Tuesday, 30 November 2010

COP-4, sadism and selfish economics

I'm not an agricultural economist, however I feel entitled to agree with the sentiments behind this post. Attempting to destroy the market value of a crop in a country such as Malawi where living into one's fifties is a luxury, in order to attempt to buy few years of life, is an act of sabotage and quite unspeakably self-centred. No doubt there are people who will claim that it is the tobacco industry that is tying farmers to poverty, but they are happy to contemplate ruining the market for burley tobacco without first being assured that there are alternative crops that will grow in areas previously given over to tobacco farming, and for which there are markets.


The Tobacco Free Association of Zambia has attacked its government's stance on the World Health Organisation, says the Framework Convention Alliance.
The Tobacco-Free Association of Zambia (TOFAZA) says it is against such wild accusations, and against calling for amendments to relevant Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) articles. As a result TOFAZA is calling on its government to apologise to WHO for its unwarranted attacks.
The Zambian Government does well to defend an industry on which impoverished farmers depend. The farmers are caught by the tobacco industry, not because tobacco industry is inherently evil, but because that is the way that industry behaves to vulnerable actors within its grasp. All industries would behave the same if not regulated, and in industries were not regulated in this country, children would still be going up chimneys and down mines. Would the right answer have been to have banned the energy industry or stopped people lighting fires? Of course not ... regulation has to occur if the powerless are to be protected – but not by closing it down.


Anyone wanting to see some photos of the proceeding of COP-4 may proceed here. Note the installation of large cigarettes in front of the conference venue: are they trying to make people desperate to smoke?

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