Global Free Trade

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Global Free Trade

  Global Free Trade

            

Global Free Trade, the way of the future or a passing phenomenon? Barry Green

Isn’t it strange?  The same people who laugh at gypsy fortune tellers take economists seriously.                                                                                                             Cincinnati Enquirer

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold , it would be a merrier world. (JRR Tolkien)   

Visit Conversations to listen to some of the stories of people and places in Western Australia

Into, a collection of thoughts started in  2006.   Global Free Trade, the way of the future or a passing phenomenon? Only time will tell. It seems to me that global free trade, as it exists today, is a product of cheap oil, virtual slave labour and environmental exploitation  in developing countries. I believe that it is neither economically nor environmentally sustainable.  The current "success" of global free trade could well bring about its downfall as rapid economic development is pushing demand for oil and hence prices to a level at which transport costs will make trade over long distances uneconomic, even if we can ignore the environmental consequences of releasing increases quantities of CO2?. (2013) Joseph E Stiglitz's book The Price of Inequality provides an explanation of what has been happening, will the internet through sites like weloveindependents.com help restore the free market and a return to local control in a global economy? The Price of Inequality
Free trade in unprocessed agricultural products might make sense to university qualified economic rationalists (economic fundamentalists) in highly paid government and big business jobs in the city, but they make no sense to me, a small scale organic farmer in regional WA. Horticultural industry associations are wasting resources in fighting off the importation of diseased foreign produce that has the potential to devastate our capacity to produce quality food, for the Australian consumer. Once a new pest or disease arrives ( plant, animal or human, added at the time of the COVID 19 pandemic )  and becomes established, (as happens frequently) the only people to benefit are the shareholders of the foreign multinational companies that produce the sprays to control these new diseases.
All Australians should be concerned that under the free trade agenda, Australia is losing its ability to feed its population while concentrating on a
Quarry Australia mentality. Farmers are getting older and young people are not going into farming because it doesn't pay. We run the risk of becoming the Twenty First century Nauru. If we keep going the way we are, in 30 years time there could be 30 million of us standing around a bloody great hole saying now what?  Sure we are unlikely to run out of iron ore but are unlikely to have the energy to extract it.
Small is Beautiful, a study of economics as if people matteres
Can anyone explain why our government is allowing foreign companies to dig up Australia faster than we have the population to do it? We are bringing people into the country to meet the demands of the boom. What are all these people going to do at the end of the boom? I would have thought the more economically rational thing would be to leave some minerals in the ground for our kids to dig up. The minerals are sure to be more valuable then that they are now anyway.  Despite the boom our national debt is higher than ever. Could it be that the Paul Keating / John Howard "modern economy" is not all it's cracked up to be? The price we pay for allowing lawyers, suburban accountants and other miscellaneous spin doctors to run the country. Perhaps we need more farmers, engineers, scientists and social workers involved, people who work in a world governed by the laws of nature and human behaviour rather than by man made laws. Harmony
The economic fundamentalists have a fanatical belief in the ability of "The Market" to come up with a replacement for oil as an energy source to drive trade. Obviously renewable energy sources will evolve for stationary purposes, but is is hard to imagine such a compact energy source as oil for transport, especially aviation. What will become of international tourism? As oil supplies dry up, much of Australia's grain production is likely to be diverted into bio-diesel so will not be available for export. 
The Western economic model relies on continually increasing GDP to sustain itself. GDP has become a function of oil consumption. To increase GDP by x% requires an (x+y)% increase in oil consumption. We have used 50% of world oil reserves in the last 50 years, I wouldn't have thought it would take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that this can't continue. That is, even if you ignore the environmental damage being done by consuming all this oil  and coal and releasing to our atmosphere in little over 100 hundred years,  carbon that has been tied up for billions of years. We are not going to suddenly run our of oil but as demand exceeds supply the price will become unstable.
Conscious Capatilism
The sceptics will say that we have heard this before, to me that is like the bloke who jumped off the 30 story building, saying as he passed the tenth floor, I don't know what all the fuss is about, it doesn't hurt a bit! The implications of all this to our food supply are discussed by Paul Roberts in his interesting and informed books, The End of Food and The End of Oil.

Change is starting to happen driven by thinking people who see that there is more to life than money. This is happening through things like Farmers Markets , Organic Farming, Permaculture the Slow Food movement are all part of a process of people taking back control of their food supply and economic destiny, that in recent years has been hijacked in the western world by multinational corporations. The funny thing is that these activities are becoming more profitable than the money driven big business approach.
Doughnut Economics
The Global Economy  is like the Titanic heading for an iceberg of global warming, energy shortage, toxic food, over population and pollution.  The leaders of the developed world are all in the ward room congratulation themselves on the speed of the ship and are all getting drunk on their success. Until recently, they hadn't seen the iceberg, but things have started to change and there is renewed hope that by the people of the world working together and individually taking responsibility for their actions, a disaster can be avoided. Australian of the Year Tim Flannery is helping raise awareness with his book the The Weather Makers.  Like the Titanic, some believe the the global economy is to big to sink, they are wrong.  The ship can't be stopped but if enough of us take action we might be able to change the course enough to miss the first iceberg.  If our political parties have lost the plot, it is up to all of us to point them in the right direction.

March 2009, the global economy is in a mess brought about by, among other things, the greed of the banks. We have the bizarre situation of governments baling out big businesses around the world. The great Capitalist countries are taking on the characteristics of the Communist economic model with businesses now owned by the government. Unfortunately the small businesses that drive these economies are being allowed to go to the wall. Six months ago our economic experts were saying the the mining boom in WA had 5 years to run, now the state is in debt but we are still turning to these people to provide the solution. This is a form of communal madness, like a drug addict looking for another fix to solve their problem. The Citizens Electoral Council of Australia which promotes the beliefs of Lyndon LaRouche has an interesting explanation for the current situation. Providing this link is in no way an endorsement of some of the more extreme views of this organisation which seems to believe that it is possible for future human survival on this planet even if we totally destroy the natural environment.
Call of teh Reed Warbler 
`Fire Country

May 2010. Its on again. WA is back into a mining boom, sucking people in from around the world to dig holes and send iron ore to an overheated Chinese economy. Has anyone in government done a long term cost benefit analysis to the people of Australia of this rapid industrialisation?  There seems to be a new McCarthyism directed at anyone who questions the rate of this industrialisation, even though it is being driven by the "evil communists" that the last McCarthyism was directed against! I'm not generally a supporter of increased tax, but if the so called mining super tax slows mining expansion to a more moderate level we could well be better of. The argument that the mining super tax affects us all because superannuation funds are major investors in mining companies, does raise the question, has superannuation turned Australian Capitalism into a virtual communist economic model? At last the question of what population Australia can sustain is on the agenda with Dick Smith joining others to force the government to take the question seriously. 

October 2010 This year has been the driest on record in the South West of WA and we are having to sell off half of our livestock. Scientists have been predicting this for over 30 years that I know of, as a consequence of CO2 emissions , yet Australian governments continue to allow foreign and Australian companies to open new Iron Ore and Coal mines that emit tones of CO2 per job created. We continue to bring in workers from overseas who work FIFO from Perth that has major water problems. The WA government released GM canola into the environment on the basis of scientific advice yet ignore Scientific advice in relation to CO2 emissions. The clever country?

June 2011 text of an email sent to politicians who I thought might be interested, they weren't !

September 2011 The mining boom continues destroying many other Australian industries in its wake. I don't understand how the government can say that we need a mining tax but there is a great future for coal mining in Australia? Mostly foreign owned mining have undue influence over our government and opposition.  At least the Liberal party is open to suggestions, have your say on the following issues:  Food security Tourism and Population.

April 2012 I was invited to speak on Agritourism at the New Rural Industries Australia Conference in Ballarat. Following this I had several interviews on ABC radio, read what I had to say from http://touristradio.com.au/agritourismwa/agritourism_and_the_internet/agritourism_and_the_internet.html .

March 2013  Jeremy Grantham, Co-founder and Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo on why GDP will not keep going up and is not a relevant number anyway.      http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12812

June 2013     Question to our local MP Terry Redman at Donnybrook Balingup Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting

I’m concerned about the future for my children and grandchildren under the quarry Australia policy of all major parties that want to sell of Australian resources to China as fast as possible. We are growing the economy on the back of an unsustainable high CO2 emitting industry that is increasing the population and getting the government into deeper debt to cater for a growing population.

Science has been warning for 30 years that I know of that CO2 emissions were going to cause the SW to dry, this is happening having a devastation effect on agriculture, the only truly sustainable industry.

The largely foreign owned mining industry has been pushing up the dollar with a devastating effect on Australian owned businesses in agriculture , tourism and manufacturing.

Why are governments so keen to bring on new mines that will eventually force down the price of iron ore? Why is the government ignoring the science of climate change and growing the economy with high CO2 emitting jobs?

Answer: Our government is a pro mining government . Sound like the classic there no reason for  it, it's just policy reply.

 

June 2013  The mining boom is winding down as demand for iron ore declines yet our Premier still wants the Chinese to invest in a Oakajee Port and Rail . Doesn't he understand economics 101, if you increase supply price will decline? We are being warned of the need to reduce CO2 emissions yet governments are still trying to grow our economy of high CO2 emitting jobs. At the same time the WA government is getting into debt catering for the rising population. Dick Smith is a voice of reason on this subject, he has  provided copies of HRH Prince Charles's book Harmony to libraries across Australia with the following printed inside the front cover.  

Donated by Dick Smith for our world’s children and future generations. Dick Smith

“Once basic needs for food and shelter are secured, our happiness is fulfilled through five factors. One is our connection with other people – friends and family and the people we work with, Another is activity and exercise. Then there is an appreciating beautiful surroundings and reflecting on such experiences. Another is continued learning, novelty and meeting new challenges and finally, we gain well-being from giving and from being a member of a community” His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in his book, “
Harmony ” – A New Way of Looking at Our World” Page 281

August 2013 Interview on ABC Radio on the subject of Global Free Trade click to listen

August 2013  I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so, see my comments on May 2010.   The WA state government is billions of dollars in  debt providing infrastructure to cater for the population increase brought about by the mining boom and is now cutting down of basic services. Charlie Court would be turning in his grave at how this boom has been managed. He was responsible for stating Iron Ore mining on the basis that companies who wanted to mine had to create communities. The current government has allowed the states resources to be plundered and got itself into debt in the process. You'd expect that of a Labor government not a Liberal government!

May 2015 The Iron Ore price that the experts didn't predict to crash is still causing problems  to WA .  Carl Marx said that a capitalist is a man who will sell you the rope you are going to hang him with. That is exactly what the capitalist countries of the world have done in relation to iron ore with China. China has poured B$ into developing mines and crashed the price. Our system had no ability to resist that so now the resources of our country are being stolen from us. Now the South West Developments Commission has commissioned a report on the future of   SW Food production using the same flawed logic as the growth in iron ore production.

September 2016  WTR's partner station in East Perth, Radio WA 87.6 FM  is now on air, telling the stories of the People and Places of Western Australia

October 2016 WTR has become an Early Adaptor member of Conscious Capitalism Australia    .

December 2016  I used to think the ideas I expressed in this page were out of touch with mainstream thinking, Brexit and the Trump election suggest perhaps not. Not that I think Trump has the answers, trashing the environment to create jobs isn't smart.

September 2017  Dick Smith is providing real leadership in Australia while Kate Raworths book Doughnut Economics is delivering a similar message to on a global level. Sadly Kate points to the fact that Australia is not currently a good  global citizen when it comes to CO2 emission per capita. Dick Smith

October 2017   We recorded this interview    with Peter Strachan from Sustainable Australia about economic and environmental sustainability , the interview is playing on our Radio WA 87.6 FM service in East Perth. The full interview    is also available online and gives a more in depth explanation of  the ideas.

December 2017 I started this page in 2006, at a time that I was quite depressed about the way of the world, and what was happening in Australia. I found it quite therapeutic to get ideas out of my head in this way. It wasn't long before this page ranked highly on Google  if I searched for Global Free Trade, which I found fascinatig, and supported my belief that the internet was more democratic than many so called democratic governments have become. In time this page slipped in the rankling, which didn't surprise me as it is not mobile friendly. But, in the last few months it has found its way to the very top of the search! Is that Goggles algorithm, or a human influence in Google? 
What I don't understand is if the interdependent world that global free trade has created is so
Global Fr  Trade 20171210
effective, why do governments of the world find it necessary to spend so much on defence ? Australia is spending billions of dollars on defence, much of it on imported hardware, for equipment that requires imported fuel to operate. If we get into a global conflict, how are we going to import this fuel? Am I missing something or have the powers that be lost the plot?  Not to mention how we are going to keep moving food ( and diseases) around the world. I believe that we will have to get back to producing all food locally, and only trading in foods that can't be produced in local environments. Current trade in food is just a way to play  labour in one country against that in another.
Janurary 2018  I was given  Growing a Revolution  for Christmas. In it David R. Montgomery,  reveals that it's possible to bring a farm's soil back to life. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution. He cuts through standard debates about conventional and organic farming to show why regenerative agriculture can benefit farmers and the land.
Building on The Hidden Half of Nature, he finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations can sustain the soil microbiome, and thereby a farmer's crops and livelihood. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, he makes the case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems.  
As an organic farmer on Boronia Farm and operator of www.organicfoodwa.net.au I found this a fascinating read, as it addresses the failure of agricultural research that has been driven by companies looking to sell products to farmers, rather that ways to get better production and environmental outcomes.  Montgomery observes how earlier civilisations have collapsed when they have destroyed their soils, we are currently on a path to do that globally, but it is not too late to change.
Funny how things are coming together, Glenn Nicholas from www.om4.com.au  sent me a link to the following video by Dr. Gary Fettke on how food advice has been corrupted by vested interests which is leading to declining public health and escalating medical costs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctkvriSwX8I  . Dr. Gary Fettke talks about how the Seventh Day Adventist Church has used its vegetarian addenda to influence food recommendations, and uses its untaxed trading profits to push its point of view. This includes the use as the same class of radio licences as Western Tourist Radio and Radio WA use.  People listening to 87.6 FM in Perth and the South West are likely to hear either our stations or the church!  
February 2018  Attended HEALTHY SOILS, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES event in Fremantle organised by Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance  and ECU . Fantastic day with speakers including Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler. Perhaps the is hope for humanity.
September 2018  Dick Smith sums up how Australia has been conned by bad global players, and our government seems unable to react. It appears that by signing up to free trade agreements our government has signed our sovereignty over to foreign companies. Check out the Videos on Dick's Website :  https://www.dicksmithfairgo.com.au/
 



November 2019 Queensland and NSW in Drought and fires, yet our government still thinks it is a good idea to open new coal mines. As Dick Smith said in my Radio WA Conversation    with him, there might have to be a crash to wake us up. Or can we use the internet to generate a more intelligent ideas, like Soils for Life and my Conversation with Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery
The WA government knows about the declining rainfall and runoff into dams, yet continues to encourage more people to come to this state.
At the same time our government is spending $B on imported defence hardware, while allowing China to buy Australian land and businesses, I don't get it, seems like a sell out to me. The Communists are running rings around the Capitalists, scary shit.

March 2020 The Corona Virus points to the fragility of global free trade thinking. Why don't we learn from history? Pandemics are as predictable as droughts, they will always happen, yet be have created a system that is not resilient.
I had been due to give a 15 minute presentation at the Food for Thought Festival in Albany, but sadly it was postponed due to the virus, the message is more important than ever.  Listen to how Radio WA and WTR was prompting the Festival      
Australia has sent most of its manufacturing off shore, now we have no capacity to produce products we need.
Corona Virus might turn into a pandemic or it might not, but surely this is a message that we need to be more resilient with manufacturing in Australia.
If a nasty case of the flu can cause so much turmoil to the economy, what what effect will a major conflict have? Perhaps we should cancel the submarine order and use the funds to develop renewable energy projects. They are likely to be of more benefit to the Australian population in the future than a heap of overpriced imported defence hardware, which if it is ever used will likely tip the environment of the planet over the edge, if we haven't done so already.

Later in March 2020.  Australia is now in lockdown as a result of COVID 19 . Our radio service exists to promote tourism, but it has to be said that the current global crisis is largely a product of international tourism, both through aviation and cruse ships. As I wrote back in 2006, Global Free Trade is spreading pests and diseases around the world like never before, is it worth it?  Surely this will cause a rethink of values. Before this we had many human health problems with cancers, obesity and diabetes all placing a burden on the health system. Arguably theses are all a product of our declining food nutrition and advertising causing people to make bad eating choices.  I'm proud to be involved with  Certified Organic Biodynamic Western Australia an organisation created to advocate for organic food production systems in WA.

18 April 2020  Governments around the world are saying that the current crisis could not be predicted. Not true,  as this BBC program Contagion produced in 2018 and  recently played on SBS TV in Australia demonstrates. It is just that governments have been in denial in the same way they have about the science of climate change. This is what happens when the world is run by marketers who deal in perceptions not facts. Our PM is a marketer, the "where the bloody hell are you" man from Tourism Australia. I'm no fan of Scomo, but will give him credit for listening to our medical scientists and activating a lock down of our boarders relatively early. He had been ignoring climate scientists because he argued to act might increase the price of electricity, yet has acted on the advice of medical scientist and is all but destroying the economy, I think he has done the right thing. I had hoped that he might have learned that he should listen to scientists, but already he is talking about economic growth again, and ignoring climate scientists. Talk of getting back to "normal" again is a worry. The old normal is what created this mess. The idea of returning to having one million people propped up in the sky by burning fossil fuel simply to support the aviation industry and international hotels does not make sense. McDonalds tourism is not a clean industry. Why does our government spend millions of dollars on tourism promotion to encourage people to come here then spend billions of dollars on boarder protection to keep them out?? Seems like government interference in the free market to me. I think that my conversation with Dick Smith in which he predicted that we would have to have a crash to  change direction is coming true : .  We seem to think that everything should be cheap. Cheap airfares are sending airlines (Virgin) broke and they are looking to government to prop them up. I object to tax payer funds being used for this.  Like with food.  Down Down of price is Down Down on quality and Down Down on the environment. ( quote borrowed from Di Haggerty, in my Community Radio documentary, "Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities" )   Basic economics, if something is cheap we don't value it. I'm old enough to remember when we said if something was cheap, it was cheap and nasty!

15 May 2020.
Internal travel restrictions within WA are to be relaxed from Monday, giving West Australians an opportunity to explore our state again. I think, (and hope) the era of cheap airfares is over. The planet can't  sustain so much aviation activity. I suspect that businesses trave will plummet as businesses have found that they can work much more economically vie electronic conferencing. Also much businesses travel was a form of fringe benefit as it provided frequent flyer points to those travelling, that cold be used for private travel. With the high value businesses travel removed the overall fairs will have to rise. When our international boarders are reopened there will have to be much stricter quarantine checks on all travellers.  We have strict quarantine restrictions on plants and animals coming into Australia, for good reason, absence of many diseases is a competitive advantage that we do have. The airline industry and international hotels will complain that personal quarantine will hinder international tourism, but that is nothing compared to the damage that lax quarantine has done through COVID 19.  The flow on benefit of tigher quarantine should be a greatly reduced annual flu season!  So there should be no need for compulsory flu vaccinations in many occupations. Remember before the flu vacancies less people suffered from the flu? The power of the pharmaceutical industry over government. If we ate food produced the  way god or evolution intended, rather that food like material  created by multinational companies to generate best return to shareholders, we would all have better immune systems, and be more resistant to diseases.

Will COVID 19 prompt the changes required to move towards a more sustainable future, or will humanity hurtle towards system collapse? Every other civilisation has collapsed, this one will at some time, but if we are smart, that could be many generations away, if not it could be wthin a generation. We must learn from history, COVID 19 shows that nature is still in charge.

July 2020 The renewed lockdown in Victoria, is a reminder of how we can't take anything for granted. Not to mention how our government suddenly thinks we need to spend $B270 to defend us from our major trading partner, which we are still  supplying vast amounts of iron or, gas and coal to. No wonder we have mental health issues with a totally schizophrenic government. On a positive note I  have just finished reading Victor Steffensen's "Fire Country", which connects a lot of the dots in how the Australian landscape should be managed. Given the cost of this summers fire's, it would have been much more economic to employ indigenous fire managers, giving these people a job and rebuilding their self esteem. A much better way to "close the gap" than some of the other expensive schemes.  Victors Living Knowledge Place website connects so many dots in terms of managing the eco systems sustainable. A world run by city based accountants will lead to the downfall of our civilisation.

28 September 2020 The ABC is so important to Australian democracy because it discussed subjects that the commercials ignore . Tonight's Australian Story, titled  Breaking New Ground about Charles Massy's analysis of industrial Agriculture and the hope for Regenerative agriculture. I told Charlie's story on Community Radio 2 years ago in a documentary titled Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities . Regenerative media in action!

October 2020  The last line of the Lions Code of Ethics states To be Careful with my criticism and liberal with my praise; to build up and not destroy. It is good advice which I try to live by, but the latest federal budget suggests that the old men running Australia don't understand that we cant get back to the old normal that created this mess. They deserve congratulation for almost eradicating Covid 19 from Australia, but framing the budget around the assumption of a vaccine is not good policy. There is always risks with vaccines, even after years of testing, rushing this one could create a greater problem than the disease itself. Forcing everyone to take a dubious vaccine so that a hand full of the wealthiest of the global population can indulge in international travel, without the need for human quarantine  is not good policy. Hopefully we will be able to return to free travel within Australia, but we should keep quarantine for international travel. We have an advantage in being an island, why squander it?

January 2021 Australia has demonstrated that with international quarantine we can keep Covid 19 out. With thousands dying around the world and millions suffering from long term consequences of this pandemic is it morally right for Australians to be getting vaccinated when others in the world are at greater risk?  From a more selfish point of view, why risk a vaccine with has not had long term testing on a population if it it not really necessary. The only reason to do it is to save the international airlines and international hotels. When will we realise that there is no going back to the old normal that created the problem.

February 2021
The Quarantine system created in a hurry has some limitations with occasional escapes causing lockdowns. Perhaps we should be using remote immigration detention centres, owned by the  federal government  not city hotels. With the rapid evolution of the virus, international quarantine is likely to have to become the new normal. There is talk about getting back to the old normal to save the tourism industry. I've heard both Nola Marino our federal Liberal member and Alannah MacTiernan state Labor MP quote that tourism is a net cost Australia $B40 per year. After an adjustment we could be better off. That is not to say there can be no international travel, just that quarantine and or health testing will be needed. There is talk about this being a one in 100 year event, but just because it has been 100 years since the last pandemic that is not to say it will be 100 years before the next one. In fact with human populations growing, it is likely that there will be another before 100 years. Could our current economic system survive another, or should we create a new economic system? 

Barry Green, Managing Director, Western Tourist Radio.

 
Relavent Websites
Free Trade & Globalization .  visit this site for a great analysis of global issues
Global Trade Watch  Local alternatives to the global economy are sprouting all over the world. In Australia, one of the most popular alternatives is the Farmers Market where local farmers sell their produce direct to consumers. About 75 farmers' markets have emerged in the last few years.
Corporate Watch Australia is a project of Global Trade Watch. Corporate Watch Australia monitors the social and environmental impacts of Australian corporations operating here and abroad, as well as international corporations operating in Australia
Fairshare International  

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