Wednesday, January 20, 2010
One of those round-up things
Say what?The BBC is reporting a Nuffield Foundation report which assessed efficiency of the NHS in the four components of the Union (link). The front page headline is a bit of a gas: "English NHS 'the most efficient'". I suppose a police report comparing Dr. Crippen, Harold Shipman and Charles Manson could be reported as "Crippen 'the most harmless'", but really that's nothing to be proud of.The anti-development EUThe EU is attacked by us free traders for having absolutely awful, iniquitous trade rules, such as the tariff escalator which basically increases the percentage tariff as the attempted import goes from agricultural product to processed consumer product. (Read a bit from Liberal Vision on this here.) I had an epiphany, realising that they are exactly the rules which the Western colonial powers used to keep their colonies in check, so when so-called 'progressives' stick up for the EU's dreadful record on trade they are sticking up for the blight of imperialist, colonialist economics. EU protectionism also entrenches, on a global scale, the interests of the wealthy, global-bourgeois classes against the poorest working classes. Where's the progress in that?In the course of researching this bite, I discovered that a Marxist had got there before me, attacking the EU for 'colonialism by any other means' (src). It's always a worry when you find yourself making a point with a Marxist, but mercifully the man's wrong on pretty much everything else.Cadbury is sold: so what?The best description I read of people bemoaning the loss of Cadbury and, particularly, those demanding that Something Must Be Done (really? by m'Lord Meddlesome?), is 'Team Canute'. You can't stop the tide of history, guys. British businesses go out there and buy up large foreign companies as well; it's all part of the global marketplace we're in. If it's a choice between seeing Cadbury sold, or a return to the 1970s and the joy that was British Leyland, I think the choice is obvious.There is a sense of historic loss as Cadbury is sold, of course, and I fully understand that Cadbury workers will be facing a less certain future: but the way I see it, most of us weren't bothered enough to buy shares and vote against the deal. The company belongs to Cadbury's shareholders and (modulo concerns about pension fund behaviour) it is theirs to sell. Who gave the rest of us the right to make them do something different?Late addition: it also occurs to me that the only way to keep Cadbury chocolate made in the UK is to slap a high tariff on chocolate bars. Which, um, is precisely what I just blasted the EU for doing. So if you really do care about the developing world's capacity for industrialisation, then you have to be open to the possibility that Cadbury would end up getting out-competed by producers in cocoa-growing regions, or else moving its production lines to those regions. Either way, being pro-development in the third world means being open to the possibility of jobs disappearing here and appearing there. The choice is yours: I've made my own.