Tuesday, December 13, 2005

WTO Meeting, US Subsidies & Efficiency

Just a quick post, as I’m in the middle of exam madness, but wanted to point out that the WTO talks just started in Hong Kong. A group in our program just did a presentation on how the WTO might go about creating a sustainable vision and implementing an action plan to move towards that vision – it was a very impressive and informative project, and it will be very interesting to see if the WTO comes through this ministerial meeting – the vast majority of the world’s poor countries are apparently finally beginning to stand in solidarity against the FIPS (Five Interested Parties – the US,EU, Brazil, India, and Australia), and the closed-door decisions they make that create gross imbalances in subsidy and dumping rules.

This video clip gives a very brief, clear picture of one huge element of the current global trade model that has disastrous effects in terms of social and ecological sustainability…

Warning: if you are like me, and believe that free markets can be hugely effective in meeting peoples needs (if the whole system is considered) than you will probably find this video disturbing, maybe even infuriating, but hopefully also insightful.

Cotton Farmer Subsidies Video

…(also – keep an eye on that slippery word “efficient” – how ‘efficient’ is it for us tax-payers to subsidize farmers so that trade undermines Africans’ ability to meet their needs, so we tax-payers can then turn around and pay for aid money to try to ‘help’ them – usually in a way that further undermines their ability to meet their own needs – a vicious positive feedback loop, and we know from studying systems that positive feedback loops inevitably at some point cross a threshold if they are not checked or balanced. The results are usually very fast, dramatic and unpredictable)

It's not all bad though - when I have some time I'll get some info up from that group's presentation on how the WTO might look in a sustainable society.

I’m finishing up exams this week, and have a few days of down-time here in Karlskrona, so I hope to catch up on a bunch of posts that I’ve been meaning to get to. Hope everyone’s getting stoked for the holidays – I will be missing you all – Stay going…