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View Diary: If you like quinoa, asparagus, or free trade, read this. (207 comments)

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  •  Boycott quinoa! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, La Gitane

    It's the only answer!  Save the starving Bolivians!

    PS: I am serious.

    There are very few subjects which do not interest or fascinate me.

    by NYFM on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:35:40 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

      •  And those who romanticize (37+ / 0-)

        the "noble" farmers who used to operate outside a capitalist market rarely want to live in the poverty that those farmers previously inhabited.  

        I think of Marx who talked about how capitalism uprooted former social relationships.  Descriptvely, he was extremely insightful about that aspect of capitalism.  These farmers are being pulled into a world market.  Their children may go to college.  Think about that.  Parents who may be illiterate or semi-literate sending chidren to college.    

        Yet, there also is damage.   I have long rejected the Rouseauian "noble savage" romanticism that some on the left engage in at times.    (not sure if Rouseauian is a word, but you know what I mean)

        I don't think there are easy answers.  

        "Free trade" has been bad for many American industrial workers.  On the other hand, the standard of living of many Chinese and others has increased.  Since we live in nation-states, there are at least political reasons to favor ones own citizens.  

        Other than the Columbian treaty, opposition to which was partially based on murders of union memebrs in Columbia, most opposition is based on protecting American workers.

        I thought Stiglitz's book, Globalization and its Discontents, was good.  Read several years ago.  

        Sometimes these treaties hurt workers in both nations, and enrich investors in both nations.

        It would be interesting to look at the long-term efect of NAFTA after 20 years or so.

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:52:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it would have been (7+ / 0-)

          much better for all these countries to be more protectionist, focusing on import substitution and trading knowledge rather than products.  

          Going into a global economy before the individual economies have achieved parity on their own is basically the disaster we are seeing today.  Our own economy wasn't healthy; full of rich greedy bastards that care more about their bank accounts than they do for the well-being of people and our planet, they've simply been exporting their sickness and spreading it around the globe.

          Greed is contagious.

          "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

          by La Gitane on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:17:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe so. (7+ / 0-)

            But the world is as it is.  

            The sugar trade, and teh enslavement of Africans, was an early example of a global economy, so it has been around longer than most nationstates.  Of course, this version reaches its tentacles into almost every place.

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by TomP on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:41:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good point. nt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

              by La Gitane on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:25:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  1 Mostly Peru's problem. 2. Fair Trade Certific'n? (5+ / 0-)

                1. The basic problem here is that more money is flowing into Peru, where there are a lot of poor people, and Peruvian law does not ensure (a) that the money is divided equitably, and (b) that the desire for money is not allowed to trample the Peruvian environment.

                Ordinarily more money going to a place where there are a lot of poor people should be considered a good thing. If there are problems distributing the money, the solution is probably not to cut off the flow of money, at least not long-term. The solution is probably to address the distribution problems. That's a political problem. Peru is, more or less, a democracy. What are the Peruvian farmers doing politically?

                2. In your local grocery you can buy coffee that is Fair Trade Certified and coffee that isn't. You can buy coffee that's USDA certified organic, or Rain Forest Certified sustainable, or coffee that isn't. You can buy hardwood floors for your house that are certified sustainable by the Forest Standards Council (or something like that; I know the initials are FSC), or floors that aren't. Seems like there's an opportunity here for some kind of similar certification for quinoa and asparagus, so consumers could ensure the farmer is getting fairly paid, and the environment is being respected. This is probably not an adequate substitute for government regulation (Peru or USA), but it has the advantage of not having to wait for government action that may never come.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:44:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  'The world (3+ / 0-)

              as we find it' said Axelrod. What utter bs. This world is being created and is not inevitable. Through out history the biggest assholes always proclaimed their world order was inevitable that's part of their con. nothing is inevitable especially when it doesn't pay and it's wrecking the world. As we find it doesn't mean this so called inevitable globalized piracy can't fall or fail. It is a fail for both humans and the planet. People can and do crawl out from the wreckage created by the would be rulers of the world. The first step is not believing their apocalyptic bs about the end of the world as we know it. Good riddance if  global dominance by these psycho globalizing free trade/market fundies go down.    

          •  With all respect, (0+ / 0-)

            import-substitution has been tried, in India (1947-1991 or so). It didn't work.

          •  Trading knowledge, but you can't trade climate (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not sure what parity means in this context, but I suspect a lot of the world will never catch up to resource and water rich regions (northern California, for example). What dynamic was going to lift any Peruvian farmers out of poverty? Certainly not the internal Peruvian market.

        •  Think people globally (6+ / 0-)

          were sold a bill of goods by the excellent salesman Big Dog. I remember his bs about how all boats will rise in this inevitable NWO. NAFTA bit me in the ass right away.  Put me out of  business as an artisan. It also did not help the artisans of say South America, Tunisia or Mexico or anywhere globally, the ones who my dealers and galleries used to make more profit with

          . Their beautiful skilled handiwork was cheaper then any one here could produce and not starve and it did not get the global artists a better standard of living. The Chinese workers may be better off then they we're but they don't have those suicide nets for nothing. Standards of living do not always measure the plight of workers the peons that actually grow and make things. I think we're seeing the effects of NAFTA right now. Free trade the other side of the free market coin.    

          I buy some products not grown in the US like coffee or chocolate, but only Fair Trade. Cost''s a little more in some cases often it's less expensive then the big name brands. I've also seen fair trade and domestically grown quinoa in bulk at my co-op.    

      •  We could pressure quinoa importers (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, DawnN, Jakkalbessie, NYFM, joynow

        to send some portion of revenues back to resubsidize local farmers. That's a corporate-type solution which would potentially help farmers, although it's definitely not a great long term strategy. Still, given that many who buy quinoa probably tend to be more thoughtful about these things, like myself, we ought to be able to demand this from the companies selling quinoa now.

        It's not my ideal solution. That's repealing free trade agreements. But it's a possibility, maybe?

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:58:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Probably nothing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because (and I'm just guessing here, although a little quick googling seems to confirm it) the quinoa market is probably already controlled by ADM, Cargill, and Bunge (bigger outside the US, but here, too).

        Most of the income probably goes to them already, some of the rest goes to big landowners, and a little trickles down to tenant farmers or small-holders.

        It's doubtful they make more now than if they were selling only into local markets.

        In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

        by badger on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:21:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They lose their jobs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lonely Texan, Adam B

        and maybe starve. Or enter the drug trade. But we'll feel good about not eating quinoa.

    •  No, it's more complicated than that. (14+ / 0-)

      And quinoa ain't the half of it.  We're implicated in a giant global mess that will require a lot of big thinking to make better.

      I expect some of the usual hippie punching around a niche product like quinoa, but the truth is this issue goes to everything we eat, wear, use.

    •  Whenever someone says, "It's the only answer" (11+ / 0-)

      just know that it's not. This is a complex issue that requires multiple answers.

      And this phenomenon (globalization affecting developing countries in positive AND negative ways) is not limited to quinoa, or Bolivia, or anything else. Look at rice, for just one example. This article on quinoa is making the internet rounds but there are so many other issues of similar and/or greater importance related to globalization and food production.

      Reminds me of Sir Walter Scott's "Oh what a  tangled web we weave."

    •  My girlfriend has a gluten allergy (12+ / 0-)

      Quinoa is the only way she can eat any pastas, for instance.  She's been eating it for years.

      I'm not going to tell her to not eat something that is a staple of her dietary needs over this.

      Where is the Republican Party of George Romney?

      by wolverinethad on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:14:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  excellent point (5+ / 0-)

        There are people with legitimate gluten allergies and intolerances who absolutely need to put their health first, but it makes me wonder, with "gluten-free" being the new flavor of the day in food/diet marketing, how much  increased quinoa consumption is due to people jumping on the latest food-fad bandwagon?

        There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

        by puzzled on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:51:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe Not (4+ / 0-)

        But maybe you two could investigate some other options together and let us know if you had success substituting bean or rice noodles for quinoa in your recipes.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:15:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bean or rice noodles are highly processed food (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DawnN, gramofsam1, begone

          products. Quinoa on the other hand is a whole food (seed actually) with many nutrients (including amino acids) which bean or rice noodles will not supply.

          Again, this is a complicated issue.

          •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fe Bongolan

            That is some good additional perspective. But I can't imagine that quinoa is nutritionally unique to the degree that essential nutritients it contains can't be provided by other foods.

            "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

            by bink on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:29:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The thing that makes quinoa unique is that it is a (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sylv, Jakkalbessie, peregrine kate, Joieau

              complete protein. So for those seeking to reduce their meat consumption but have a fear of not getting enough protein quinoa is a plant-derived alternative unique in its nature. Rice combined with beans is also a complete protein. But to achieve this with one food source is unique. But on top of that, quinoa is rich in vitamins (especially B-2 or riboflavin), amino acids, and minerals (iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium). It is also a good source of gluten-free fiber for those who need it, again, making it a very unique food source nutritionally.

              It's easy to see why so many people want to eat this stuff!

              •  I have taken to using quinoa (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Methinks They Lie, joynow

                in my black bean veggieburgers. Along with the beans, rolled oats and veggies. Gives that little bit of meaningful 'crunch' in a fried or grilled burger that the kids and grandkids love.

                Do use egg to help it adhere. Have a couple of Pekin ducks, they lay 2-4 eggs a day. Duck eggs are higher in albumin and protein than chicken eggs, so people who have food sensitivities can more likely prove allergic. I always ask before serving, sort of like when I use peanuts or peanut oil. At an informal get-together, you just might end up poisoning somebody! That's a bad thing... §;o)

                •  Joieau - duck eggs are very trendy (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:46:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I like 'em fine! (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, AZ Sphinx Moth, joynow

                    Spousal Unit won't touch 'em, and he's got those ducks so spoiled you can't believe it. Always been finicky. So far, only #1 grandson's girlfriend is bad allergic, but bad enough that I know to warn people.

                    I've found that if I whip the eggs with my immersion blender before cooking scrambled, omelet, etc. or baking, the albumin tends to break down more. Add a little milk when blending, it helps. There's no cure for protein, and duck eggs are packed! Thicker, harder shells than chicken eggs, they're good for 6 weeks once refrigerated. And are actually better digestible when they're older.

                    Got those yellow peeps for our youngest grandkids last Easter, figured I might be lucky and have one live long enough to be a good watch-critter for chickens. Now I don't need chickens (more duck eggs than anybody needs), and the ducks think they're dogs. Because they have dog guardians, I guess. They're really great fun, we're installing a pond now (it never ends...).

        •  Or even corn, as much as I hate to mention it. (0+ / 0-)

          I went gluten free for a few months and didn't like the quinoa pastas so looked for some other options. I did find a variety made with corn that I liked very much. It still had the bite that I like from traditional pasta.

          •  What's helped my household stay gluten free (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Is adding tapioca flour to rice flour, for baking. The tapioca flour offers some needed consistency.

            I usually I add about one fourth the amount of tapioca flour to the amount of rice flour. If I go overboard with it, it ends up too spongy.

            I never liked Quinoa. Based on all the information here on this topic abt its nutrition, maybe I should try it. But then based on all the information about how its hurting people in Peru, maybe I shouldn't?

            Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

            by Truedelphi on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:11:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa. Quinoa pasta! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I do grind my own grain/beans and make my own pastas (and herbs to include). Never thought about quinoa. My grinder didn't do well with amaranth (seeds too small), but quinoa is a bit larger. Might work...

    •  Easy to do… (0+ / 0-)

      I can't stand quinoa.

      Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

      by DemSign on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:53:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's extremely paternalistic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      The people of Peru have decided that it it's in their interest to sell some of their quinoa rather than consume it, but you propose that we deny them that choice because we know what's best for them. My god, that's arrogant.

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