01 August 2008

The left and the Greens cheers the end of Doha

Charming isn't it? The left cheers the end of the Doha WTO trade talks, preferring powerful economies negotiating bilateral preferential trade arrangements than a multilateral agreement to open up trade in primary products (primarily in Europe, Japan and the USA), manufactured goods (primarily in the richer developing countries) and services (also developing countries).

The benefits Doha could have brought to the world have been estimated in a range from US$84 billion a year to US$574 billion. It could have helped ease world food prices by freeing up the production and sale of food across the globe, and eliminating distorting subsidies, tariffs and non tariff barriers that hurt farmers in countries from Argentina to Gabon to Thailand to New Zealand.

Idiot Savant cheers on the collapse because, as usual, anyone rich is to blame and the "poor" countries (most with far bigger economies than New Zealand) were the "victims". He supports India and China holding things up, even though what both countries wanted was to restrict imports of agricultural goods whilst demanding the US and Europe open up, and to essentially inflate the price of food for their own people.

He then quotes George Monbiot, as if he is an authority on trade and agriculture, whose article says Mugabe is right in "democratising ownership of agricultural ownership", of course Monbiot didn't say Mugabe did it right because "He has failed to support the new settlements with credit or expertise, with the result that farming in Zimbabwe has collapsed." that's right. So after stealing the land, the fact the expertise went with the former owners who left, and that credit can't be printed is irrelevant to Monbiot the imbecile. He argues that we would all be better off with smaller farmers and that governments should intervene to require this. You see to the left free trade strangely means subsidised agriculture - a distortion Sue Kedgley perversely argues.

Speaking of which, the Greens are quietly cheering the failure of negotiations that could have given the New Zealand economy a boost - because after all, producers of wealth are really beside the point for the Greens. The Greens BLAME NEW ZEALAND, for treating services as being commodities bought and sold (which they are) rather than the "integral public infrastructure", which implies not that the Greens want the services delivered the best means possible, but that it must fit the socialist ideology of nationalised services that are effectively subsidised. The WTO of course doesn't require that anything be privatised.

The Greens give cop-outs for the EU, USA, India and China. You see WE were pushing things too fast, because funnily enough demanding that trade in agriculture be at least as liberalised as trade in manufactured goods (which was substantially liberalised through the 50s-70s) is "lacking credibility". The only good chance New Zealand has at influencing global trade collapses and it is New Zealand's fault.

Well we know where the Greens stand -they wanted it to fail, supported our trade enemies and rivals against agricultural liberalisation. Lied or is just plain stupid about free trade, when New Zealand's position was even shared by the UN Secretary General. The Greens prefer that Europeans, Americans, Asians grow their own food, even with heavy subsidies and can dump their products on foreign markets and shut out imports, and New Zealand can go to hell because, after all, that's "democracy and community".

The Green view of "community" is of course not people choosing what they want to buy at market prices, but the state "protecting" consumers from imports, protecting domestic producers, and taking from taxpayers to support who they think is good for the community. When in fact the best representation of the "community" are people making their own choices, not the state taxing, subsidising, banning or compelling them to do so.

The Greens call for an alternative. However what does that mean? There is only one alternative to a gradual process of liberalising global trade, irreversibly, and that is state intervention. The case for liberalisation is clear, it allows the most efficient producers of products consumers want to buy to thrive, whilst those who are expensive, inefficient (that means wasting resources, something the Greens claim to care about) and produce products that consumers would not otherwise choose to fail or choose to invest in other goods and services. Trade barriers put up prices for consumers, they hinder the growth and prosperity of producers, and often involve taxpayers being forced to pay for goods and services they may not consume - meaning overproduction of that which people don't want.

The Greens are happy New Zealand's GDP will grow by 1-2% less thanks to the failure of the Doha round. At best they are confused on trade, at worst they are traitors to the New Zealand economy who speak approvingly of the French position, which more than any other has undermined the EU dismantling its obscene Common Agricultural Policy. I expect they will cheer the status quo and the creation of more privileged trading agreements that shut out New Zealand - and hope that the mainstream media might actually quiz the Greens as to why they don't want New Zealand goods to have open access to foreign markets.

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