As we know there mere idea that tampons and other such monthlies should pay tax is an outrage. Even that the European Union wouldn’t – until recently – allow us to remove the 5% VAT on them was something to be condemned. So, what are we to make of the idea that we should deliberately make them more expensive in order to benefit the capitalists?
No doubt feminists would be up in arms. Except if we talk about the development of a local tampon industry behind tariff barriers that’s exactly what we are doing. Shouting that women must pay more now in order to benefit those capitalist factory owners. The problem with this being that the sort of feminist who gets up in arms about the taxation of tampons is also the sort of political type who thinks that local industry protection behind tariff barriers is just great as an economic idea. You know, that infant industry protection idea, that saving the local economy from the ravages of being exploited by the international capitalists.
Not the only time in political life that doublethink is required to make sense of matters:
So, who does benefit from this? The local capitalists. The local factory owners. The rich people that is. Now, I’m happy enough to insist on certain things that favour the rich, sensible tax rates for example. The right to property and so on. But these are consequential, we all gain in the long run from people being willing to invest, something they won’t do if we steal their stuff when they do. Tariff protection is rather different.
Think again what happens. We agree that local industry is uncompetitive. That’s why we’re having tariffs in the first place. That means that during that development process, tampons cost more than they would if we weren’t trying to develop local industry. We’ve also, by our very idea of having tariffs, made sure that tampons are more expensive because no one can buy the nice cheap ones from foreigners. After this process is all over, who gains the benefit? Well, it’s the people who own those now efficient and profitable sanitary napkin factories, isn’t it?
Who has lost here? In that future, when the local factories are as efficient as global ones — if they ever are — then no one continues to lose except maybe the shareholders of the international corporations and we really don’t care about them. But who has lost in the interim? Well, that’s our wives and sisters, daughters and mothers, isn’t it? They have had to pay more for their monthlies than they would have in the absence of our decision to impose the tariffs.
Some will simply not have been able to afford them at all and will have had to retreat to more traditional — perhaps more primitive — means of dealing with natural human fertility. And, well, this doesn’t sound right, does it? The distaff side of the population has to suffer in order that capitalists should get rich at some unknown date in the future? As a matter of public policy, that’s what the government is going to set out to insist upon? I’ve long insisted that the only fair trade is free trade, this is just another example of that basic case. Why should women have to wait a decade or two?
Quite. Why should women pay more now to benefit mainly male capitalists in the future?