08 February 2009

On Protectionism, Globalism and Localism

"Protectionist!" cry the free traders - as they count their corporate welfare cheques.

"Nay, nay!," they scream in headlines from their favourite rags.

"The last thing the world needs in this time of economic 'crisis' is the erection of trade barriers.1 Only globalization can save the day."

So advise those who got us into this mess in the first place. (There are many more candidates, including the Wee Three, but oblivious economists such as those discussed in that Newshour interview make a good start.)

True, protectionism gone to the extreme benefits few and impedes the ability to distribute social justice. But so does globalism and "free" trade. Both philosophies, exercised in their purist forms, will deliver similar results: the few benefiting at the expense of the many.

We need elements of both globalism and localism, the latter focused on developing and sustaining healthy local economies, including food production.

1 From the bottom of the poverty well looking up, I can report that there's not a whole lot of difference between this "crisis" and the one which Daphne and I, and far too many others, have faced every day for years.

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