Thursday, 10 June 2010

Another Opposition To ECFA


Before the government in Taipei presents a modified version of the ECFA to its legislative body for review, there will be ample opportunity for the expression of opposition. Yet to whom should these expressions be made and of what sort should they be?

I submit that it will be next to useless to direct some "unified" ECFA opposition to KMT legislators. They won't listen to a largely southern, anti-mainlander, pan-green, democratic-socialist voice - and, hell, why should they? They already know what that voice will say, and they have known this for years.

Vociferous opposition to the ECFA may yet find its feet on quite different grounds - the rights of the individual.

The legal right of governments to exercise more or less control over trade have no moral basis; only sovereign individuals free from coercion have any moral right to decide whether, and on what terms, they will exchange value for value. A government merely presumes the power to arrogate this right of individuals to their own disposal simply because they believe themselves to have an effective monopoly over violence. That is, at the bottom, all there is to it.

It is wholly wrong to oppose the signing of the ECFA because it will have a "disastrous effect" on Taiwan's middle class. Why should the interests of the middle class trump those of other people? Are middle-class people the only ones whose lives, property and money matter? Are they the only ones whose children can legitimately expect any sort of future? Taiwan's poorer people may well see some value in an influx of cheaper goods from China - do their interests not count? Are their economic prospects unimportant? Are their desperate attempts to save money for their children's futures to be only futile gestures decorating the dinner tables of the middle-classes?

I put it to you - is this not cannibalism abstracted beyond the horror of its' immediately apprehensible form? A cannibalisation of other people's economic values?

The right thing to do is to stand against the ECFA on social individualist grounds that no government - neither the one in Taipei nor the one in Beijing - has any moral right to exercise control over the trade that people may or may not otherwise freely agree to.

As much as I detest the idea of aiding and abetting the fascist culture of government in China via trade, I would nevertheless seek to dissuade other people from engaging in such trade by the use of reason and appeals to enlightened self-interest, not by the arrogant presumption of brute force by the government in Taipei.

Yours freely,
Michael Fagan

(Sent: Thursday 10th June 2010. Published by the Taipei Times Monday 14th June 2010)

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