rn: Vandana S.’s points and economic/political principles


Jan Slakov

from: Address witheld by request
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 10:20:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: rn: Vandana Shiva: significance of Seattle

Hi Jan,

I'll read the rest of your post shortly, one thing that popped out at me was

"The post Seattle challenge is to change the global trade rules and national
food and agricultural policies so that these practices can be nurtured and
spread and eco..."

I think what people in all our countries are going to have to realize is
that the best way to secure responsible inter-national trade regimes is to
have sovereign, responsive democracies.  It's a lot to ask but any global
arrangements are going to benefit globally strong entities like the US, like
corporations.  Independent nation states with strong local economies go
against the globalization agenda.

Trade between countries should be mutually beneficial, if it can't be shown
to be so it shouldn't happen.  The free exchange of goods, capital, jobs,
etc. is a faith based religion and one that needs to be reconsidered
especially by those opposing the status quo.  It may be here, but working
with it legitimizes it.


Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 12:34:45 -0800
From: Ed Deak <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn: Vandana Shiva: significance of Seattle

At 08:36 AM 13/12/1999 -0400, Jan Slakov wrote:
>Dear RN,                  Dec. 13

"Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
>Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 23:58:48 +0000
>Subject: Significance of Seattle by Vandana Shiva 
>This is a  powerful critique of the WTO, an  articulate and 
>informed  interpretation of the meaning of  the "rebellion on the 
>streets and the rebellion within the W.T.O."  and it is an empowering 
>entreaty for the  new  global citizen-based and citizen-driven 
>democratic order which has  emerged.  Vandana Shiva  is,  as always,  
>compellingly convincing  !
>From: Vandana Shiva, Research Foundation <•••@••.•••>
>1. Diversity rather than monocultures to ensure higher output per acre.
>2. Decentralisation and localisation in place of centralisation and
>3. Ecological processes instead of industrial processes of farming.
>4. Food rights and food security rather than free-trade as the basis of
>5. Democratic control rather than corporate control of the food system.
>6. Patent-free and genetic engineering free farming to ensure the respect
>and protection of  all species and the integrity of ecosystems and
>cultures.  This involves excluding life forms from TRIPS and Biosafety from
>W.T.O rules of free trade.
>7. Cultural diversity in place of the global monoculture of fast foods and
>industrial food chains.
>8. Small farms and small farmers in place of corporate farms and absentee
>land owners.  This involves protection of existing small farms and land
>reforms to redistribite land.
>9. Fair trade, not free trade, to ensure farmers and producers get a fair
>return.  Trade as a means rather than end, with global trade subservient to
>values of ecological sustainability, health and social justice.
>From Ed;

What Vandana describes and demands here is pure and simple, logical and
scientific economic efficiency. I am happy to see that more and more people
are coming to this same conclusion, although they may not realize it at the

You may remember that a few weeks ago I posted a very short version of my 14
year old economic efficiency principle. The 9 points by Vandana fit my
prinicple like a glove. I won't get back to the obvious once again, let's
just put the principle and Vandana's points into the simplest terms:

"Economic efficiency equals ecological efficiency, equals physical or
engineering efficiency." This means the largest output with the least
resource/energy inputs. (This is ignored by neo-classical economists, who
distorted the concept of efficiency to fit their ideological hallucinations.)

The above, in turn, means: "The purpose of economics is the provision of the
largest number of sectors with the necessities of life, with the least
amount of resource/energy inputs" This, again fits Vandana's points, but is
distorted by neo-classicists.

The presently accepted neo-classical, academic definition of economic
efficiency is: "The largest monetary returns for the least monetary inputs".
This is a fraudulent concept. When we demand lowest "resource/energy inputs"
we establish an ironclad, unalterable law. However, monetary terms are
totally meaningless, as they can be infinitely distorted and controlled by a
special interest group. Monetary values do not represent ecological or human
values, are undefined and can be used as weapons of violence, or blackmail
to distort realities and concepts of trade. 

When monetary terms are used to define efficiency, as in automated
production and monoculture, the resource/energy inputs always increase,
therefore they are inefficient. These inefficiencies are never accounted for
by economists, but dismissed as intangibles and transferred on the ecology
and humanity in the forms of destruction, destitution, depletion, pollution,
health problems, global warming, etc. This is also pointed out by Vandana
and many others in roundabout ways, although they may not realize the
reasons for the damage.

E.g. We recently have read claims, very characteristic, everyday occurrences
for the neo-classical economic system, that 100 million Chinese peasants
have been forced off the land to make room for "economically feasible
farming", with more dislocations on the way. Farmers are under pressure all
over the world to sell out to corporations and move to the cities. 

The rationale behind these actions is to create "economically feasible
farming units",
"the efficiency of numbers" and to "cut costs and prices and become more
efficient". All these concepts and slogans are outright fraud, because the
enery requirements of people living in cities is far greater than of those
in rural communities. When people lose their jobs to automation in demand of
the "efficiency of numbers", transferred costs also automatically rise,
because the energy base to fill the needs of the artificial capital and of
the dispossessed workers must be expanded, which in turn causes calculable
reactions.  Therefore, no matter what the temporary monetary perceptions of
monocropping are, the real costs are increased just by the facts of
urbanization, but are not accounted in reports and are transferred on the
ecology and society in general. 

When one sector receives that promised great "wealth" and "price cuts" the
living standards of others go down. There's no escape from this simple fact
and we can witness it at work every day in our own lives. The simple model
of this would be a bowl of water. If we tilt the bowl the level of the water
remains horizontal, but one side of the bowl will be covered, the other
remains dry. This is exactly how real economics work: The benefits are
transferred on one side, while the other pays more than their share, often
with their lives. 

In conclusion: We shall not see a better world until the true concepts of
economic efficiency are accepted and implemented. This is an impossible
dream under the present monetary system, which is designed and built around
the convertibility of manmade, artificial money into resources without any
accounting of the consequences.  

Our money today is not a tool of trade, or the symbol of any sort of
reality, but true and simple "licence to control energy", which then can be
used to buy soes, or food, or deforest the world, or enslave millions. There
are no limits to it's use.

The peasants in Vandana's paper are not necessarily dispossessed by criminal
intent, but 
by the demands of irresponsibly created, endless amount of artificial money
for conversion into tangible assets to maintain perceived values. The banks
create the money and by our globalized madness any government anywhere must
submit to it's demands, regardless of consequences, or else.......... This
is what I call the Money Pyramid, where the Money God sits on top.  

The WTO, IMF and WB are nothing more than the sacrificial altars to the
Money God who hath no physical body, but liveth in computers, feeding on the
faith of the suckers.   

Cheers, Ed  (Ed Deak, Big Lake, BC, Canada