the word “Green” from their name

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  15. cha (4,078 comments) says:

    gd, Nationals Jacqui Dean.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10463579

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  16. ghostwhowalks3 (368 comments) says:

    Whats wrong with your eyes!!
    ..,Previously self sufficient countries had been unable to compete with heavily subsidized, cheap European and American food

    Subsidised food sent overseas ends up destroying self sufficency !!

    You support this
    Obviously not , but your green bashing intent gets the better of you since its ‘trade’ and must be good.

    Protectionism is restricting imports NOT paying subsidies to export it and destroy the agriculture elsewhere

    [DPF: Don’t lie about me or you will be gone also. I have explicitly opposed said subsidies and protectionism is both tariffs and subsidies. Both should go]

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  17. Spider_Pig (62 comments) says:

    It’s amazing the number of people that are supporting Sue here. The hipocrisy is unbelievable. I can’t believe the general population stands for such high tariffs, or tariffs in general. Why should one sector (agriculture, for example) be supported by taxpayers through the form of subsidies?

    It basically makes them beneficiaries of the state, doesn’t it???

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  18. Robert Ashe (5 comments) says:

    What Sue Kedgley has said does actually stand up. She’s illustrating the contradiction inherent in the way “free trade” gets implemented around the world: Powerful countries continue to exploit the poor. By using the ideology of free trade, the West has successfully opened up the markets of the Developing World all the while maintaining their own high levels of agricultural subsidisation.

    Free market idealists need to start getting real about the way power in the world actually works. Start taking on the farming lobby groups of the West…not people like Sue Kedgely who are simply standing alongside the poor.

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  19. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    Protectionism is restricting imports NOT paying subsidies to export it and destroy the agriculture elsewhere

    The above being a perscription for less food being produced, how this will help end world hunger is somewhat unclear.

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  20. 45.9south (7 comments) says:

    “I suspect Africa would boom in terms of food production if indeed one can get Europe and the US to remove their subsidies and tariffs.”

    Actually, probably not. Removing Western subsidies would improve things, but production wouldn’t boom by a long shot. Much of sub-Saharan Africa lacks the infrastructure to get the products to markets, has low soil fertility and little infrastructure and funds to get fertiliser, and relies on rain rather than irrigation. A labour force weakened by malaria and AIDS, and ag activities hampered by poor regional govt policies (e.g., Zimbabwe), add to this burden.

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