Rupert Read reviewed Colin Hines’ ebook, Progressive Protectionism in RESURGENCE AND ECOLOGIST May/June 2017
It calls for a change of direction: away from acquiescence in the trade treaties which shaped the deregulated world that spawned the financial crisis — and toward protection of nature, workers, localities and national sovereignty, as the key locale where democracy might resist rootless international capital.
Progressive protectionism’ is completely unlike the ‘protectionism’ of the 1930s, that sought to protect one’s own economy while undermining others; this by contrast is an internationalist protectionism, aimed, “at reducing permanently the amount of international trade”, and making countries around the world more self-reliant/resilient. ‘
Read believes that too many ‘progressives’ have sleepwalked into tacitly pro-globalisation positions incompatible with protecting what we most care about.
And partly because of this, a new political power is rising that threatens to trash the future: The Brexit vote and (in particular) the election of Donald Trump have restored the word ‘protectionism’ to the popular political vocabulary.
Hines argues that we need to take back protectionism from the Right. He means that only policies of progressive protectionism can make real the idea of “taking back control”. Read thinks that’s right. If we embrace progressive protectionism, we’ve something better to offer the voting public than they have.
The chapter on ‘free movement’ will be the most controversial of all. Hines (Ed: rightly) points out that countries such as Romania and the Philippines are being stripped bare of their medical personnel, and argues that no decent internationalist can support this sucking out of ‘the brightest and the best’ from their home countries.
We can take control of the agenda, rationally and seek to minimise such movement; for example by helping to make conditions better in home countries, tackling dangerous climate change, stopping foreign wars of aggression, encouraging ‘Site Here to Sell Here’ policies everywhere, and bringing back capital controls which helped the world prosper safely from 1947 till 1971 (and which certain countries, such as Iceland, have already brought back).
Capital controls are crucial, because they stop the threat of relocation which multinationals have used to ‘discipline’ democracies for too many years now (Ed: and capital can then be reinvested in the communities from which that capital was accrued).
Hines argues that the Treaty of Rome needs transforming into a ‘Treaty of Home’ that will allow peoples to protect what they hold dear – and Read thinks politicians on the Continent need to read his book if they are to prevent further exits, starting possibly with France. Read ends:
“This book is a necessary read. Perfect it ain’t; it’s slightly repetitive, and there are problems of substance too: most Resurgence readers will (rightly) dislike how soft Hines is on economic-growthism, and will wish that he were readier to embrace the post-growth future that is demanded by the acceptance that we are already breaching the limits to growth. But if there is to be a future, then progressive protectionism will surely be part of it. This book is crucial thought-leadership for us, away from the political dead-end of globalisationist fantasy, and toward a localisation that can transform the debate – and then the world”.
Progressive Protectionism – Park House Press, 2017; ISBN 978-0-9544751-2-3
Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár
What will we do in the future without wood? The end of the forests has come.
Feasta‘s aim is “to identify the characteristics (economic, cultural and environmental) of a truly sustainable society, articulate how the necessary transition can be effected and promote the implementation of the measures required for this purpose”. (http://www.feasta.org).
Today the challenges seem greater than ever. How can the human species learn to live in harmony with the Earth, the rest of the natural world and with each other? For the last 15 years the Retreat Lodges at Rossbeigh, Co Kerry have proved to be a good place to think and talk about these issues: built with stone walls and a slate roof, the windows look out over tidal marshes and sand-dunes to the forty-mile long Dingle Peninsula and across Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands and the Atlantic.
John Jopling is now re-launching the week-long Feasta residential courses held here for the last 16 years. The following programme is proposed:
- Series title: “Learning for the Future”.
- The courses will be held once a year – possibly increasing to twice a year
- They will ideally be announced 6 months ahead, naming subjects and key people.
- The first week in the new format will be the last week of June 2017.
- Each week will feature three or four main subjects.
- Each subject will be led by a key person.
- There will be 8 or 10 other participants.
- In addition there will be time for single session topics using “Open Space”.
- These might include talks about eg local wildlife.
- and/or ideas people are working on.
- Reading matter may be circulated to intended participants in advance.
Relevant topics could include:
- Gaia, Dark Mountain, systems-change and emergence, the Viable Systems Model.
- Climate change, biodiversity, the interdependence of species, other global boundaries.
- governance systems and economic systems such as De-growth
- the role of compassion and non-violence.
- commons, localisation, global citizenship, community ownership, co-ops, co-housing, community currencies, permaculture.
- topics such as wealth, inequality, ownership, corporate structures, money, taxes, citizens income, energy, cities, nano-technology.
Please feel free to suggest other topics – but be prepared to present them and/or suggest people who will, as the guarantee of well prepared discussions by people with expertise is important to making the courses a success.
The event explored a new practical solution to global inequality and poverty. Feasta’s Caroline Whyte, who is involved in the CapGlobalCarbon campaign, was on a panel discussing practicalities.
New Economy Convergence
This one-day meeting in London will provide an opportunity to take part in the rising global-to-local movement and to discuss the strategies required to move away from a corporate-led growth economy towards diverse local economies in service of people and planet.
There will be news of inspiring initiatives worldwide aimed at resisting global trade treaties and reclaiming our communities, cultures and natural environment. Meet others who care about democracy, social justice, fulfilling and dignified livelihoods, nutritious fresh food, meaningful education and about passing on a healthy and diverse environment to our children.
Speakers include Helena Norberg-Hodge, James Skinner, Molly Scott Cato, and Rupert Read (read more about the speakers here). The short version of The Economics of Happiness will be screened, and the event will include world café brainstorming sessions.
Saturday, September 17th, 2016 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Friends House 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ (use Garden entrance)
Tickets: £20 for a standard ticket; £15 for concessions. Full scholarships also available upon application; please email email@example.com.
It already has members from over 30 countries.
The Local Futures website records that Helena, who trained as a linguist with Chomsky, has delivered her message in English, Swedish, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Ladakhi.
You are asked to consider joining forces with IAL – ‘the time seems ripe’.
In the wake of the Paris climate talks, Local Futures has released a 16 page action paper entitled Climate Change or System Change? (left).
It argues that globalization – the deregulation of trade and finance through an ongoing series of “free trade” treaties – is the driving force behind climate change.
The climate problem can only be tackled effectively if governments stop subsidising globalisation, and begin pursuing a localisation agenda instead.
A recording of Local Futures’ first webinar, with community economist Michael Shuman and Helena Norberg is now uploaded on YouTube.
In this event, recognised pioneers of the localisation movement – community-economist and author, Michael Shuman and Helena – explored localisation as a systemic solution-multiplier that simultaneously lowers CO2 emissions, restores democracy and provides secure livelihoods.
The conversation identified proven strategies that strengthen local economies including the need for an international movement for localization.
Climate Change or System Change? will be the focus of the second international webinar in January, as part of the Global to Local webinar series. More information will follow soon.
Contact via http://www.localfutures.org/contact-us/
See in more detail: https://britain2020.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/localisation-a-systemic-solution-multiplier-simultaneously-lowering-co2-emissions-restoring-democracy-and-providing-secure-livelihoods-part-1/
Brief extracts from the 16 page action paper entitled Climate Change or System Change? – may be seen here: https://britain2020.wordpress.com/localisation-systemic-solution-multiplier-part-2/