What is the true cost of “free trade”? Well, there is a stink bug in my damned coffee. Not just a cup, the whole damned pot! This is not the first time that something like this has happened to me. It is winter here, and cold. Really, really cold. So how in the hell did I get a stink bug ruining my coffee? Again? And what does this have to do with trade policy?
Please see below the fold...
Well, first of all, “free trade” is a misnomer; it is really unrestricted, one-sided trade. Or “open” trade, or “dumping” (although that has certain legal meanings, but it is true nonetheless). Basically, we allow other countries to sell their goods here without regard to reciprocity, environmental laws, labor laws or even basic human rights. We do this, not to benefit our citizens, but to benefit multi-national corporations and the wealthy elite that own the vast majority of stock in these corporations. The so-called “elite” tell us that this will benefit us all, eventually. They have some very convenient talking points, those guys, convenient, since it benefits themselves, but not many others from what I can tell.
You see, the real price of “free trade” is never really calculated. Spreadsheets won't do it, no matter how many MBA's try to push it. Yeah, they love their damned spreadsheets and stuff (Disclaimer: I have a degree in business administration and computer science). How can anyone calculate all factors? They cannot. Who should calculate the cost to society at large? That is the duty of a government, a duty which ours has abrogated. So what, you may ask, does this have to do with stink bugs?
Well, I live in western Pennsylvania. The northeast... It is winter here, and a bitter one. When the temperature plummeted well below zero, the refrain that I heard over and over again (I actually heard it on local television, from the weatherman) was this: perhaps it will kill the stink bugs.
Stink bugs. Damned stink bugs.
Oh, and "free trade" stinks, literally.
A brief history of stink bugs in America. Most experts agree:
They almost certainly came over in cargo containers from Asia. North Korea (not very likely) and nearby China...
They cause crop damage. They are resistant to most pesticides. They lay eggs on the underside of leaves, broad leaves preferred... The northeast lettuce crop is devasted. And many other crops.
When the temperature drops, stinkbugs seek enclosed spaces, like cargo containers (that's how they got here), or my house. They are flat and can squeeze through really narrow cracks. They are just about impossible to keep out and will sneak in whenever anyone enters or exits a home. Most of them hide in the woodwork, but there always seems one or two every few days that pop out. They sometimes dive into hot things, like a coffee pot, or my sister's supper that she was cooking. They seem to like to come out and dive into warm or hot things.
Oh, by the way, they are called “stink bugs” because they STINK, in that they emit a squirt of malodorous liquid anytime they are irritated or killed. The liquid then attracts other stink bugs (why in the hell would anything would evolve to attract others of its species to its point of death is beyond me).
Stink bugs ruined my damned coffee... More than once... Is that in anyone's calculations?
Lettuce? Crop damage? How many billion dollars?
They are here to stay. We will never, ever get rid of these disgusting things. They came over on cargo containers. It took them this long, so would they have made it here without massive trade? I doubt it.
Damned, damned stink bugs. I hate them. Damn 'em all to hell!
Fucking stink bugs.
There is no such thing as Free Trade.