Home > Dollars & Sense, Global > You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

This is perhaps the clearest example of neo-liberalism forcing itself on nations that cannot resist the influence of western corporatism – even when it places people at risk from unsafe products,

.

Full Story

.

Whilst WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said that Samoa’s enytry into the WTO would  “enable Samoa to participate more fully in the global economy and will provide the country with a predictable and stable basis for growth and development” – Otago Medical School Associate Professor, Nick Wilson,  was less than enthusiastic,

From a public health perspective the decision to allow turkey tails … will fuel the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are hitting Pacific Island nations.

Mean, a spokesperson for our Trade Minister, Tim Groser, supported lifting the ban.

Trade bans on selected items are unlikely to be effective in addressing obesity and health issues.”

Really?! So if a government allows an unhealthy product to be put on their supermarket shelves; and is then consumed by members of the public – Tim Groser is saying that’s ok?

That sounds like a fairly good rationale for legalising and selling heroin.

After all, it could easily be said that banning heroin is   “unlikely to be effective in addressing …health issues.”

Just what the South Pacific needs: more unhealthy food by-products distributed and sold cheaply, and which will ultimately result in yet more Pacifica peoples dying from obesity-related diseases.

Are we in the West proud of  ourselves, yet?

The greatest irony is that, in the 1970s,  New Zealand fought a diplomatic war against the French to stop atomic weapons-testing in the South Pacific, because of fears that radiation would harm the environment and ourselves.

What is even more obscene is that US corporate interests are quite open in their campaign to market unhealthy, destructive foods to low-income, under-developed societies,

The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council welcomed the end on the ban, telling Bloomberg that it was the “consumers’ right to determine what foods they wish to consume, not the government’s.

Under the guise of “free choice”, corporate interests will peddle their cheap, toxic, foodstuffs to Pacifican people – and will reap profits, whilst local governments pick up the social costs of dealing with diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity-related diseases.

Surely by now, we in the West must be revelling in pride at this accomplishment.

This is the raw, naked face of unfettered free market capitalism that is not bound by morality, nor concerns for human welfare. This is profit-making without due regard to consequences.

And this time, the blood of Pacificans are on our hands as well; “Fiji banned mutton flap imports in 2000 and New Zealand responded by threatening to refer the issue to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).   New Zealand later withdrew plans to approach the WTO and the ban still stands (as of March 2009)”,

.

Full Story

.

I wonder how we might feel if another nation exported unhealthy products into our country – perhaps targetted at our young people – and we were powerless to stop it?

How would we feel, for example, if all restrictions on alcohol and tobacco products had to be removed at WTO insistence – because companies that manufactured those products were unhappy that their profits were being undermined?

We’d be pretty pissed, I’d guess.

But it’s ok if we do it to another country; to our neighbours in the Pacific?

WTO critics claim the Washington based International Food and Beverage Alliance, formed by Kraft, Coca-Cola and General Mills, is behind the pressure to end food type bans.

“This is not true,” spokeswoman Jane Reid said.

“(The Alliance) has had no involvement whatsoever in this issue.”

Yeah, right.

It is high time that New Zealand led by example and halted the sale of unhealthy meat by-products to our Pacific neighbours. Otherwise we are practically conducting war-by-poor-nutrition against the peoples of the Pacific.

It is time that New Zealand led an international  campaign in the WTO against rules that allow toxic foods to be sold without restraint.

International trade rules that favour corporate “rights” and unfettered trade are anathema to the values that we hold dear.  In the final analysis, governments are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their peoples – not to corporations and their profits.

Perhaps Tim Grosser; the National Government; the WTO; the International Food and Beverage Alliance; the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council; et al; would care to dine out on mutton flaps and turkey tails for a few years?

I guess not.

After all, they can all afford proper, nutritious food.

.

Previous blogpost

Why did the fat kiwi cross the road?

Additional Reading

New Zealand’s impact on health in the South Pacific: scope for improvement?

Trade in Everything: Turkey Tails

Critics challenge exports of mutton flaps, turkey tails and expired eggs to Samoa

Nutrition Facts: Turkey Tail

.

.

Advertisements
  1. Gosman
    5 December 2011 at 4:08 am

    It is quite simple Frank. Samoa can keep the ban if it wants it just doesn’t get to join the WTO. I’m sure you think the WTO is some neo-liberal plot to stuff up countries economies and enrich the wealthy so there will be no harm doing so. Samoa can go back to relying on aid and remittences for its income.

    • 5 December 2011 at 7:25 am

      Rubbish.

      Keeping an entire country locked into poverty and “relying on aid and remittences for its income” because it will not accede to the demands of of the WTO is nothing less than a mis-use of corporate power.

      It is unbelievavable that you think this is even remotely acceptable, fair, or corporate responsibility.

      Your “values”, Gosman, are precisely what is wrong with our global society.

      • Gosman
        5 December 2011 at 8:32 am

        Noone is forcing Samoa to do anything. Samoa has a choice. Join a free market trading system or stay out of it. Many countries have decided to stay out of it and go along their own path. I believe North Korea is an example of one.

        By the way what part of free, as in ‘free market trading system’ do you have a problem with?

  2. Gosman
    5 December 2011 at 8:40 am

    It comes down to it Frank whether you think the WTO is a good or a bad thing. If bad then don’t join and keep the sovereign right to set your own trade policies without someone eles threatening to take you to a disputes tribunal. If good then when you join you accept the rules of the game.

    • 5 December 2011 at 10:45 am

      “By the way what part of free, as in ‘free market trading system’ do you have a problem with?”

      Try reading my entire article. I believe I’ve spelled it out reasonably clearly? Responsing with that cliche doesn’t help your arugument.

      “If bad then don’t join and keep the sovereign right to set your own trade policies without someone eles threatening to take you to a disputes tribunal. If good then when you join you accept the rules of the game.”

      No, not when it impacts unfairly on developing nations and their societies. There is nothing “free” when a country is forced to obey the dictates of an organisation and corporation interests – or suffer economically.

      One has to question why the WTO has come down so hard on a small nation, at the behest of transnational corporations.

      Ever wondered about that?

      Especially when the issue surrounds an unhealthy food by-product that most people would not consume because of it’s toxic levels of fat.

      • Gosman
        5 December 2011 at 11:01 am

        There is nothing “free” when a country is forced to obey the dictates of an organisation and corporation interests – or suffer economically.

        Noone is ‘forced to do anything here. They have a choice. Join the WTO and abide by the rules or don’t join the WTO. Noone is forcing them to join the WTO. They have survived reasonably okay up to this point in time without being a member.

        Do you think they should join the WTO? What benefits would it give them?

      • Gosman
        5 December 2011 at 11:06 am

        It’s not hard to work out why they have these rules. Take just a couple of NZ most profitable export items. Dairy and Lamb. In both of these cases an argument could be made that the product is not healthy. Therefore a country could quite legitimately slap import bans on all of those items. The WTO was set up to make trade freer not to enable nations to rort the system to protect their domestic markets.

  3. Tom Sawyer
    6 December 2011 at 12:01 am

    Gosman :

    There is nothing “free” when a country is forced to obey the dictates of an organisation and corporation interests – or suffer economically.

    Noone is ‘forced to do anything here. They have a choice. Join the WTO and abide by the rules or don’t join the WTO. Noone is forcing them to join the WTO. They have survived reasonably okay up to this point in time without being a member.

    Do you think they should join the WTO? What benefits would it give them?

    So your all in favour of Americans selling their crap food to third world countries? You don’t give a shit? You care more about these corporations than you do the people who end up eating this disgusting stuff.

    Your a piece of work mate. It’s obvious since you started posting here that you don’t give a shit about anyone except big business. I hope they’re paying you the bucks to be spamming for them.

  4. Tom Sawyer
    6 December 2011 at 12:07 am

    Frank Macskasy :

    “By the way what part of free, as in ‘free market trading system’ do you have a problem with?”

    Try reading my entire article. I believe I’ve spelled it out reasonably clearly? Responsing with that cliche doesn’t help your arugument.

    “If bad then don’t join and keep the sovereign right to set your own trade policies without someone eles threatening to take you to a disputes tribunal. If good then when you join you accept the rules of the game.”

    No, not when it impacts unfairly on developing nations and their societies. There is nothing “free” when a country is forced to obey the dictates of an organisation and corporation interests – or suffer economically.

    One has to question why the WTO has come down so hard on a small nation, at the behest of transnational corporations.

    Ever wondered about that?

    Especially when the issue surrounds an unhealthy food by-product that most people would not consume because of it’s toxic levels of fat.

    I’ve seen those chicken frames for sale at paknsave . I thought they were meant as pet food. People actually eat that shit?

    By the way good stuff Frank.

  5. Tom Sawyer
    6 December 2011 at 12:19 am

    Gosman :

    Noone is forcing Samoa to do anything. Samoa has a choice. Join a free market trading system or stay out of it. Many countries have decided to stay out of it and go along their own path. I believe North Korea is an example of one.

    By the way what part of free, as in ‘free market trading system’ do you have a problem with?

    I have a problem with all of it Gos. You and your righty-tighty mates can take your free market bullshit and shove it. Too many of my whanau have lost their jobs because of your big businesses buddies.

    • Gosman
      7 December 2011 at 9:36 am

      Then they are obviously not trained in areas that the economy needs.

      Good to see that you have finally got it though. If Samoa doesn’t need free trade then stay out of the WTO. Frank doesn’t seem to understand this simple answer to the problems he has identified.

  6. Paul
    6 December 2011 at 10:57 am

    Gosman :

    It’s not hard to work out why they have these rules. Take just a couple of NZ most profitable export items. Dairy and Lamb. In both of these cases an argument could be made that the product is not healthy. Therefore a country could quite legitimately slap import bans on all of those items. The WTO was set up to make trade freer not to enable nations to rort the system to protect their domestic markets.

    Of course dairy and lamb are healthier than those other products. You’re arguing from an exagerated premise and trying to base your worldview on that? In other words you have nothing to really base your argument on.

    Protecting the health of your own people is hardly rorting the system. Your cold and callous views on your fellow man is appalling.

    • Gosman
      7 December 2011 at 9:32 am

      No, I’m giving examples of how this sort of policy can be abused to corrupt the concept of free trade. If you read the article the WTO has no problem with Tarrifs and/or taxes. If Samoa wants to join the WTO, (and they don’t have to join remember), and disuade their population from buying these items then the answer is easy. Slap a big tax and tarrif on the products. The WTO just frwons upon outright export bans such as what the Australians slapped on NZ Apples. I presume you think the Apple ban was fine as well do you?

  1. 13 March 2012 at 9:18 am
  2. 9 April 2012 at 5:23 pm
  3. 13 May 2012 at 9:23 pm
  4. 27 October 2015 at 9:08 am
  5. 1 November 2015 at 8:01 am
  6. 22 August 2016 at 8:01 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: