Kia Ora all, I’m Paul Bailey, Green Party spokesperson for Hawkes Bay and I’ve been thinking about globalisation.
Last weekend our family attended Wings over Wairarapa. What a great day it was. On the return journey my kids insisted that we stop at the playground in Pahiatua.
The playground, renamed Harvard Park after a $100,000 revamp, is the one that has the Harvard Airplane slide.
What inspired me, and other parents I spoke to who were also taking a break at the park, were the different activities available for kids. Some comment was made about the park not having the same play equipment as every other park in the country. It was these comments got me thinking about globalisation.
Whilst globalisation may good for consumers in that we get cheep TVs, outdoor furniture, cars, and other consumer goods, everything seems the same the world over. I still remember when travelling to another town or city seemed exotic because it seemed so different. Now every place seems to be a facsimile of everywhere else. Perhaps I am looking through rose tinted glasses but I don’t think so.
There are other, perhaps more critical, downsides to having everything the same. As our markets become less diverse and our products become more of a commodity rather than having any significant point of differentiation, we loose our competitive advantage. What does Lamb Country actually mean when one lamb tastes like another?
Also with globalisation, not only does capital move freely across borders, but so does labour. We seem to have exported many of our manufacturing jobs to China so that we can save a few dollars at the warehouse. We seem to have lost focus on the fact that it is far better for society as a whole to have full employment.
The Green party is not anti trade. We are against free trade because it is not really free. This is because free trade proponents such as the US still have for example substantial subsidies for their farmers, and restrictions on the amount of meat we can export there. Free trade is not really free when other countries do not have the same protections for their labour markets or environment meaning the cost of production is so much lower than in NZ. How can our manufactures compete with one hand tied behind their back?
Instead of free trade the Green Party is in favour of, and supports fair trade. With fair trade everyone operates on a level playing field and diversity is encouraged. Everyone has equal opportunity, whilst barriers to trade are still removed. It’s just that under free trade, large corporates are not given an unfair advantage to the detriment of smaller producers. What more could you ask?
Thanks for listening, I’m Paul Bailey, Green Party Spokesperson for Hawkes Bay.