Wednesday, July 30, 2008


So, the Doha trade talks have suffered their annual collapse. Good. While I'm in favour of free trade, it must also be fair trade - and that was not on offer. Rather, the rich countries were engaged in their usual exercise of demanding even more one-sided concessions for doing things they'd already agreed to do (and which they would just welch on again anyway). Under those circumstances, the poor countries, led by India and China, were right to stand firm and refuse a bad deal.

What grates is that New Zealand has been on the side of the rich in this. We shouldn't be. Rather, we should be backing the billions whose lives are at stake here. When the rich world demands the right to drive peasant farmers - counterintuitively, the most efficient producers in the world - from their land by flooding markets with subsidised imports, they are demanding the right to impose famine, and putting profits before human lives. And that is simply wrong.