26th June 2009
I read with interest the letter by former Nationals candidate Peter McFarlane regarding the discussion about the negative side of globalization.
Disregarding an apparently slight degree of paranoia that a plague of former One Nation candidates appear to be on the horizon, Mr. McFarlane appears to willfully ignore the points made in the letters written by both Mr. Aldridge and myself.
The issue is not one of building a so called “protectionist wall” around our nation and cutting off any degree of two way trade. The issue is the fact that our nation’s leaders appear content to pursue a mythical level playing field in which we are supposed to compete against other nations’ economies which operate with a vast amount of cheap and often slave labour, yet still maintain a system of tariffs to protect their own economies. Foolishly, the advocates of liberalization think that the rest of the world will come to the party if only Australia continues to lead the way by example.
Mr. McFarlane claims that liberalization has given Australia it’s high standard of living. Perhaps he would care to explain how a person’s standard of living is improved as the factory gates are closed behind him, or the income from his farm is undercut by cheap imports?
If “protectionism through tariffs” is so detrimental to international trade, perhaps Mr.McFarlane would care to explain why Australian lamb exports to the US rose during the years of the Clinton Administration, a government quite content to defend their local producers through a system of sensible tariffs?
Those of us who seek a return through government policy to a system of limited protectionism do so out of concern for the livelihoods of those few local producers who remain. The policies are not dissimilar to those advocated by current and former Nationals MPs, Barnaby Joyce and Bob Katter.
For Australians to practice economic nationalism in the face of the failed and disastrous policy of so called economic rationalism by merely supporting, to the best of their ability, our local producers and industries should not be met with disdain and derision by those who have nothing to lose.
If Mr. McFarlane does not wish to support his fellow Australians, perhaps he is living in the wrong country.