Friday, October 01, 2010

Trade is about making money, numbnuts

Catherine Bearder. Ok so I am an anorak, I live, work breath EU minutiae, but until this moment I had not heard of this woman.

But by this article she makes me sit up and take notice... or more properly take aim.
'Environmental and social standards must be key to European trade. The environment is vital for our survival and mustn't be squandered for short term economic gain.

'For many people around the world the natural environment is linked to their survival. Many indigenous people provide for themselves sustainably through the environment.

'If the environment is damaged then so is their capacity to harvest food. We should consider following the US approach and publish what we pay for resources. The scrutiny that follows transparency may ensure we don't exploit the environment abroad.'
It is one of those 'where to start' moments.

Look Missy, trade isn't for any purpose other than those who contract it. By their self interest goods and services are made available at thye cheapest reasonable price to the consumer. It enriches the producer, the middleman (0r indeed woman) and the consumer.

Trying to hamstring trade by imposing self rightious aims to it will destroy it. And thus harm producer, middle man and consumer.

Economics 101.

So I go and find out who she is, and she is a Lib Dem. Part of our Government for Christ sake.

So what experience does she have for the job? Dunno, her website tells us nothing about her background. Wikipedia leaves us none the wiser. The Lib Dem website tells us she has "perfect experience", and here it is.
Regional Director, South East England, Britain in Europe Development Co-ordinator, Magistrate's Courts, Victim Support, Oxfordshire Constituency Organiser, Oxford West and Abingdon Liberal Democrats Development Officer, Nat Fed of Women's Institutes, Denman College Manager, Bicester Citizens Advice Bureau Assistant to Appeal Director, Berks Bucks and Oxon Naturalist Trust, Oxford Field assistant, for studies on hyaenas and bushbabies, Pretoria University Antique Dealer, Hertford European Parliamentary Candidate for South East Region 1999 (Number 9) and 2004 (number 4) Parliamentary Candidate for Banbury, May 1997 and Henley, June 2001 Elected member of the Federal conference Committee, and convenor of the Conference Access Group Trustee, Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC Representative on Oxfordshire Racial Equalities Council, NHS Health and Modernisation Partnership Board, Drama Wardrobe and Volunteer of the Year Award) Chair, Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats Printing Society Chair, South Central Region Liberal Democrat conference committee, 2003-2006 Trustee, Oxfordshire Victim Support, 2001 - 2002 Chair, Thame Citizens Advice Bureau May 2002 to 2003 Liberal Democrats accredited Trainer WEA Trainer, for the Citizens' Action Millennium Award Scheme 2001 Councillor, Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council and Wendlebury Parish Council Winner, Youth Champion 2004 ('I'm a Councillor, Get Me Out of Here' competition for Oxfordshire) Chair, Banbury Liberal Democrats local constituency party, Duty Solicitor Panel, Bicester, Lay member 1993/4. Police Lay Visitor, Bicester and Banbury Member, Banbury Police Consultative Committee. President, Bicester Friends of the Earth Chair, and Co-founder of Bicester Volunteer Link Chair, of the Bicester Community Education Council LEA Representative Governor, St Edburgs C of E School, Bicester President, Wendlebury Women's Institute
Youi know, all that and it doesn't look she has had a proper job in her life except "Field assistant, for studies on hyeanas and bushbabies"

She has studied hyenas. OK maybe a perfect cv.


Eurogoblin said...

In theory, trade concessions can be an effective diplomatic tool for promoting interests. In Africa, for example, the EU links aid and trade deals to human rights and environmental protection.

However... the only problem with this nice theory is that China offers so-called "no strings attached" loans and investment in Africa, which rather undermines EU efforts.

I'm not sure which is the better trade policy - propping up dictators or taking a "principled stance" and shooting yourself in your foot.

Anonymous said...

Which dictators are you referring to, Eurogoblin?

Eurogoblin said...

Okay, perhaps "dictators" is putting it a bit strongly. I'm referring to those African regimes with weak democratic and human rights records turning to China because EU aid has too many conditions attached. Of those states which are receiving "no-strings attached" loans and investment from China, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia spring to mind.

And, yes, I'm entirely aware of the EU report on Ethiopia's recent elections (in which only 2 non-EPRDF MPs were elected). The EU gave Ethiopia (more-or-less) a green-light because they wanted to avoid a repeat of 2007's election violence. Whether that was the right call is another question (though it's interesting that in Ethiopia - where I was living for the last 3 months - both opposition and pro-government factions hold up the EU report as either supporting or condemning the elections depending on their perspective).

Eurogoblin said...

Oh, one other thing. Gawain writes:

"[Trade] enriches the producer, the middleman (0r indeed woman) and the consumer."

Yet reducing economics to such a basic equation risks missing an important point. The drugs trade, for example, most certainly does not enrich the consumer. There is virtue in restricting certain trades (the trade in slaves, for example) for social reasons.

Gawain Towler said...

Interesting point about slavery, but I don't think the arguement has been settled about the drug trade.

It is possible that its very illegality causes half the probelms. I doubt we would need to send aid to Columbia if they had a decent cash crop

Gawain Towler said...

And yes that ("[Trade] enriches the producer, the middleman (0r indeed woman) and the consumer) was a tad simplistic, but the broader point stands