Med COIN-Bloggen kommenteres løbende på dagsaktuelle emner. Vi vil søge at præge debatten, sådan at de skjulte konsekvenser ved nye former for indgreb, afgifter, skatter, forbud bliver gjort mere synlige.
We already know that costly foreign-aid schemes don’t do much good--and if you need a refresher course on that grim subject, read the new book “Dead Aid” by Zambian native Dambisa Moyo. The alternative to aid is trade, which has the effect of strengthening economies for both consumers and producers. People who live in poverty are far more likely to deplete natural resources, if only because they feel a deeper sense of desperation. For a person whose family is hungry, an acre of rainforest is a logging opportunity. For a person whose material position is more secure, an acre of rainforest may well be something to preserve and protect. Because of this, tying developing countries to the global economy, and allowing them access to wealthy markets in North America, Europe, and Japan, is a key to long-term environmental sustainability. -- Dean Kleckner
See also www.eco-imperialism.com
The [African] continent’s problems are complex. They include everything from rotten political leadership to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The devastating inability to produce enough food, however, lies at the heart of the crisis. The solution isn’t to keep out promising agricultural technologies, even though this is precisely what a lot of non-governmental organizations now demand. Scandalously, many of them encourage African nations to turn away from proven farming practices in favor of “indigenous” techniques (meaning they are primitive). “In effect, rich outsiders are telling African farmers it will be just as well for them to remain poor,” writes [Robert] Paarlberg. The European Union should take a special interest in Africa’s problems for reasons of geographic proximity and colonial history. Yet the EU merely makes matters worse. Its own rejection of agricultural biotechnology has compelled many African countries to do the same. -- Dean Kleckner.
Obama’s initial cabinet nominations, involving economic policy and national security, demonstrated a healthy commitment to centrism and even bipartisanship. Then the president-elect seemed to lurch to the left with the so-called ‘Green Team’, whose members include Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, Lisa Jackson as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Carol Browner and Nancy Sutley as top White House advisors.
Ronald Reagan used to joke that the most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Many farmers worry that the Green Team’s vision of “helping” agriculture includes burdensome regulations and sky-high gas and energy prices. As we confront the global recession and food crisis, farmers and consumers alike will need policies that boost productivity rather than depress it. -- Dean Kleckner
There’s a market in the United States for so-called organic food, and if certain farmers want to meet it through old-fashioned practices, then by all means they should go right ahead. That’s their choice. - But let’s not kid ourselves: “Organic” farming is inefficient and hard to square with the demands of modern life. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, has estimated that if the world were to switch to “organic” farming, the fall in food production would cost the lives of 2 billion people. - That’s a lot of organic organisms. Read more in Organic Original by Dean Kleckner.
In 1948, the United States and 22 other countries concluded a treaty that cut 45,000 separate tariffs. The benefits of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, as it was called, became so obvious that subsequent pacts liberalized trade even further and included a growing number of countries. The Uruguay round, which finished in 1994, involved 123 nations. It also marked the metamorphosis of GATT into the World Trade Organization. Today, the WTO administers trade rules and settles disputes between countries.
Like a lot of 60-year-olds, the international-trading system can look back and smile at its many accomplishments. Since the birth of GATT/WTO, world trade has increased by a factor of 27--an incredible achievement that has built global wealth, expanded consumer choice, and created jobs just about everywhere this side of North Korea.... - Read more in - Celebrating the Gift that Keeps on Giving by Dean Kleckner.
Whatever the political motive, protectionism is an unhealthy impulse because trade is good for our economy. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our [american] borders. Last year, the total value of U.S. exports to them reached $1.4 trillion, a figure that represents 11 percent of our entire economy. Our president should do everything in his or her power not only to preserve these levels of international engagement, but to build upon them. How are Americans supposed to do this if our leaders call for a “trade timeout” or whine about “unfair” policies? Don’t they realize that the same “walls” that are built to keep foreign goods out will keep America’s goods in? The notion that our trade policies have been “a complete disaster” is just plain wrong. A recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that trade liberalization in the last half century enriches the average American household by $9,000 per year. This is a triumph, not a tragedy.
More in A Rhetorical Caucus Trade War by Dean Kleckner.
I know all about subsidies. For years, I took them myself for my corn and soybean farm. I didn’t really enjoy it, but they were available and I rationalized my participation: Other industries received payments and tax breaks -- why shouldn’t I? In addition, I spent 14 years as the head of the American Farm Bureau, the leading farmers’ lobby and a prime player in the creation of the subsidy system.
In the 1990s, however, a trip to New Zealand made me realize that eliminating subsidies was not just a free-market fantasy, but rather a policy that could work in an advanced industrial nation. New Zealanders had stopped subsidizing their farmers, cold turkey, in 1984. The transition was controversial and not without its rough spots, yet it succeeded. On that visit and several later ones, I never met a farmer who wanted to go back to subsidies.
Dean Kleckner in Reverse Course
I dagens engelsk-sprogede klumme skriver Dean Kleckner, der er landmand i Iowa om top-politikeres mangel på karakter og viljestyrke, når det gælder om at konfrontere den frygtskabelse, som ikke mindst miljøbevægelsen har skabt, når det gælder gen-modificerede afgrøder.
Kleckner minder om, at amerikanere på dette tidspunkt har spist billioner [eng. "trillions"] af fødevarer baseret på sådanne afgrøder. Alligevel siger flere af præsidentkanditaterne enten, at de vil mærke sådanne varer, eller de undviger at svare på spørgsmålet. Ifølge det amerikanske landbrugsministerium og Kleckner er ikke mindre end 80 procent af den korn der dyrkes i USA alligvel genetisk modificeret.
Hvis man skal overbevise sine venstreorienterede venner fortæller Kleckener i øvrigt også en historie, der peger i retning af hvor gavnlig "GMO'er" er for lande, hvor der er fattigdom eller hvor man står overfor særlige udfordringer, hvad angår klima og/eller jordforhold. - Læs Dean Kleckner: Labeling Heroes.
Oversigt over udviklingen i - Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.
So far, Sweden hasn’t planted a single acre of biotech crops. Its farmers have been so spooked about a potential negative reaction from misinformed consumers that they even adopted a voluntary moratorium against GM crops a decade ago.
Last year, however, they thought better of their ban. Livestock farmers began to accept a small amount of imported GM feed because it made economic sense. They still aren’t growing their own GM crops, but it’s only a matter of time.
When it happens, will the rest of the world have passed the three-billion-acre milestone --- or the five-billion-acre milestone? It’s impossible to say--except to note that our biotech future is arriving much faster than anticipated.
- Det skriver Dean Kleckner i Trillions Served.
Læs også Forandringsfrygt
- samt også denne kommentar i 180grader.dk af Katrine Basbøll om Atomkraft. På det område er Sverige et forgangsland.
I recently came across an interview with best-selling author Michael Crichton, posted on a website called The Daily Ablution. Unlike Lovecraft and King, Crichton doesn’t specialize in the horror genre, though his books are certainly full of frights. This is the guy, after all, who gave us “Jurassic Park” and “State of Fear.”
One of the questions focused on genetically-modified foods. What does Crichton think of them? I loved his answer so much that I’d like to reprint it here in full:
"Most of the people I know who are anxious about GM say that their concerns lie with the fact that the technology is of unproven safety. They share their worries with like-minded people by use of their cell phones. When I remind them that cell phones are a technology of unproven safety, and that the construction of all these wireless networks around the world and in our houses is a development of unproven safety, they just shrug. They don’t care. Even though most of them are old enough to remember the false fears about cancer and electromagnetic radiation. You’d think that fear could be easily reawakened in them, but no.
“From this I conclude fears are a matter of fashion. Worries are like clothing styles, they come and go, rise and fall, based on what the worry fashion leaders tell the herd of independent minds to fear this year. GM is fashionable to fear. But that will change".
- Det skriver Dean Kleckner i dagens kommentar - Fashionable Fear.
[Overskriften er naturligvis inspireret af Huey Lewis & The News ].