Good news! WTO negotiations may collapse as nations push for self-sufficiency.
In a syndicated piece in The Australian Financial Review, “CAP on trade fuels food fears", London-based writer, Geoff Kitney, expresses British horror at the prospect of France leading the EU and European agriculture from July 1 this year. I guess he thinks that the national syndicators of mad cow disease could do a much better job.
He describes the French as “seizing on the global scare about dwindling food supplies” to call on the EU to use its ‘common agricultural policy’ (CAP) to motivate European farmers to raise production and make Europe self-sufficient in food.
I don’t know about you, but ‘global scare’ strikes me as a bit of a frivolous way to describe widespread starvation and food riots, whilst ensuring national self-sufficiency sounds to me like the right way to go.
Kitney sounds as if the prospect of declining oil reserves hasn't sunk in, or perhaps he just doesn’t understand the oil-food connection.
According to Kitney, naughty Germany has backed up the French position, saying food supplies are key, even if that means higher prices. And, not content to ensure adequate food supplies:
“Germany went further, suggesting that as food supplies became more scarce, it was important that the EU demanded higher environmental and health standards from countries such as India, china and the US if they wanted to sell in the European market.”
Shock! Horror! That could mean an end to cheap imports, mobile capital and slave labour. How will the rich survive if they can’t exploit poor and dirty conditions off-shore? How will they get to own all the seeds in the world if the EU rejects GM and the patenting of genes? Heavens, the next thing they will be banning child labour – and then the birth rate will fall in the third world. What’s an economic rationalist to do if nations begin thinking rationally for their citizens?
“Little wonder”, [writes Kitney], “that there is such a sense of urgency to get an agreement now before the rising tide of protectionist fear overwhelms the WTO negotiations.”
He goes on to say that the WTO cannot just at the moment “boost food production and lower food prices” but describes how it will be working on stopping all this democratic nonsense about self-sufficiency.
Whilst the [unfortunately well-fed] WTO negotiators will be “working overtime at its headquarters on the foreshores of Lake Geneva” the UN Human Rights Council will be holding a special session just down the road to look at the global food crisis “from a human rights perspective.”
What a novel approach!
Kitney relates that Olivier De schutter, the new UN rapporteur on the 'right to food' has expressed concern that protectionism in the 'rich' countries is making the products of the poor countries uncompetitive.
Unfortunately, it seems that the UN never really looks at the hard problem of land-stealing in the third world, which has meant that perfectly viable economies became basket cases in the 19th C and, just as they were getting some control over the situation, the economic hit-men of globalism went in under the shock-doctrine and turned them into slave-dictatorships, coordinating the international privatisation of public land and utilities and rewriting constitutions. (See Review of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine)
We certainly cannot trust the WTO to look after democracy and the environment. The UN, whilst made up of many excellent local and regional organisations, seems to act on a global level as a monolith dancing to the tune of the WTO, the World Bank, and the USA. Whilst national systems may not be perfect, they are a step towards relocalisation. In an oil poor world we need to get control back over our immediate surroundings and governments.