Friday, February 23, 2007
Contrary to claims made by cotton producing and exporting nations in West Africa ( i.e. C4: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad), the collapse of the cotton sector in West Africa is not exclusively linked to US cotton subsidies. Although US trade distorting cotton subsidies are creating a structural over-supply of cotton, resulting in a decline of cotton lint prices on the world market, they are not at the root cause of the collapse of the cotton sector in West Africa; furthermore, their elimination alone will NOT revive the cotton sector in West Africa and will NOT improve the economic and the social welfare of the small-scale West African cotton farmers, contrary to claims made by the (so-called) and self-appointed representatives of West African cotton farmers.
In fact, a study conducted by Brazil on the impact of US cotton subsidies on the world market price of cotton (lint) clearly indicates that an outright suppression of US cotton subsidies will only have a marginal impact on the price of cotton. According to the findings of this report, a suppression of US cotton subsidies will only increase the world price of cotton lint by an average of $50 per metric ton, which is clearly insignificant to revive the cotton sector and/or to improve the economic and social welfare of the small-scale cotton farmers in West Africa. Furthermore, any initial relative increase in the price of cotton resulting from the suppression of US cotton subsidies will be naturally offset by the “invisible hand” of the market (equilibrium forces of supply and demand).
Thus, as the above findings clearly reveal, the collapse of the cotton sector in West Africa is not exclusively related to US cotton subsidies and the outright suppression of US cotton subsidies by itself is NOT the solution to revive the cotton sector in West Africa.
“A well defined problem is half resolved” (Einstein)
The root causes of the collapse of the cotton sector in West Africa
1) NO-LOCAL VALUE ADDITION OF COTTON :
The governments of cotton producing and exporting nations in West Africa have failed – over the last +40 years since (so-called) independence - to put in place the infrastructures and policies to process the cotton locally throughout the supply chain, from spinning yarn, weaving fabrics, printing & dyeing, designing to garment manufacturing.
Local value-addition of cotton would create desperately lacking and needed employment and would generate income within the sector and throughout the economy, thereby effectively reducing poverty among the local population. Furthermore, local value-addition would create a local market for cotton, thus enabling cotton producing nations in Africa break-free from the vicious trap cycle of trade distorting US cotton subsidies and from the dictate of the world market. West Africa only produces around 5% of the global cotton supply; thus, it has no influence over the price of cotton on the world market ( price taker). Finally, local value-addition of cotton would provide decent and affordable clothing to the local population, made with African cotton using Afican labor and designs that reflect African cultures and traditions, thus breaking the trap cycle of neo-colonial economic policy which consists of exporting raw cotton and importing used clothing in return – at a financial loss - for the local population (to add insult to injury!)
2) EXPLOITATION OF COTTON FARMERS BY THE STATE
The cotton sector in West Africa has been under State control since (so-called) independence and the State has exploited its cotton farmers over the last + 40 forty years, by paying them extremely low prices for their cotton seed ( if they paid them at all!), collecting high taxes and other coercive fees, selling farm inputs to cotton farmers at extremely high prices, etc., and getting extremely rich in the process at the expense of the farmers.
3) MISMANAGEMENT OF COTTON SECTOR BY THE STATE
The State has mismanaged the entire sector over the last + 40 years: It has failed to provide extension services, research, training, seeds, capital, equipment and other farm inputs to cotton farmers to help them increase their yield and improve their income. The State has limited itself to exploiting the cotton farmers through extremely low-farm gate prices, high input prices, high taxes, etc. while securing a monopoly over the purchase of seed cotton, the expensive supply of farm inputs, and the processing, marketing and exporting of cotton lint, generating huge profits for itself in the process, at the expense of the cotton farmers.
As a direct result of all of the above, and the more recent world price decline of cotton resulting from the effects of US cotton subsidies, the entire cotton sector in West Africa has collapsed, throwing millions of cotton farmers deeper into poverty.
Today, with cotton lint prices at a record low, the State and its coercive, parasitic and exploitative State-owned cotton organizations in West Africa are entirely blaming US cotton subsidies for the collapse of the cotton sector in their respective West African countries and are pretending to be representing, defending and fighting for the economic and social welfare of their cotton farmers. In reality, they themselves are entirely to blame for the collapse of the cotton sector – due to their own exploitation of their cotton farmers and mismanagement of their cotton sectors- and for the misery and extreme poverty of the cotton farmers in their respective countries. In fact, they are only fighting for their own economic interests (i.e. loss of profit from exports of cotton lint due to low world price). in the name of the welfare of the West African cotton farmers.
The solution to revive the cotton sector in West Africa and to improve the social and economic welfare of both local cotton farmers and the local population at large lies in LOCAL VALUE ADDITION. *Local value-addition of cotton would create desperately lacking and needed employment and would generate income within the sector and throughout the economy, thereby effectively reducing poverty among the local population. Furthermore, local value-addition would create a local market for cotton, thus enabling cotton producing nations in Africa break-free from the vicious trap cycle of trade distorting US cotton subsidies and from the dictate of the world market. Last but not least, it will provide decent clothing to the local population made with local cotton by Africans using designs that reflect African cultures, designs and traditions. Thus, processing the cotton locally would revive both the cotton and textile sector and positively reduce poverty among the local population.
Note: *Local value-addition in this context refers to hand-processing techniques used to process cotton - from the cotton fields to spinning yarn, weaving fabrics, printing & dyeing to making garments - using very simple and inexpensive hand-operated machinery and tools that can be operated in the cotton growing villages without the use of electricity, using environmentally-friendly and ecologically-sustainable production methods and non-exploitative labor practices. (Production by the masses vs mass production.)
As Gandhi said: " You cannot build a non-violent society on a factory civilization; exploitation is the essence of violence."
( For details, please see complete analysis of the collapse of the cotton & textile sector in sub-Saharan Africa and proposed solution for its revival on this blog. Document title: The collapse of the cotton and textile sector in sub-Saharan Africa)
Thursday, February 22, 2007
“Fighting poverty” under the current global economic system is like fighting steam in a Turkish bath…
The global economic system is itself creating mass global human misery and poverty. The current global economic system rests and prospers on the foundation of human exploitation, oppression, enslavement and economic injustice, which inevitably bears fruits of human misery, suffering, poverty and hunger, which is the worst form of violence.
Thus, human misery and poverty are a direct result of the unfair and unjust global economic system. Thus, to put an end to human poverty, we must change the global economic system and build it on the Moral foundation of economic and social justice. Moreover, the outer world is only a reflection of our inner world. Thus, as Gandhi said:
“We must be the change we seek to see in this world…”
“You cannot build a non-violent society on the foundation of exploitation. Exploitation is the essence of violence…
The extension of the Law of non-violence in the domain of economics means nothing less than the introduction of Moral Laws to be used in guiding international commerce.” Mahatma Gandhi.
Thus, we must build a new global economic system built on the foundation of non-violence laid by Mahatma Gandhi and governed by Moral Laws governing the Universe and operating within ourselves.
MORAL LAWS GOVERNING THE UNIVERSE ( To be used in guiding international commerce)
1) To find a ready market for the uncompetitive (and heavily–subsidized) US cotton yarns and fabrics.
2) To get access to cheap (slave) labor in sub-Saharan Africa - through infamous Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or better described as Enslavement Processing Zones- for the manufacture of garments made using US cotton yarn and fabrics and destined for the US market.
3) To generate huge profits for US-based garment traders who market and sell the garments thus produced back in the US.
1) US Cotton and textile industry ( i.e. industrial cotton growers, spinners, weavers, traders, etc.)
2) US garment industry ( traders, wholesalers, retailers, shippers, etc.)
African cotton farmers
Cotton and textile industry in sub-Saharan Africa ( ginners, spinners, weavers, etc)
US cotton subsidies & AGOA: The last nail in the coffin of the African cotton & textile sector…
Both, US (illegal) cotton subsidies and the AGOA are at the root cause of the collapse of the entire cotton sector in sub-Saharan Africa. US trade distorting cotton subsidies lead to a structural over supply of cotton, resulting in a decline of cotton prices on the world market. As a result, non-subsidized small-scale African cotton farmers are unable to compete and are driven out of cotton farming due to continuously declining prices of cotton and increasing prices of imported farming inputs resulting from unfair global Terms of Trade. As a direct result, the entire cotton sector in sub-Saharan Africa has collapsed and millions of small-scale African cotton farmers have been thrown deeper into poverty.
Third Country Clause under AGOA
The Third Country Clause under AGOA allows African countries to import yarn and fabrics from the US and from other countries outside Africa. Thus, under this model, the African cotton sector does not benefit since the yarns and fabrics used in the production of garments under the AGOA scheme is made from cotton grown and processed in the country of origin outside Africa. Furthermore, the yarn and fabrics have themselves been processed using subsidies and made with heavily subsidized cotton in the country of origin, thus further threatening and preventing the revival of the cotton sector in sub-Saharan Africa.
Thus, AGOA is exclusively serving the economic interests of the US Cotton , textile and garment industry at the expense of the cotton sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, the 3rd country clause directly favors the US and other non-African cotton and textile industries at the expense of the local African cotton & textile sector.
In this biased and unfair context, how can Africa revive both its cotton and textile sectors? US Cotton subsidies have led to the collapse of the African cotton sector and AGOA has sealed the coffin of both the cotton and the textile sector. How can Africa produce its own fabrics if it is prevented from growing its own cotton…?
US Cotton subsidies and the AGOA are the last nails that have definitely sealed the coffin of the African cotton and textile sector.
THE BUSINESS OF POVERTY ( An overview of a growing and lucrative sector)
The business of poverty is a highly profitable and lucrative business venture. Those who chose to work in this field can live very comfortable lives ( i.e. + 5 digits annual salaries, villas, servants, 6 weeks annual paid-holidays, etc.) and prosper at the expense of the countless and the unlimited supply of the billions of poor, exploited and oppressed people from around the world. Furthermore, poverty is a market in constant expansion resulting from widespread global economic and social injustice, resulting in an unlimited supply of poor and oppressed people around the world, which in turn creates a pool of unlimited business opportunities around the world for those who possess the “skills” to tap into this lucrative market ( see qualifications and skills required below) Poverty is truly a global business with global opportunities, and “development experts” predict that the exponential growth in poverty is a long-term trend which is recession free!
Thus, all morally deprived individuals must seize this opportunity by tapping into the lucrative and highly profitable business of poverty. Forget about Information Technology, Manufacturing, Services, etc. These sectors have been lost to modern slave laborers in slave-wage countries who are more than happy to work as Coolies of the West for slave wages under slavery conditions.
Thus, prepare yourselves to acquire the skills needed to work in this highly lucrative and exponentially expanding market by becoming a certified “DEVELOPMENT EXPERT” “FIGHTING POVERTY” in less than 2 weeks! You will learn to master the art of deception and the art of hypocrisy and learn valuable lessons on HOW TO PROSPER AND LIVE A VERY COMFORTABLE LIFE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE POOR, THE EXPLOITED AND THE OPPRESSED FROM AROUND THE WORLD, WHILE PRETENDING TO BE HELPING THEM.
THE COLLEGE OF THE BUSINESS OF POVERTY
Offers two-weeks courses on how to become a “Development expert” “fighting poverty” around the world.
Learn how to become an expert human parasite in two weeks and tap into the highly lucrative and ever-growing business of poverty
HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT HUMAN PARASITE
Art of deception
Falsehood and Lies ( How to master these essential working tools)
How to prosper at the expense of the poor, the oppressed and exploited people from around the world, while pretending to be helping them…
Indifference to human misery and suffering (Introduction)
PREREQUISITES/QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED TO BE ADMITTED TO THIS PROGRAM:
1) MORALLY DEPRIVED/BANKRUPT
4) HUMAN PARASITE ( The ability to live off and profit from other peoples’ miseries)