George Monbiot on trade

Another one that’s not going to work out well:

So the existential question the chicken issue raises is this: why do we want more trade? What is it for? The old promise was that trade led to prosperity. But what if we have enough already? What if enhanced global trade, far from promoting wellbeing, now undermines it?

To trade fundamentalists, rainforests and ancient woodlands, coral reefs and wild rivers, local markets and lively communities, civic life and public space are nothing but unrealised opportunities for development. Where we see the presence of beauty, tranquillity and wonder, they see the absence of palm oil plantations and soybean deserts, container ports and mega-dams, shopping malls and 12-lane highways. For them, there is no point of arrival, just an endless escalation of transit.

Nowhere is a place in its own right; everywhere is a resource waiting to be exploited. No one is a person in their own right; everyone is a worker, consumer or debtor whose potential for profit generation has yet to be realised. Satiety, wellbeing, peace: these are antithetical to globalised growth, which demands constant erasure and replacement. If you are happy, you are an impediment to trade. Your self-possession must be extinguished.

So this is where the chickens come home to roost. Enhanced global trade now threatens our health, our sovereignty, our democracy. Once it made us rich. Today it impoverishes us.

Here’s the thing about the free part of free trade.

Those who wish to take part in it may do so. Those who do not wish to have no need to. My ability to purchase, if I so wish, chlorinated chicken is an increase in my freedom, as is also the existence of that possibility and my decision not to do so. The same is true for you as well. Sure, it might be a trivial freedom, one of no great or even particular value, but it is about liberty all the same.

The argument about the free part of free trade therefore really is, well, by what right do you restrict my freedom to do so?

28 comments on “George Monbiot on trade

  1. There is lots of things you are not allowed ed to buy
    e.g. machine guns, amphetamines, elephant tusks,plutonium, forbidden literature etc.
    Somebody will surely restrict your freedom

  2. It’s going to be interesting if they demand that all meals made with chlorinated chicken be labelled so the consumer can see what they are eating.

    Something they resist when you demand the same for halal chicken.

  3. “… by what right do you restrict my freedom to do so?”

    Why, by an appeal to “the greater good”, of course! Motto of the Greens.

    Such an amiable-sounding phrase, until one realises that deciding what is good is necessarily subjective – necessarily because no one can comprehend the vast complexities involved in an objective decision.

    The right arrogated to himself by Mr Monbiot, consciously or otherwise, consists in the certainty that he is superior to you and knows what is best. He is an authoritarian, and we all know how rule by authoritarians ends up.

    In plain language, even though he thinks he is on the side of the angels, he is a bastard and potentially a dangerous one at that.

  4. I’m trying to work out what a “soybean desert” is. Having seen a couple, I’ve been distinctly under the impression a desert was an area with low rainfall & sparse vegetation. And that soybean was a plant. Maybe I’ve been mislead & it’s some sort of edible mineral. Anyone know?

  5. I thought free trade lead to each country specializing and reduced the footprint of any industry.

    Thereby allowing spaces to be used for wonder and beauty.

  6. He writes well though. This is positively Dickensian::

    “No one is a person in their own right; everyone is a worker, consumer or debtor whose potential for profit generation has yet to be realised,”

    said Ebeneezer to Jacob.

  7. The old promise was that trade led to prosperity. But what if I and everyone in my social circle has enough already?

    I have edited his quote to more closely reflect his motives.

  8. Rob–Exactly so. Indeed –sans the “Dickensian” prose ( Sandra Dickenson possibly)–the entire article can be summed up as—

    “I and my well-off, middle-class, cultural marxist, London Bubble scum friends have what we want.

    Who gives a shite about what the rest of you want?

    Not ME”– George Moonblot 2017.

  9. In this particular case the issue is that if quality standards deviate too fast from the the EU, they’ll demand full border checks between Eire and N.I.
    We might well believe that freedom to eat chlorinated isn’t worth the candle if it means we’re forced to build a border fence across the country just to do that.

  10. Martin Audley–Build a border fence? To stop a massive outbreak of chlorinated chicken smuggling? Is that the best Remainiacs can manage nowadays?

  11. “..it means we’re forced to build a border fence across the country just to do that.”
    Er…along the frontier of a country. Eire being a separate country due to a bit of unpleasantness, early last century. And surely, it’d be the republic building the fence to keep the fowl chlorination out, not the UK to keep it in. So who gives a f**k what the Paddies do on their own turf?

  12. @bis,

    More accurately, it’s down to a bit of unpleasantness for around 5 centuries prior to that.

    I know one who is ecstatic that Britian is now going to experience rule by Irish protestants.

  13. All this fuss about chlorinating chicken. Yet the state of chicken hygeine in the UK is deplorable. It’s so bad with supermarket chicken that you have to open a packet of chicken pieces well before the Use By date to make sure that it hasn’t gone off.

  14. You are just being silly Biggie. So far “rule by Irish Protestants “hasn’t stopped May carrying on with her cultural Marxist/tinpot police state agenda one jot so it seems.

    The DUP doesn’t want Corbyn and thus they have done–and likely will do– little to rein-in the Fish Faced Cow.

  15. An excellent post by the Inimitable Steve (sadly seems to be absent at the minute) on the Greens made the similar point to Thomas Fuller’s brilliant contribution here:

    ‘The right arrogated to himself by Mr Monbiot, consciously or otherwise, consists in the certainty that he is superior to you and knows what is best. He is an authoritarian, and we all know how rule by authoritarians ends up.

    In plain language, even though he thinks he is on the side of the angels, he is a bastard and potentially a dangerous one at that.’

    It is exactly the hypothesis posited by Hayek in the Road to serfdom – the only quibble I have with the post is the idea that Monbiot is potentially a dangerous bastard. He is a clear and present danger to everyone in the UK, and has been for many years.

  16. So the existential question the chicken issue raises is this: why do we want more trade? What is it for? The old promise was that trade led to prosperity. But what if we have enough already?

    Translation: I’m a fat old cunt who’s made his pile. Fuck everyone else, now I want to wallow in my own virtue and I don’t care how that might harm anyone else.

    As with any Lefty, with George it always comes down to being All About George.

  17. “Yet the state of chicken hygeine in the UK is deplorable. ”
    The dogs, when I had dogs, were always keen on chicken. There’s a butchers in Finsbury Park, supplies a lot of the restaurant trade, Asian* run, had a pretty keen offer on chicken legs. Bought around 20lb of them, chucked them in the oven to roast & freeze. No seasoning, nothing. Dogs flatly refused to eat them. And these were collie-cross mongrels. They’d eat anything. WTF? Condemned stuff with the dye bleached off? Dogs would detect that where a human wouldn’t. Certainly encouraged a suspicion of chicken in general. And anything sold in Asian* establishments.

    *It’s a given we’re not talking Chinese, Japanese or Tibetan here.

  18. “I know one who is ecstatic that Britian is now going to experience rule by Irish protestants.”

    Funny how the ethnic cleansing by intimidation of the Protestant middle class out of the South after Partition never gets a mention on anyone’s grievance list.

  19. > they see the absence of palm oil plantations

    From here:-

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/04/palm-oil-biofuels-meps-eu-transport-deforestation-zsl-greenpeace-golden-agri-resources-oxfam

    MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to ban biofuels made from vegetable oils including palm oil by 2020, to prevent the EU’s renewable transport targets from inadvertently contributing to deforestation.

    So it’s partly the fault of zealots like George that there is so much demand for such things in the first place. He really is an odious shit isn’t he?

  20. So am I to understand that now I must add to my list of things the British Can’t Do Right the processing and storage of chicken? Given that Brits can’t make a proper ice cube or scramble eggs, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am.

  21. MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to ban biofuels made from vegetable oils including palm oil by 2020, to prevent the EU’s renewable transport targets from inadvertently contributing to deforestation.

    I bet 95% of those virtue signalling thick cunts voted in favour of these biofuels a decade or so ago, along with promoting diesel cars.

    No one in public life is capable of or willing to look more than five minutes into the future to see the consequences of what they demand.

  22. So the existential question the chicken issue raises is this:

    Did Camus or Sartre eat more chickens?

  23. So the Great British Public don’t want to eat chicken thats been washed in chlorinated water at some point in its preparation, but are quite happy to dive virtually naked into a chlorinated swimming pool…………….

  24. Is that what “chlorinated” means in this sense? From the hysteria I thought it meant they’d been injected or force-fed the stuff.

  25. I suspect that the “chlorinated” peg is just something to hang all US chickens on.
    The ASI report states that the price is 79% of what we pay.
    Tesco sell bog standard chicken for around £2/kg, there is no way they are spending 42p/kg on bleach.
    US chickens are probably raised in a manner which reduces the costs of production by 20%+
    (diet of animal proteins and growth hormones, farmed battery style).

  26. Having just googled broiler farming in the US, it appears that US best practice doesn’t differ significantly from EU (so no hormones etc) and stocking density appears similar.

    The 42p/kg extra that the customer pays appears simply to be vested interest subsidy.

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