Freedom to trade
Exchange with Irish Times and Open Democracy journalist Paul MacDonnell:
Instigated with my taking issue with part of an article published in the times...
Toirtap Archive October
my quick response is that economic freedoms come, in my opinion, well behind basic freedoms such as independence and the right to defense against outside interference. Economic freedoms are equally complicated issues and I fear are not helpfully summed up with phrases like, "[t]he West and a growing part of Asia are wealthy and peaceful while many parts of Africa and the Middle East remain mired in conflict and poverty." Inequality is rampant within rich countries too and I'm sure one could, given time, prove quite easily that the supposed inverse relationship between wealth and violence is as more so a condition of the wealthy subjugating the poor than the poor creating violence out of anger, jealousy etc etc.
[ If it is, my quick response is that economic freedoms come, in my opinion, well behind basic freedoms such as independence and the right to defense against outside interference. ]
Not quite sure what you're getting at here with regard to rights. And I am relatively unfamiliar with Popper so I can't really address you properly on that.
However I would suggest there are such things as 'human rights' at tribal level. Simply look at the structure and operation of American Indian societies prior to colonisation. It was only when they were subjected to our concept of free trade that their suffering truly began. The first such well known trade, an innocuous one of friendship more symbolic of future trade than anything else, was jewels and garments for a rug infested with smallpox. An excellent if simplistic insight into the arms trade? (Howard Zinn's 'A People's history of the USA')
North Korea is of course an example of a country that resists outside interference. But there are many more examples of countries suffering the opposite fate, Burma, Nicaragua, Chile, Indonesia etc etc. This line of thought really gets into +true+ (if it can exist) humanitarian intervention. Which is much further off the point than I am already, and along way from my original point. North Korea is also not really the model on which to judge outside interference and independence. Japanese, Soviet and US politics have all contributed to the state of DBRK.
Germany as far as I am aware had basically relinquished its sovereignty in attacking, invading and occupying a foreign nation prior to US invasion. Therefore this is irrelevant.
Also 'economic freedom' is not defined as discrete from other rights. The right of a villager in a developing country to sell me sugar and my right to buy it trump, in my view, any other competing rights - including the rights of European farmers to stop such transactions or of the state-monopoly sugar company of whereever he/she's from, to stop us, as consenting adults from engaging in the transaction.
I agree with this theory, but I don't see how it applies to Iraq or indeed the middle east. Take for example Iraq's natural resource and the principle instigator of change, oil. The puppet (for want of a more agreeable term) government has conveniently, for the US corporation, chose to use production sharing agreements PSAs to divide up drilling rights, the problem being these deals offer huge profits for minimal risk. The deal is usually appropriate (although still questionable) where oil is unlikely to be discovered, this is not the case in Iraq. This in my view is what is generally referred to as 'free trade'. Not exactly what your theory describes.
Furthermore, watching a 'good report' from Iraq segment on 'a another' news channel last night, I was subjected to news of expensive hotels and $400,000 apartments being constructed in the quieter areas of the northern Kurdish regions. Evidence apparently of the growing economy, through foreign confidence in Iraqi property. However it did not take long for it to occur to me that the new construction is no doubt for wealthy 'Western' businessmen coming to reap the rewards of 'free trade' and new market opportunities.
'Independence' is similarly problematic. The march of human rights swept Europe and the US from the 18th through to the mid 20th century unimpeded by notions of independence and freedom from 'outside' interference. In Africa it is stalled at somewhere about Europe in the early Middle ages (in truth that's an insult to Europe) because the UN and notions of nations 'rights' and PC attitudes to colonialism have paralysed the only people who could help from doing anything other than wringing their hands and offering aid whilst governments and private armies go about the business of looting, rape and mass murder in Africa itself. Meanwhile the left in the West say 'it's all out fault'.
The problem with aid is well documented and corporations and governments are well versed in how to avail of its benefits in kind. This doesn't really compare to the funding and support 'Western' corporations provide to dictators, despots and terrorist regimes across Africa. The sale of arms for example is our gift to them while we 'Westerners' reap the rewards.
If Africa needs one single thing it is outside interference of the right kind. Whatever your views on Iraq, that country's invastion may well prove to have been a major lotto win for its citizens.Earlier outside 'interference' could have saved Europe's Jews.[ Inequality is rampant within rich countries too ..]Inequality isn't the problem. Poverty is the problem.[and I'm sure one could, given time, prove quite easily that the supposed inverse relationship between wealth and violence is as more so a condition of the wealthy subjugating ...]The point Gartzke makes is that TRADE is what helps peace. He says he's got the data and has controlled for various effects...I don't buy the Marxiam notion that the rich keep the poor at bay through armed force.