Monday, January 26, 2009

He’s living in a different world…

… Gordon Brown, that is (see here). Apparently we’re not allowed to be pessimistic at present, and we’re to do everything we can to protect globalisation, because somehow that’s the only way to alleviate poverty in the rest of the world. I don’t see much evidence where globalisation has exactly helped alleviate poverty in the rest of the world so far, but don’t let that stop you, Mr Brown. After all, you think the solution to the current crisis is to turn back the clock 12 months to when we all lived on the never-never piling up mountains of debt without considering the consequences.

What is wrong with a measure of protectionism anyway? Why should we buy our vegetables from Kenya when Kenyans should be growing those vegetables to feed themselves? One of the biggest myths surrounding globalisation and the “free” world economy (free for bigger businesses to prey on smaller ones and hoard billions of dollars of profit for their shareholders) is that somehow there is a set standard of living that everyone has to attain, namely the western style of living.

The protectionist argument is usually couched in terms of a country like ours turning our eyes away from the rest of the world, but perhaps a better argument is that “free trade” is promoted to allow big businesses to push into any damn corner of the earth they please. We all know how big business cares – look at the sweatshops that employ children on behalf of big groups, just because they’ve found a country where wages are low and regulations are even laxer than they are in the west.

People in other areas of the world should be left alone to determine how they want to live their lives. All we need do is make sure they have the opportunity to live in peace, learn to live sustainably and get access to the best preventative medical care there is. Mind you, if we can’t even do this for ourselves, who am I kidding?

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