Who caught that fish on your table? Could have been a slave…

Well, it didn’t take long until something came up making it impossible for me to keep my fingers off of the keyboard. I wish I could return from my “sabbatical” with something happier to report, but alas, this is not so.

The Environmental Justice Foundation recently released a report called “All at Sea” that exposes the horrible conditions of workers on illegal fishing boats. According to the report these “pirate” fishing vessels are driven “by the enormous global demand for seafood and is symptomatic of the wider crises in world fisheries.” In order to “maximise catch and minimise cost, illegal ‘pirate’ fishing operators ruthlessly exploit the crews working aboard their boats.”

The people brought aboard these ships are “hired” from places where people are poor and unemployment is high. Representatives of the fishing “companies” go in to an area in, say, rural China, and tell the young men there about the opportunities they can offer them. These same young men, eager to work and bring back money for their families, sign contracts. They are often unable to read the contract they sign because the document is either in a foreign language or the young man is illiterate so they have no idea what they are signing up for. Once they arrive at the fishing boat, their passports are taken from them and they begin living an inescapable hell.

The illegal vessels do nothing above-board. They run old, rusted ships, that should probably not even be at sea, with no licenses. Their workers are usually untrained and live and work in deplorable conditions: unsanitary and unsafe. They fish anywhere and fly flags of convenience; many countries apparently turning a blind eye to them. They rarely even come into port making them difficult to track – all of their fish loaded onto other boats to bring to the markets. Of course, an obvious and unfortunate side-effect from all of this, is that the reputable fisheries, who run things by the book, cannot compete with these illegal groups.

Much of the fish caught by these pirate trolleys is distributed throughout Europe. But that is not to say that some of the fish have not already entered the American market (I’m including North and South America). No one can be certain because the fish is untraceable. It would make me sick to think that the fish I am serving on the table was one caught illegally from a supposedly protected area, and that the young man who caught it was being treated inhumanely. I suppose it would be a poor assumption to think that all of our country’s imports are always bought from reputable sources or that the importers would bother to trace the original source. One thing for sure, I will now only buy fish that I know was harvested in Canada.

For further information, please see the article on the Environmental Justice Foundation’s website. The video I have posted below is the same as the one linked to their article. I guarantee it to be an eye-opener and a sad statement on humanity and our environment.

Fight Back!
So please, let’s do something. Look to see where your fish is coming from…if it can be at all helped, let’s support the legal fishing industry. If you wish to get involved with the EJF see here for further details.


32 thoughts on “Who caught that fish on your table? Could have been a slave…

  1. Isobel!!! So glad to see you again 🙂

    I saw this and was horrified. It seems, after only a century and a half of ending sanctioned Western slavery, it is back in force.

    I will be watching my fish @@. That is activism mommies can do from the fish counter of the grocery store.


    1. Hi Kinzi!! So glad to see you here. Thanks for your comment. Sadly, I don’t think slavery has really ever ended, it just became less obvious. I think that as long as there is poverty and corruption there will always be exploitation.

      But yes, on the positive side, if we try to find ways to fight back, even if small, maybe we can help.


  2. Thank you for coming back, Isobel. I’m delighted.

    You have rightly isolated and identified one industry where slave labor is running rampant. Unfortunately this is the world we live in today. From tennis shoes and high fashion to fish and banana, capitalist exploitation of human dignity (and life) is becoming increasingly significant on the global scene. Slavery might have departed from the open doors of history but it’s sneaking its way back from unguarded windows.


    1. Hello Abufares! And I am delighted to see you here. 🙂

      Excellent comment. While doing research for this post, I found a website called Change.org. They have a section on Human Trafficking where they highlight various stories about people, many of them children, forced into slave labour. It’s a disgusting state of affairs and it makes me shudder to think that the system by which most of us live, work, and shop by contributes to propagating these horrible exploitations.


  3. It’s nice to see you (or read you) again.
    The issues you raise here are very sad indeed. It’s awful enough to know there is poverty in the world affecting people. But it is still more awful to know that there are other people taking advantage of that reality.
    The saying “the man is man’s wolf” is sadly very true.


    1. Hi Gabriela! And it’s nice to read your comment! 🙂 Do you think this is human nature? Do you think that we’ll really ever change? That the corrupt and powerful won’t exploit the poor and weak? I guess your quote kind of says it all, doesn’t it? And yet, I still have hope and I know you do too.


      1. Somtimes I wonder: what if every single piece of life disappears from the planet. No life at all, whatsoever. Will the new beings that may come after that will repeat out evil parts?
        I guess we’ll never know.


        1. Ya…it’s hard to gage. There’s no precedent…and dinosaurs don’t count. That’s why I enjoy watching Star Trek, they show a future with “evolved” humans who actually learned from the past. Well…I can dream can’t I?


  4. Welcome back, Isobel. Glad to see you’re still engaged. Unfortunately, as aburares said, exploitation is as strong as ever. I wish I could say it’s just capitalism. But sadly before capitalism, there was feudalism. Before feudalism there was slavery. We’ve been doing this since forever. One hopes that, over time, we as a species can overcome the aspects of ourselves where we exploit both the environment and other beings. There are examples in the natural world so it’s not like it’s impossible.

    BTW… have you heard the new Tim Minchin song? Boy did I laugh!!



    1. DA da da-da da DA…DA da da-da da DA…

      Oh! Hey, Brigand! Thanks for dropping by! Truth is I just really can’t keep my mouth shut (or fingers still)…but in this case, can you blame me? You’re right that slavery has been brought about by, and remained viable due to, many different forces, but I also think that capitalism is currently strongly supporting it’s staying power. Whether we can ever eradicate it is questionable, given human nature, but it’s encouraging that there are a lot of people trying really hard to do something to first, make others aware, and second, to minimize opportunities for exploitation.

      Thanks for the link to the photo…that’s another sad, sad story all on it’s own.


  5. Great to see you writing again! Too bad the subject is so horrifying. I will definitely be looking closer at what I feed my family.


    1. Hi Gina! I’m thrilled to see you here. Thanks for dropping by to comment. 🙂

      it is a disturbing subject, I agree, but the more we’re aware, the better choices we can make. Good luck at the grocery store!


  6. Sadly one or two people are verging of making this a rant against capitalism. Such comments are ill informed, a simple way by which capitalism can be benign is through the exercise of consumer choice. Simply put, I as a consumer feel shocked over Isobel’s article, hey presto I now make endeavours to ensure my fish is properly sourced. As you yourself have mentioned, perhaps unintentionally you defended liberal capitalism.

    Capitalism is a force for good that every single day lifts people out of poverty and gives them choice. None of the world’s socialist mass murder regimes ever achieved that. I wonder what working conditions were like in Stalin’s salt mines?

    On a separate note, another factor that will definitely screw the developing world and keep them back is fuel levies and other such poppycock over supposed global warming.


    1. But Paul, ensuring your fish is properly sourced assumes some sort of regulatory regime, doesn’t it. Perhaps even including enforcement mechanisms. Doesn’t that require some enforcement body. Or are you talking about some self regulating body of erstwhile slave traders. Perhaps they can come up with a fancy label for the fish. Kind of like the Fair Trade coffee labels. “This fish is slavery free. Guaranteed.or your money back. Trust us.”

      Besides, nobody is denying capitalism is effective in lifting up some people. You know, like it did for the Irish during their Famine. Didn’t the market sort that out nicely? The Whigs seem to have trusted the markets kind of like how Stalin trusted collectivization and Lysenko-ism. I suspect that life in Stalin’s salt mines were not much different than life in her Majesty’s coal mines and textile factories in the 19’th century. So if you want to equate Capitalism in its purest form with Stalinism, I’m with you, dude!!

      Jeez, Paul, I didn’t know you were a denier, although, I can’t say I’m surprised. Be careful though, chum, lest someone accuse you of having your own flavour of Lysenko-ism. After all, when you deny the science and deny the observations so that you can keep your ideology from imploding, what else is a person to conclude? Cheers!!


    2. Seriously Paul, I think there are issues here that are far more important than your views on the advantages of capitalism. Yet, this seems to be all you are interesting in commenting on. If you are suggesting that I am a hypocrite for accusing capitalism but at the same time appearing to defend “liberal capitalism”, I really could care less. The reality is that I have to work within a capitalist system and haven’t the power to do anything outside of it’s bounds.

      Every movement has both positive and negative effects. There may be some who have risen to the top because of capitalism, but clearly there are many who suffer. I would like to see you completely disassociate capitalism from these pirate ships. By mentioning Stalin’s salt mines, you do not exonerate capitalism. It’s like trying to prove that tomatoes do not attract fruit flies because corn has borers.

      I’m not sure whether you were trying to make a connection of fuel levies to the pirate ships or whether you thought you might raise some ire here by throwing in a nonchalant comment on global warming. I’m really not interested in discussing global warming on this post, however, if you wish to expand on your point about fuel levies I might have a reply.


  7. Brigand, can you grow up?

    Stalinism=Capitalism (a stupid thing to say)

    Her majesty’s coal mines like Stalin’s regime=another incomprehensibly stupid thing to say (how many elections and trade unions were there under Stalin?)

    The Irish Potato famine (your point here was not clear, also it was hopelessly off topic). But yes capitalism certainly made some Irish wealthy and gave opportunities to many. A simple list of Irish firms would prove that, or indeed look at a telephone directory in UK, US, Canada etc to see the Irish diasporas. Capitalism effectively gave those great people their opportunities, sadly some of them were starving in the 19th century as were people elsewhere in Britain and the British empire. That was life back then. Yet many Irish did prosper afterwards, thanks to capitalism of course.

    ‘Jeez, Paul, I didn’t know you were a denier, although, I can’t say I’m surprised. Be careful though, chum, lest someone accuse you of having your own flavour of Lysenko-ism. After all, when you deny the science and deny the observations so that you can keep your ideology from imploding, what else is a person to conclude? Cheers!!’

    I don’t deny anything, I simply state that the science is unproven as the Royal Institute did last week. With the science unproven teh supposed measures to combat AGW, will exact a harsh price in the developing world. Developing nations need energy it is that simple.

    Your first paragraph is almost unreadable, are you drunk? If you have a point to make please do so, it would be an idea to address a point I make with a referenced argument. Once you have stopped rambling we can debate, with regards to consumerism my point was the same as Isobel’s. Mines a Guinness cheers!


    1. Hi Paul,

      I feel like a mosquito at a nudist colony. Where do I start?

      First I apologize for the imprecise analogy. Stalin sent his enemies and common criminals to work in salt mines as punishment. Seven year old kids were working in coal mines and losing their limbs in textile mills because… um… of … um … errr. Why exactly were seven year olds working in textile mills when Capitalism was in its hey day? When governments refused to intervene in the workings of the markets? I forget. Perhaps you know.

      Next, let’s go with the Irish Potato famine and it’s links to capitalism, or at least its links with capitalist ideology. The premise in your post was that “Capitalism is a force for good that every single day lifts people out of poverty and gives them choice.” That’s an ideological statement. The Irish potato famine is an example of capitalist ideology (if not capitalism per se) run amok where a strict dogma of laissez faire allowed 1 out of 9 Irish to die. Here’s a quote on how well capitalism faired during the Irish Potato Famine:

      “The Whigs were strong believers in free trade and small government. Adam Smith, the greatest economist of the last century had written ‘the free exercise [of trade] is not only the best palliative of the inconveniences of a dearth, but the best preventative of that calamity’. In a mixture of fatalism and complacency, they trusted the free market to supply food to the needy, or at least the most efficient distribution of what food was available.”

      The irony is that there was no malice toward the Irish. There was simply an ideology that “capitalism was a force for good.” The only body with the resources and the organizational capacity to do anything was the state, and it chose not to. Actually, instead, it chose to respect the private property rights of farmers and supplied armed guards to enable them to export their produce. And 1 in 9 Irish died. Why? Because the government of the day believed “Capitalism is a force for good that every single day lifts people out of poverty and gives them choice.” This is no different than the apathy Stalin showed to the Ukrainians who were starved under his forced collectivization. People were allowed to die in furtherance of an ideology. And proportionately, the Irish suffered more than the Ukrainians.

      On Global Warming. I’m not sure which Royal Society you’re talking about. Are you talking about the one that wrote “It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these green house gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years.” That’s right there on the first page of their web site. I say again you are letting your dogmatism influence your judgement. Like Stalin and like Lysenko, his chief scientist who believed socialist science could produce two or three harvests per year, observations be damned. Like the British government of the 1840’s who believed that the capitalism would sort out the Irish famine.

      You claim that the science is unproven. I should draw your attention to the fact that, in science, nothing is proven. Ever. You want proof, become a mathematician. The theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, thermodynamics, the germ theory of disease are all unproven. An observation tomorrow could nullify any one of those theories. In science there is simply evidence. And the evidence for Global Warming, and it’s likely adverse impacts is overwhelming, like it is for evolution (you’re not a creationist, are you?). The counter-evidence is non-existent. The deniers, or the skeptics (if you want to be charitable) are left with nothing but rhetorical (yet fallacious) tricks such as claiming that the small number of (largely typographical) errors in the IPCC report effectively nullify ALL its conclusions and ALL of the science behind it. That’s like claiming that a retraction issued by The Times effectively nullifies the entire newspaper industry. Or even all of journalism.

      Perhaps you don’t doubt that the climate is changing. Perhaps you doubt that the effects will be as dire as the consensus predicts. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the precautionary principle (do you smoke?, wear a seatbelt?). Perhaps you are OK with the fact that we have put ourselves in a petri dish and are running an experiment. Perhaps, as a libertarian, you believe that we’ll deserve what we get. We were free to do otherwise, and we didn’t. So we’ll all deserve the hell we’ll make for ourselves.

      Of course, you in the UK and I in Canada will actually not be that badly off. Well, I’m not so sure about what will happen in the UK. Maybe it will be worse off. But a recent report noted on CBC said that Canada will actually benefit from global warming. And I’m sure capitalists and libertarians will say “whew, drill, baby, drill!!” But as a human being, with an overly developed sense of justice, I’ll look at the millions of climate refugees struggling to get to the shores of my country, and I’ll point at you and say, “this is your doing”, and I’ll take them in. What will you do?


    2. Paul wrote, “I don’t deny anything, I simply state that the science is unproven as the Royal Institute did last week. With the science unproven teh supposed measures to combat AGW, will exact a harsh price in the developing world. Developing nations need energy it is that simple.”

      By definition all science is unprovable. Science can only disprove, as there is always some explanation that is currently beyond our comprehension. GW deniers are a dime a dozen and rarely even know the basics about atmospheric, geological, biological or physical sciences used to understand global warming. You demonstrate scientific illiteracy in claiming human-induced GW can be proven. A very predictable response from one who lives in a conservative echo chamber.

      Isobel. I love your blog. What a beautiful, thoughtful human being you are. I’m giving up seafood entirely. Even without pirate fishing fleets the current fishing levels are probably unsustainable. Perhaps I’ll make an exception for a fish I catch myself after I catch and release about a half dozen.


      1. Hello Steven. Welcome here and thank you for your comment/compliment. I can certainly see the advantages of knowing exactly where your food comes from, the more local the better – or as you said, catching your own. That’s as local as it gets! 🙂


  8. @Isobel
    The fact that I agree with your line of thought in general is easy to explain. We share common grounds and so do MOST of your readers. We are humanists with similar views and an outlook on the state of the world that run along parallel lines. As thus it’s not surprising that we, for instance, oppose war, racism and any idiotic inclination of superiority. We are on the same side of an intellectual divide and able to transcend the clash of civilizations crap on the basis of race, religion and culture.
    I cannot take credit for considering religion (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) equally detrimental to human aspirations. That I group Zionist, Crusaders and Islamist Fundamentalists in one bag of idiots is not an original view of mine either.
    But I can’t for the life of me understand how I might allow myself to go to a Zionist, Crusader or Islamic Fundamentalist blog, which basic premise I oppose, and act like a pest again and again and advance what I think is my RIGHT point of view. Do I really expect that I can change the blog’s owner perspective? Do I hope that I can convert him or her? Or is it perhaps my desperate way to overcome my utter loneliness and isolation in real life?
    A person who thinks he or she is superior by virtue of race, nationality, religion, language and/or place of birth is an IDIOT. If he or she has read history and still thinks that he or she is superior then he or she is a moron.
    I could care less about raising a debate on this blog or on any other. This post of yours is not open to debate actually except perhaps with the pirates themselves.
    I would under normal circumstances keep my peace and snicker alone at the outlandish yelps for attention certain readers of your blog insist on emitting every time. This time, however, I have to hand it to you. Your self restraint and calm are exemplary. I don’t know how you can do it but I admire you for it.
    I’m sorry for the long comment. I really hope that you don’t mind. If I offended others, I don’t give a damn. And, one last thing, whatever fire this comment might draw, I won’t even look back. It’s not worth it 🙂


  9. It’s quite simple to point out how measures that supposedly combat global warming increase poverty. I already said this, but simply put developing economies need energy that is obvious. That energy is most accessible in the form of hydro-carbons. It really is that simple. If it were possible for a developing country to build their economy upon wind or wave power then I would 100% support it. However currently these so called solutions require massive subsidies in the UK alone yet alone the developing world. Simply put we are stuck with oil for now, or maybe coal. If anyone on here can point out an economically viable way of supporting a developing economy without hydrocarbons, I will support it. However in spite of spending a large part of my adult life in the developing world I know no alternative. I certainly would not want to confine these people to poverty by suggesting they limit their use of energy resources due to some hypothetical and unproven theory.

    Brigand, I like it how you addressed my point about Victorian England having Trade Unions and elections. That made it so much like Stalin’s USSR didn’t it? Also well done for explaining how Stalin’s USSR was capitalist! It’s worth pondering how the mass industrialisation of Britain led fully to a modern and democratic country. The Chartists, Trade Unions others ultimately led to Liberal capitalism. That is what I support. Was industrialisation always benign? No but arguably through being held democratically accountable it was. Loads of sources on that But Andrew Marr’s History of Britain is good and that is anything from a left perspective. Onto the Potato famine in Ireland, I reject capitalism was responsible. Rather protectionism was (the passing of laws to limit free trade and protect large corporations). For example earlier famines had been stopped by halting food exports and freeing up the local economy. An example of benign capitalism that perhaps could work elsewhere in the 21st century. Either way the continuation of food exports during the crisis was immoral. A similar disaster blighted the Highlands of Scotland at the same time (where my ancestors were), a variety of factors were in play at causing both tragedies.

    I still maintain Liberal capitalism is good. If anyone has an alternative please tell me. But what communism? US/EU protectionism? Where things are so laissez faire that criminalisation occurs (the example Isobel mentions) then of course prosecutions are in order. The examples of fish piracy are not liberal capitalism.

    Abu Fares, hi mate! I don’t wish to debate with you either so chill out. There must be loads of other places where you can indulge your anti-Semitism conspiracies (see what was said by AF on the page concerning the Collateral murder), so calm down. Although I doubt the owners of such sites are as nice as Isobel. I’ll debate the issues of AGW another time, I believe the climate may change but don’t accept or at least find it very hard to accept that mankind is responsible. As do numerous scientists, sources to follow if necessary.


    1. Before I say anything else, Paul, I must put my foot down. Do not throw around the phrase anti-semitism on my blog. This is a serious accusation. I will not stand for racism of any sort here and I would be the first to moderate out any comment containing it. Abufares has been a long-time and reasonable commenter here. Because he happens to disagree with your views on Israel does not make him an anti-semite. In fact, I agree with his views and would verbally tear anyone to shreds who accused me of being anti-semitic. Taking a stand against Israel’s actions toward the Palestinians does not make one anti-semitic. I hope I make myself clear.

      Now, as for the “measures to combat global warming increasing poverty” comment, I’m going to take a leap here…and guess at the connection you are inferring. You are saying that these measures are contributing to the rise in illegal ships, fishing, and slavery? I don’t disagree that laws brought in by the developed world may be making some things more difficult for the developing world. But by the same token, one could say that this may be another fault of capitalism in that it is a system that does not support fair trade worldwide. I think it’s clear from the rising corruption that many things laws, economic systems, etc. need to be re-examined and altered to suit an ever changing world.


    2. Oh here you go again Paul, using a scientific theory as if it were equal to the lay use of the term. Take a science class before misrepresenting every basic tenant of science.


    1. Paul,

      you’re going to have to define your terms, mate. What do you mean by “Liberal Capitalism?”. I thought you meant, being a Libertarian, a “get-out-of-my-way-and-let-me-be-a-capitalist” Capitalism. If you are really talking about a form of attenuated capitalism, within a framework of social democracy, trade unionism, social security, etc. then I think we have some common ground. But if you are a Tea Partier, then we have very little common ground.

      My point earlier was in response to your moral statement about “capitalism being a good”. I was simply countering one reductio ad absurdum argument with another. Capitalism is like a shovel, you can dig a well with it, or you can bash somebody over the head with it. Capitalism is amoral, and, like for a shovel, it’s a mistake to imbue it with moral qualities. Capitalism has nothing to say about slavery. Capitalism functions quite well where there are elections, and where there are none. Capitalism functioned quite well in Hitler’s Germany where a lot of the work was done by slave labour. (there, I did it. I brought Hitler into the discussion. Goes Godwin apply? Do I lose?)

      Capitalism as an ideology didn’t cause the potato crops to fail. But as an ideology, it did lead to preventable deaths for over a million people when governments deliberately stood back and allowed it to occur. This is well documented as one of the factors in the famine. Adam Smith’s book was still relatively new and the ideas were, shall we say still fresh. Reject it all you like, but you are just making unsupported assertions.

      You use trade unions and elections to show that capitalism is a better model. That confused me since trade unionism is a counterforce to capitalism. Trade unionism arose as a reaction to capitalism. Do you doubt that ideological capitalists would prefer to go about their business without trade unions? Trade unions and elections are examples of collectivism (something to which I alluded in my first comment as a counter to Capitalism). Its propaganda and rhetoric notwithstanding, Stalinism was not collectivism. It was authoritarianism at its most extreme.

      On global warming, you seem to have recanted on the idea that it’s poppycock? I’m happy to see that. But you seem to think that the answer to global warming is for developing countries to reduce their CO2 output. What an absurd thing to think. They hardly produce any CO2 now. The simple act of breathing produces CO2. Who said anything about South Africans, or Mauritanians or Dominicans reducing their CO2 output. If we accept the moral premise that all humans are equal, then the answer is obvious.


  10. Paul

    You can’t stigmatize a person as per your twisted sense of morality. If you really believe, deep inside, that I’m anti-Semitic I honestly could care less. I’m as Semitic as old Sam himself. If you meant anti-Jewish then again you’re wrong. I’m anti-religious, when religion takes a political dimension and extends beyond the boundaries of a home.
    If, however, you meant that I’m anti-Israeli occupation of Palestinian land then sure I am but so is the majority of the human race. I have no compelling reason to be in love with Israel and I do equate Zionism with Nazism. Again, I wish I came out with this obvious analogy but I can’t take the credit for myself. I have more Semitic friends, acquaintances and family than you’ve ever met in your entire life or likely to meet. You can’t just call people names, like Israelis do, and expect to gain legitimacy this way. You are pro-Israeli but I never assumed you are anti-Arab for instance, even if you are.
    And Paul… in an alternate one-dimensional (linear) universe some one (or something) might actually like you or even find you interesting. So cheer up mate!


  11. Oh and quickly Brig, Hitler’s Germany was not capitalist, nor was Stalin’s Russia. Both were authoritarian Socialist regimes, the Nazis having a peculiar racialised form of National Socialism. They both had planned economies, which as you correctly point out ran off slave labour. Ironically Stalin’s form killed more, he was better at the collectivisation. Plus it’s always easier to repress your own than invade and repress others (although Stalin also did that of course). We haven’t even got round to discussing Mao, no one knows for sure how many he killed. I’m through with discussing the potato famine, apart from saying protectionism caused it and it was clearly an appalling example of neglect.


    1. Paul,

      there were 9 stock exchanges operating in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. There was even trading in the cellars once the exchange buildings had been bombed out by the allies.

      The local German baker was self employed. He charged for his services. People bought and sold goods. It was capitalism. There were more wartime restrictions and rationing in the UK than there were in Germany. Man you are confused. Or you keep shifting the goal posts and redefining capitalism as your arguments are shot down. It was Capitalism that enjoyed the benefits of slave labour. An astute capitalist could have made a killing had the nazi’s not lost the war. Heck, Paul, it’s even been represented in popular culture with Stephen Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”. Oscar Schindler was a capitalist businessman. Jeez, man.

      You don’t like the Nazi example? How about Pinochet’s Chile where the “Chicago boys” had a permanent suite in the presidential palace.

      You know what your problem is, you live in a world of dichotomies. You seem to think that if not “liberal capitalism” then Maoism/Stalinism/Nazism. Where do you get that? No one is advocating authoritarianism. The examples you cited (elections, trade unions) are excellent counter forces to pure capitalism. These forces were suppressed in 1930’s Germany, whilst capitalism was not.

      You keep shifting your position on Global Warming too. You say global warming is “poppycock”, then you seem to reverse your position and say you deny nothing. You say that the Royal Society says Global Warming is unproven, I quote you a sentence from their site where they say it is “a near certainty”. Now you say I’ve proven that CO2 is harmless. Where do you get that? Because we exhale it? This is a classic continuum fallacy. Take a course in logic, man. You sound like that wacko, lord Moncton.

      It’s funny watching a denier — and you are one — deal with their cognitive dissonance. You ignore the fact that the Royal Society, one of the more prestigious scientific bodies in the world, describes AGW as a “near certainty” and latch on to a comment I made in passing about respiration proving that CO2 is harmless. It’s the only way a denier can reinforce his biases. You pick and choose what your hear, and then you put your hands over your ears and yell “la la la” for the rest. And you do it because otherwise you’ll have to acknowledge that “liberal Capitalism” cannot solve this problem. That collective intervention by bodies outside the market will be required. And if you acknowledge that, your world view will implode, and your head might explode.

      I’m going to type slowly now, and spell it out for you so it doesn’t go past you. Here we go; pay attention now. Most animals, like for respiration, will always produce CO2 as a byproduct of their activities. Somewhere between the amount of CO2 emitted per capita by countries like the US on the one extreme, and countries like Mauritius on the the other is an equitable, sustainable level CO2 emissions that we can carry on forever without being the ones driving climate change. Developing countries have plenty of room to increase their CO2 emissions. However the developed countries will have to reduce theirs. You see, it doesn’t necessarily produce poverty. And because they got rich putting all that CO2 into the air, it will be the developed economies’ responsibility to subsidize the alternative sources for those who would otherwise emulate us. You know, as in leading by example. And you see, we need not impose poverty on developing nations.

      — Cheers.


  12. A simple reference that goes some way to display the lack of scientific consensus. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10178124

    It is clear from the above that there is no consensus of opinion at the Royal Society. So the science is unproven and that for me seems a dubious reason for ruining an economy.

    ‘Developing countries have plenty of room to increase their CO2 emissions. However the developed countries will have to reduce theirs. You see, it doesn’t necessarily produce poverty. And because they got rich putting all that CO2 into the air, it will be the developed economies’ responsibility to subsidize the alternative sources for those who would otherwise emulate us.’

    Your plan for this is? There isn’t one Brig, what are we going to do pay a fortune for Brazil to utilize wave power off their coastline? Set up wind farms across India? There is a good reason why the UK has not done that already, the ‘renewables’ are unsustainable economically. Hydrocarbons are not however. That is why the world needs them. Come on now seriously there is a reason why Holland moved away from windmills isn’t there? I will say this though, my point is about energy and if the non-hydrocarbon sources were viable economically (nuclear may be although there are other issues) I would happily support them. I mean regardless of whether AGW is caused by man or not, if wind power was a better source than oil, the world would already be using it.

    I strongly urge you to read more history. I know you are not some kind of unreconstructed Marxist (they usually hang around Sociology departments away from the real world). But there was little capitalist about National Socialism. The baker in Nazi Germany was obliged to operate to strict government quotas, even Oskar Schindler would have been limited to what he could have produced by forced labour and over regulation. The most successful war economy was the US guess how Socialist that was? A tiny point but in fact German rationing was far stricter than British, even in 1940. Read Richard Overy’s excellent work on ww2 (why the Allies won and the Battle of Britain) for examples. Also read Albert Speers own memoirs of the time. The Nazi State was a hideous example of bureaucracy and over-planning. So was the USSR of course, its moot as to whether the Soviet economy could have produced as much as it did without western support and they too used slave labour.

    I suppose you could describe the wartime economies as German-planned authoritarian Socialist, USSR- Planned, authoritarian Socialist/communist. UK- Social democracy/capitalist? US- Liberal, regulated capitalism.

    I’m not the only who sees dichotomies, when I mentioned the success of Irish business, you ranted about the potato famine. A case of two legs bad, four legs good.


    1. Paul;

      In 1939 the US economy was in a shambles. In 1943 it was booming. The difference was the war, a government endeavour, accompanied by huge government stimulus. Like in Germany. Yet both maintained private property, both had functioning stock exchanges, both had businesspeople, presidents and CEO’s of companies. In both countries the bakers owned their shops. In both countries the bakers were subject to rationing. You claim the the exigencies of war don’t matter and the necessary government interventions to fight the war”prove” that it wasn’t capitalism. But that would be the case both in the US and Germany — and the UK. And so it was either capitalism in both or capitalism in neither. If someone was able to turn a profit by making a trade in the Frankfurt stock exchange in 1941, then it was capitalism. If the baker was able to make a living by selling his produce, wartime exigencies notwithstanding, then it was capitalism. Stop trying to define capitalism in some narrow libertarian way. People can make a profit employing slave labour or free labour that’s capitalism. Irrespective of relative efficiencies.

      Here’s another example straight from Wikipedia:

      “This activity was not only countenanced by Thomas Watson and IBM in America, Black argues, but was actively encouraged and financially supported, with Watson himself traveling to Germany in October 1933 and the company ramping up its investment in its German subsidiary from 400,000 to 7,000,000 reichsmarks — about $1 million.[17] This injection of American capital allowed Dehomag to purchase land in Berlin and to construct IBM’s first factory in Germany, Black charges, thereby “tooling up for what it correctly saw as a massive financial relationship with the Hitler regime.”

      Again, remember my working premise: It is not that Capitalism is a moral evil and must be destroyed. It is that it is morally neutral and can function in or with authoritarian regimes or democracies, with slave labour or with free labour.

      —– On Global Warming —
      So that BBC article was dated May of this year. The final report was to come out by September. It did. But first, 47 people out of 1300 in the Society have qualms, and you say that there’s no consensus. You are confusing consensus with unanimity. You want unanimity, move to North Korea.

      So point number 2:

      “There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation. The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty. Nevertheless, the risks associated with some of these changes are substantial. It is important that decision makers have access to climate science of the highest quality, and can take account of its findings in formulating appropriate responses.”

      Let’s set aside the science for a second. Your objections to the science are not as vociferous as they might be so I’m betting you have a grudging acceptance of it. You know, when I take my garbage to the dump, I drive my truck onto a scale, and they weigh it. I pay a fee based on the volume of garbage I’m dumping. Funny thing is, the garbage I emit from my tailpipe as I drive to the dump is free. I pay a sewer surcharge on my water bill, yet, on my home heating bill I pay nothing for what I emit from my chimney. That just strikes me as perverse. That’s why the Dutch moved away from windmills.


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