Oxfam’s Wondrous Reverse Ferret

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Oxfam’s spent the last decade or two telling us how appalling these effects of globalisation have been. Inequality within countries is increasing, wealth inequality is getting out of hand, sweatshops diminish the value of human labour and all that.

So, we get a reduction in that globalisation as a result of the pandemic. And what do they say then?

Appeals for help and chilling predictions of imminent disaster are coming thick and fast. The world is on red alert in a way few people alive today have experienced. Yet, despite the urgent clamour, the international response to the coronavirus catastrophe is lacking, leaderless and late.

Lacking in the sense that the scale of the problem, especially in developing countries, is so huge as to be almost numbing. Oxfam says more than half a billion people may be pushed into poverty by the economic fallout. Global poverty reduction could be set back 30 years.

At which point, two things.

Firstly, how about that admission that globalisation has, over this past 30 years, been a good thing? That the increase in international trade has, despite the increase in wealth and in-country inequality, the sweatshops, been a good thing for humanity?

Secondly, how about a little analysis of what Oxfam now proposes?

Food companies, farmers and civil society groups are pointing to a rising tide of hunger unless food supply chains are maintained and borders kept open to trade. Coordinated action by governments is necessary “to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic turning into a global food and humanitarian crisis”, they say.

That’s right, let’s have a bit more of this neoliberal globalisation, shall we?

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ANNRQBongoVirusagoSpikeTim Worstall Recent comment authors
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Virusago
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Virusago

Not really. Oxfam’s position is that: ‘While the anti-globalisation movement has identified trade as a leading cause of the widening global inequality, Oxfam says that trading rules are the problem, not trade itself. “In itself trade is not inherently opposed to the interests of poor people,” the report says. “Well-managed trade has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty.” ‘ See below for a summary of the Oxfam position from Tim’s fave newspaper: (Charlotte Denny, economics correspondent The Guardian – Thu 11 Apr 2002 03.45 EDT) “The European Union and the United trade are robbing the world’s… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

So Oxfam’s position now is that international trade is good, only it needs to be managed. Despite admitting that the usual effect of trade “management” is cronyism.

Virusago
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Virusago

How very true- Oxfam objected, as you do, to cronyism in ‘trade management’ as practised by the EU, US, Canada & Japan: “Oxfam ranks Europe first according to an index which measures protectionism by the world’s biggest trading powers, followed by the US, Canada and Japan. They impose the highest trade barriers against the industries of most importance to poor countries: agriculture and textiles. Oxfam estimates that high tariffs and subsidies cost poor countries $100bn (£70bn) a year – twice as much as they receive in aid. The EU and the US spend billions of dollars each year subsidising their… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

Taken from Guardian articles from 2002, I think. An impressive double – defending Oxfam’s current political stance compared to the one they have shouted about at Davos for the last 4 years or so using the Guardian from when I was in neoliberal nappies.

Spike
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Spike

Of course cross-border commerce, or any innovation, increases inequality; notably between the people who avail themselves of it and the people who elect not to.

ANNRQ
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ANNRQ

It doesn’t really matter what Oxfam actually says; their target audience don’t understand any of it. All they hear is “globalisation”, “western” ,“sweatshop”, “poverty”, “inequality” and they sign-up for more monthly donations to fix things.

The administrators then pat themselves on their backs, award themselves a nice bonus to add to their six-figure salaries and go and have another five-star holiday with prostitutes on demand.