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View Diary: If you like quinoa, asparagus, or free trade, read this. (207 comments)

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    •  And those who romanticize (37+ / 0-)

      the "noble" farmers who used to operate outside a capitalist market rarely want to live in the poverty that those farmers previously inhabited.  

      I think of Marx who talked about how capitalism uprooted former social relationships.  Descriptvely, he was extremely insightful about that aspect of capitalism.  These farmers are being pulled into a world market.  Their children may go to college.  Think about that.  Parents who may be illiterate or semi-literate sending chidren to college.    

      Yet, there also is damage.   I have long rejected the Rouseauian "noble savage" romanticism that some on the left engage in at times.    (not sure if Rouseauian is a word, but you know what I mean)

      I don't think there are easy answers.  

      "Free trade" has been bad for many American industrial workers.  On the other hand, the standard of living of many Chinese and others has increased.  Since we live in nation-states, there are at least political reasons to favor ones own citizens.  

      Other than the Columbian treaty, opposition to which was partially based on murders of union memebrs in Columbia, most opposition is based on protecting American workers.

      I thought Stiglitz's book, Globalization and its Discontents, was good.  Read several years ago.  

      Sometimes these treaties hurt workers in both nations, and enrich investors in both nations.

      It would be interesting to look at the long-term efect of NAFTA after 20 years or so.

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      by TomP on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:52:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it would have been (7+ / 0-)

        much better for all these countries to be more protectionist, focusing on import substitution and trading knowledge rather than products.  

        Going into a global economy before the individual economies have achieved parity on their own is basically the disaster we are seeing today.  Our own economy wasn't healthy; full of rich greedy bastards that care more about their bank accounts than they do for the well-being of people and our planet, they've simply been exporting their sickness and spreading it around the globe.

        Greed is contagious.

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:17:23 AM PST

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        •  Maybe so. (7+ / 0-)

          But the world is as it is.  

          The sugar trade, and teh enslavement of Africans, was an early example of a global economy, so it has been around longer than most nationstates.  Of course, this version reaches its tentacles into almost every place.

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          by TomP on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:41:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good point. nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP

            "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

            by La Gitane on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:25:53 PM PST

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            •  1 Mostly Peru's problem. 2. Fair Trade Certific'n? (5+ / 0-)

              1. The basic problem here is that more money is flowing into Peru, where there are a lot of poor people, and Peruvian law does not ensure (a) that the money is divided equitably, and (b) that the desire for money is not allowed to trample the Peruvian environment.

              Ordinarily more money going to a place where there are a lot of poor people should be considered a good thing. If there are problems distributing the money, the solution is probably not to cut off the flow of money, at least not long-term. The solution is probably to address the distribution problems. That's a political problem. Peru is, more or less, a democracy. What are the Peruvian farmers doing politically?

              2. In your local grocery you can buy coffee that is Fair Trade Certified and coffee that isn't. You can buy coffee that's USDA certified organic, or Rain Forest Certified sustainable, or coffee that isn't. You can buy hardwood floors for your house that are certified sustainable by the Forest Standards Council (or something like that; I know the initials are FSC), or floors that aren't. Seems like there's an opportunity here for some kind of similar certification for quinoa and asparagus, so consumers could ensure the farmer is getting fairly paid, and the environment is being respected. This is probably not an adequate substitute for government regulation (Peru or USA), but it has the advantage of not having to wait for government action that may never come.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:44:55 PM PST

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          •  'The world (3+ / 0-)

            as we find it' said Axelrod. What utter bs. This world is being created and is not inevitable. Through out history the biggest assholes always proclaimed their world order was inevitable that's part of their con. nothing is inevitable especially when it doesn't pay and it's wrecking the world. As we find it doesn't mean this so called inevitable globalized piracy can't fall or fail. It is a fail for both humans and the planet. People can and do crawl out from the wreckage created by the would be rulers of the world. The first step is not believing their apocalyptic bs about the end of the world as we know it. Good riddance if  global dominance by these psycho globalizing free trade/market fundies go down.    

        •  With all respect, (0+ / 0-)

          import-substitution has been tried, in India (1947-1991 or so). It didn't work.

        •  Trading knowledge, but you can't trade climate (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure what parity means in this context, but I suspect a lot of the world will never catch up to resource and water rich regions (northern California, for example). What dynamic was going to lift any Peruvian farmers out of poverty? Certainly not the internal Peruvian market.

      •  Think people globally (6+ / 0-)

        were sold a bill of goods by the excellent salesman Big Dog. I remember his bs about how all boats will rise in this inevitable NWO. NAFTA bit me in the ass right away.  Put me out of  business as an artisan. It also did not help the artisans of say South America, Tunisia or Mexico or anywhere globally, the ones who my dealers and galleries used to make more profit with

        . Their beautiful skilled handiwork was cheaper then any one here could produce and not starve and it did not get the global artists a better standard of living. The Chinese workers may be better off then they we're but they don't have those suicide nets for nothing. Standards of living do not always measure the plight of workers the peons that actually grow and make things. I think we're seeing the effects of NAFTA right now. Free trade the other side of the free market coin.    

        I buy some products not grown in the US like coffee or chocolate, but only Fair Trade. Cost''s a little more in some cases often it's less expensive then the big name brands. I've also seen fair trade and domestically grown quinoa in bulk at my co-op.    

    •  We could pressure quinoa importers (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, DawnN, Jakkalbessie, NYFM, joynow

      to send some portion of revenues back to resubsidize local farmers. That's a corporate-type solution which would potentially help farmers, although it's definitely not a great long term strategy. Still, given that many who buy quinoa probably tend to be more thoughtful about these things, like myself, we ought to be able to demand this from the companies selling quinoa now.

      It's not my ideal solution. That's repealing free trade agreements. But it's a possibility, maybe?

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:58:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Probably nothing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      because (and I'm just guessing here, although a little quick googling seems to confirm it) the quinoa market is probably already controlled by ADM, Cargill, and Bunge (bigger outside the US, but here, too).

      Most of the income probably goes to them already, some of the rest goes to big landowners, and a little trickles down to tenant farmers or small-holders.

      It's doubtful they make more now than if they were selling only into local markets.

      In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

      by badger on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:21:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They lose their jobs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lonely Texan, Adam B

      and maybe starve. Or enter the drug trade. But we'll feel good about not eating quinoa.

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