Sunday, 15 June 2008

Trade and Rebellion

[Trade] The Wall Street Journal carried a fascinating article in its June 13 issue on the impact of rising transport costs on the outsourcing of manufacturing. It offered one example after another of production returning from (or not leaving for) China and even Mexico as the petroleum-fueled rise in shipping expenses undermined the advantages of using faraway slave labor.

This is surely a positive development not only for the domestic working class but also for the demented anti-ecology of our times with its vast tonnage of unnecessary goods unnecessarily circulating around the globe for the benefit of capital. I now look forward as well to the accelerated decline of suburbia into the abandoned wasteland it deserves to become as people tire of entrapment in a world where you can’t cut a fart without having to climb into an automobile and driving off somewhere.

[Rebellion] Hooray for the independent-minded voters of Europe who once again have delivered their political elites a large jar of water-based lubricant. The Irish, in yet another act of rebellion against the remote, Brussels-based bureaucracy, voted down the obscure Lisbon treaty that even its own authors couldn’t explain.

Many commentators have pointed out that the NO voters aren’t anti-Europe, but they have this odd belief that their leaders should be able to tell them in simple terms exactly what they are agreeing to, just as we are solemnly instructed to do when taking out a subprime mortgage. But again and again, the 27-state labyrinth finds it impossible to do so.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to decide on a pan-European constitution setting out the broad principles of cooperation and shared sovereignty and then giving the process a good couple of years of debate? The current procedure in which technical details that voters couldn’t possibly understand are submitted to referenda is far too reminiscent of the nefarious free-trade agreements regularly shoved down the throats of one nation after another, including ours.

Since it’s all about making the continent safe for commerce, voters quite correctly are acting like savvy consumers and refusing to sign vague contracts containing thousands of lines of fine print. The powerful then shake their heads glumly and call their citizens backward rubes who refuse to do what they’re told.

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