Tag Archives: Globalization

Ezra Levant testifies to Parliamentary committee on ethical oil drilling

Ezra Levant

Ezra Levant’s testimony to the Parliamentary Natural Resources committee is a nice summary of his thesis in his new book “Ethical Oil”. (H/T Andrew)

An excerpt from Ezra Levant’s testimony:

One day we might discover a fuel source with no environmental side-effects, that is affordable and practical. But until that day comes, we need oil.

Not just us, but the United States, to whom we sell 1.4 million barrels of oilsands oil every day. And last year, more cars were sold in China than in the U.S. And they all want to be two-car families too, and same for India and the rest of the developing world.

So the choice isn’t oilsands oil versus some fantasy fuel of the future. It’s oilsands oil versus oil from the other places where oil comes from – mainly OPEC countries. I don’t know what God was thinking when he was handing out oil, but he gave it to the world’s bastards – places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria. Out of the top ten countries ranked by oil reserves, Canada is the only western, liberal democracy on the list.

That doesn’t matter if all you care about is driving your car. It all burns the same. But what about the ethics of the oil?

In my book, Ethical Oil, I suggest four liberal values by which we should judge the morality of a barrel of oil: respect for the environment; peace; fair wages for workers; and human rights.

I compare oilsands oil to OPEC oil using these four measures.

I come to the conclusion that oilsands oil is the “fair trade coffee” of the world’s oil industry.

And a bit later, he explains why Canada needs to drill more, and sell more oil to other countries.

The leader of the opposition has said it’s important to increase trade with China and India. I agree. Right now, those countries are forced to buy terrorist oil, dictatorship oil, Darfur oil. Because we only let Americans buy our oil.

I love our American neighbours. But it’s dangerous to have just one customer for our product. We’re at the mercy of protectionism and taxes. And sometimes we’re taken for granted. That’s why the pipeline to the West Coast is so strategically important – it makes us an independent country, with options.

I find it very irritating that so many of the anti-oilsands and anti-pipeline activists in Canada take their funding from U.S. lobby groups like the Tides Foundation. Of course it’s in America’s interest that no other customers are allowed to buy Canadian ethical oil.

But it’s in Canada’s interests that we are able to sell to whomever we choose. And if you care about industrial ethics, it’s in the world’s interest, too.

A lot of people are watching how Canada handles the oilsands miracle. Not just Canadians. The American Ambassador is watching, too. He hopes the Gateway pipeline is strangled, so he can have our oil all for himself.

The Saudi Ambassador is watching too. He hopes the pipeline is killed also, so he doesn’t lose any market share in Asia.

The United States should buy things from other countries – but not if they cause more pollution than we would, and not if there are sponsors of terrorism. When we buy things from other countries, we should do it because they can do it better and cheaper than we can. We should not be restricting our own domestic energy production, which is what the Democrats want to do, so that we can enrich countries that pollute and sponsor terrorism against us and our democratic allies.

How Democrat policies cause corporations to outsource jobs overseas

David Farr is the CEO of Emerson Electric, a $1.7-billion-dollar company heavily involved in manufacturing. What does he think about the job that the Democrats are doing in Washington?

In this Bloomberg article, he explains:

Emerson Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer David Farr said the U.S. government is hurting manufacturers with regulation and taxes and his company will continue to focus on growth overseas.

“Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” Farr said today in Chicago at a Baird Industrial Outlook conference. “Cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules.”

Emerson, the maker of electrical equipment and InSinkErator garbage disposals with $20.9 billion in sales for the year ended September, will keep expanding in emerging markets, which represented 32 percent of revenue in 2009. About 36 percent of manufacturing is now in “best-cost countries” up from 21 percent in 2003, according to slides accompanying his speech.

Companies will create jobs in India and China, “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something,” Farr said.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest level since 1983. Emerson, which Farr said employs about 125,000 people worldwide, has eliminated more than 20,000 jobs since the end of 2008 to lower expenses.

“What do you think I am going to do?” Farr asked. “I’m not going to hire anybody in the United States. I’m moving. They are doing everything possible to destroy jobs.”

[…]Mature markets such as the U.S., Western Europe and Japan continue to decline in importance and the company will keep investing in emerging markets, Farr said during the presentation.

“We as a company today are putting our best people, our best technology and our best investment in these marketplaces to grow,” he said. “My job is to grow that top line, grow my earnings, grow my cash flow and grow my returns to the shareholders. My job is not to shrink and roll over for the U.S. government.”

[…]In renewable and alternative-energy markets, Emerson had 2009 sales of $50 million and plans to increase that to more than $800 million in five years.

“But you are not going to see Emerson going out there with fancy commercials or sitting at the right hand of some president, talking about this,” Farr said. “We do it.”

When it comes to manufacturing jobs, the only person whose opinion counts is the CEO of the manufacturing company, because he makes the hiring decisions.

Why Obamanomics will not improve the economy

I noticed the Bloomberg article because it was linked to this American Thinker article, which was linked at Marshall Art’s blog.

The American Thinker article analyzes why Obamanomics will not improve the economy.

Excerpt:

The reason that Obamanomics will not and cannot work is because an economy cannot be managed from the top. Economics is a bottom-up process that depends upon individual incentives. Critical incentives have been diminished or destroyed by recent economic policies. Fear, uncertainty, threats, tax increases, penalties, and violations of the rule of law are but some of the conditions anathema to entrepreneurs, small business, and large business. Businesses will not hire, invest, or expand in a climate of disincentives. No commands from on high can force economic activity. That was a lesson that should have been learned from Eastern Europe and the former USSR.

If these disincentives are left in place, our economy will continue to shrink and our standard of living will continue to diminish. Capital has no nationality, and it will start to flee our shores. Talent will follow. We will not recover from this economic downturn until businesses and individuals have a more favorable incentive structure.

You can’t argue with the 10.2% unemployment rate, and it’s only going to get worse. Everything that Obama has done has been bad for business, and has contributed to raising unemployment. Democrats, (and the people who voted Democrat), know less about economics than my keyboard.

Obama’s naive trade policy angers Canada, China, France, Mexico, etc.

The economic effects of massive government waste and naive protectionism
The economic effects of massive government waste and naive protectionism

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal explains the high costs of economic ignorance.

Excerpt:

The smell of trade war is suddenly in the air. Mr. Obama slapped a 35% tariff on Chinese tires Friday night, and China responded on the weekend by threatening to retaliate against U.S. chickens and auto parts. That followed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand on Thursday that Europe impose a carbon tariff on imports from countries that don’t follow its cap-and-trade diktats. “We need to impose a carbon tax at [Europe’s] border. I will lead that battle,” he said.

Mr. Sarkozy was following U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who has endorsed a carbon tax on imports, and the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed a carbon tariff as part of its cap-and-tax bill. This in turn followed the “Buy American” provisions of the stimulus, which has incensed much of Canada; Congress’s bill to ban Mexican trucks from U.S. roads in direct violation of Nafta, prompting Mexico to retaliate against U.S. farm and kitchen goods; and the must-make-cars-in-America provisions of the auto bailouts. Meanwhile, U.S. trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea languish in Congress.

The article goes on to explain how the Smoot-Hawley tariff helped cause the Great Depression. This is exactly the path that President Teleprompter is treading. He is taking us head-first into the next Great Depression because he knows less about economic policy than my keyboard. He did legal work for ACORN, for God’s sake – have you seen who ACORN hires? I’m sure that woman can read a Teleprompter, too.

What do economists think of Obama’s economic policies?

I noticed this post on Greg Mankiw’s blog, where links to a survey of economists.

Click here to read the results of a new survey of AEA members. This updates previous survey results, summarized in Chapter 2 of my favorite textbook.

Note that 83 percent agree that “the United States should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade.” I presume that would apply to tariffs on Chinese tires.

Greg Mankiw is a Harvard University professor of economics.

UPDATE: New Michele Bachmann video!

Wow, is she ever pretty when she’s explaining free trade! Sigh.

Colombia hosts international banking conference and signs free trade deals

This story has two parts. First of all, take a look at this IBD article that explains how the USA was able to transition Colombia’s economy away from drug-trafficking with a plan called “Plan Colombia”. The Democrats deserve all the credit for this plan, because it was initiated by Clinton and supported by Joe Biden. It has been a huge foreign policy victory for the USA.

Let’s take a look:

…Colombia is no longer the narco-trafficking hellhole it once was, but a bright Latin American success story.

Plan Colombia not only went after traffickers, but also root causes of conflict, professionalizing the military and offering the population alternatives to trafficking.

IBD is hoping that the lessons we learned in Colombia can be applied in other places like Mexico and and Afghanistan, where similar drug-related problems abound. But wait! All is not well. For Obama has decided to undermine Plan Colombia by reneging on the last step of the plan. Obama is refusing to sign a free trade deal with Colombia!

But we don’t see how the reality of victory can truly be achieved so long as Congressional Democrats undermine the final step in Plan Colombia’s victory plan, which is free trade with the U.S.

It’s the last step in the process of offering an alternative development path, over drugs and terror. Protectionist Democrats in Congress, in hock to Big Labor cash, still refuse to allow even a vote.

That’s right. After all this work on Plan Colombia, we are about to throw away all the fruits of our labor by refusing to allowing American companies to sell to Colombia, and allowing American taxpayers to buy cheaper, higher quality Colombian goods. Free trade is good for us, good for them, and good for world peace. But I guess it’s not good for Obama’s special interest groups.

And this has implications for Afghanistan, a country desperately trying to break away from an economy based on drug-trafficking:

Worse, it has potential to undercut victory in Afghanistan. Afghanis can see how hard Colombians worked with Americans to make Plan Colombia succeed. They can see how the program addressed not only military tasks, but social ones, which end in free and legal trade with the vast U.S. market.

…For Colombia, the promise was the free trade that Democrats are now reneging on. Democrats are snatching defeat from the jaws of a victory they could claim as their own and extend to Afghanistan. All they have to do is keep their promises.

But Colombia isn’t about to take this garbage from the President-Teleprompter. They’re going to fight back! Check out this IBD article that explains what Colombia is trying to do to avoid rolling back all the progress they’ve made against the drug traffickers. They’ve hosted an international conference of bankers to try to diversify their economy.

Excerpt:

Colombia asserted itself on the international stage last week, with the 50th annual governors’ meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Medellin. Some 6,000 bankers and businesspeople came.

…Corporate titans from Brazil, Spain, Japan, China and Germany were present along with the bankers, having invested $8.5 billion in Colombia in 2008.

But wait! One country barely even showed up! Which one? It’s the country that angers the world by opposing free trade. The country that was warned about its ignorant and destructive economic policies by former communist basket-cases like China and Russia. Who is it?

Let’s see:

A few U.S. executives were present too, but the Americans seemed overshadowed by the others.

It isn’t surprising, because Colombia is rapidly moving to diversify its trading partners, signing deals with China, Japan, Korea, the European Union, Canada and Central America, following Chile’s model of signing free-trade deals with all comers.

The U.S., with its Colombia free-trade agreement still on ice in Congress, was the only country that looked isolated and out of tune with the world without its pact.

But the IBD article does end on a hopeful note: there are signs that the free trade deal may be back on the table. We can only hope.

Further study

This previous post I wrote links to an article by economist Robert P. Murphy, published by the Institute for Energy Research. The article warns about the dangers of carbon tariffs and the benefits of free trade. I highly recommend it to those who do not understand whyy free trade matters for our economic growth and prosperity. And that includes jobs.