Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Two Bad Editorials

In a Taipei Times editorial, James Wang declares the U.S. Vice President's visit to Beijing today as a "double slap in the face" for President Ma - as he puts it "one slap from Washington and another from Beijing."

What Wang is trying to do is to use the idiot Biden's visit to Beijing to discredit Ma. Yet what Biden chooses to do can hardly be the fault of Ma. Ma has no say over what Biden does or does not do, and that being the case, the only person who is discredited by Wang's article must be... Wang himself.

President Ma's foreign and defense policy can only be discredited in respect of the institutions over which he can conceivably wield power. Since coming to power in 2008, Ma has presided over outrageous violations of the rights of individual Taiwanese and an insidious expansion of State power into and over the media. Moreover, he has done nothing to even reduce or decentralize the political power of the central government; were the PRC to eventually annex Taiwan, a strongly centralized State apparatus based in Taipei is precisely what they would find... most convenient.

There are legitimate grounds on which President Ma can be criticized, but he cannot be held responsible for the actions of the U.S. Vice President and to insinuate otherwise, however indirectly, is ridiculous.

In another Taipei Times editorial today, Danielle Nierenberg and Graham Salinger, who are apparently connected to some "Nourishing the Planet" organization, write:
" food prices fall as a result of farmers producing more food than can be bought, merchants and farmers are struggling."
So they have at least heard of the law of supply and demand: prices fall when supply outstrips demand. It becomes apparent on reading the rest of their editorial however, they are too stupid to understand the implication, which is that in the absence of a complementary increase in demand, supply must be reduced - for they go on to cite the irrelevancies of organic farming and water conservation methods as possible solutions:
"...such economic pressures have prompted continued efforts by the government to help farmers produce profitable harvests. Efforts emphasize educating a new generation of farmers about organic farming, addressing water shortages that threaten crop yields and introducing programs to conserve energy during the farming process."
The problem of farmers not being able to sell enough produce is not an environmental problem, it is a problem of economic calculation. In order to regain profitability, farmers need to think about either reducing the quantity of their supply (which can only be done efficiently through a cartel - which requires government intervention), or getting out of the farming business and into something else. Using less water to produce the same crop yield does not help because the imperative is to reduce crop yield.

The stupidity on display in Nierenberg and Salinger's article is just facepalm stuff.

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