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EU policy kills people in the Third World

As mentioned by R. C. Dean in an earlier article, the fact that EU policy is a major contributor to poverty in the Third World is finally starting to attract the attention it deserves. Many of Samizdata.net’s contributors have written in the past about the true price of protectionism and just who pays it.

Well now the The Centre for the New Europe has released a devastating paper that shows the claims of the Euro-statist elite to care for the world’s ‘have-nots’ for what they are: complete lies

    Key Findings
  • 6,600 people die every day in the world because of the trading rules of the EU. That is 275 people every hour.
  • In other words, one person dies every 13 seconds somewhere in the world – mainly in Africa – because the European Union does not act on trade as it talks.
  • If Africa could increase its share of world trade by just one per cent, it would earn an additional £49 billion a year. This would be enough to lift 128 million people out of extreme poverty. The EU’s trade barriers are directly responsible for Africa’s inability to increase its trade and thus for keeping Africa in poverty.
  • If the poorest countries as a whole could increase their share of world exports by five per cent, that would generate £248 billion or $350 billion, raising millions more out of extreme poverty.

The complete paper can be downloaded from the main CNE site

EU policy kills people

20 comments to EU policy kills people in the Third World

  • Ilia M

    This post seems to me to have a flaw in its logic. I can’t verify any of the figures, but assuming they are correct, and that a 1% increase in africa’s world trade would bring in £49, this would not lift the said number of people out of poverty. Just like everywhere else, a significant chunk (if not most) of this moneywould go to traders and middlemen, and a huge chunk of the population would be as badly off as it is now.

  • Snide

    So f’ing what, Ilia? If traders and middlemen are what is required to enable the trade to happen, how is that money ‘lost’? Speaking as someone who was a trader in African agribiz, how is me getting paid for putting Africans in touch with markets bad?

    In any case, trade leads to trade… if it is profitable, more traders try to generate more trade. That is the way markets work then they are not prevented from doing so by states.

  • Jacob

    Why do the CNE or anybody else consider it more important to point out to benefits to poor Africans from free trade, than to point to the benefits that Europeans could enjoy by getting cheaper and better products ?
    Is the effect of free trade on poor Africans the most important aspect of the problem ?

  • SlickWillie

    Well! My Heavens, Perry, of course it does! Every Western trading policy kills people! A five pence increase in the price of bread kills people. A two pence increase in the cost of water kills someone.

    If the English (French, German American, Dutch, take your pick!) were willing to work for half pay so exports to third world nations were REALLY cheap then tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of lives could be saved.

    If only Rich Western Borgeois (insert favorite leftie epithet here) were willing to sacrifice a fraction of their jobs, businesses, industries, quality of life, or time, heck everyone in the third world could be made better off.

    Now, Perry my beamish boy, having discovered this magic economic principle, what sacrifices are YOU going to make in your OWN life?

  • Slick Willie… you are an economic illiterate and no doubt subscribe to the fixed wealth fallacy given your remarks. The ‘sacrifice’ I have to make for EU trade barriers is I pay more for food and raw materials, and hence products, than I otherwise would if those barriers did not exist. Free Trade would make me richer, not poorer… it is the idiot left and idiot paleo-consevative right subscribers to flat earth ‘fixed sum’ economics who claim that western prosperity is actually enhanced by trade barriers and thereby subsidizing inefficient sectors of the economy… the idiot left make themselves feel better by by on one hand sending stolen tax money as ‘aid’ to the third world economies they cripple on the other hand and the idiot right claim that by artificially increasing cost to favoured industries that they improve the domestic economy by… forcing up prices to industry and consumers alike.

    Idiots all.

  • Dave O'Neill

    I find it hard to believe that anybody who has worked in African Agri-Biz would have that experience myself. My wife used to be an adminsitrator for a small South African feedstock company until local corruption and theft drove it out of business.

    Of course the EU does all this, so does the US. Neither body wants free trade on any terms other than their own.

  • A side note on this is that when first world economies suffer, people in the third world die as a result. Thus policies such as environmental overregulation in the first world kill people in the third world. And of course, that doesn’t count the direct deaths from the banning of important substances such as DDT.

  • ZAthras

    Even if the CNE paper’s conclusions are valid, EU policy has the approval of the French government. Also some others, but mainly the French. And that being the case, Perry, isn’t it your duty as a good European to submit gladly, in deference to French maturity and the superiority of French culture? Wouldn’t you be grossly irresponsible, not to say presumptuous and arrogant, even to think of doing otherwise?

    Just asking…

  • Ryan Waxx

    Ilia: Your railing against ‘middlemen’ is meaningless. The middleman has to spend his profits (english-to-communist translation: ill-gotten gains) somewhere.

    Now, if by ‘middleman’, you mean African government, you may have a point.

    With that out of the way…

    Being an American, and therefore normally being first in line to be hacked by any idiot with a political ax to grind and just enough knowledge of statistics to fudge them (think Kyoto), I must confess skepticism at these numbers.

    ONLY 1% of world trade? ONLY? Tell you what, pay me 1% of the USA’s GDP, and then we’ll talk. Better yet, go jog only 1% of the distance to pluto.

    We do some protectionism over here, too and I can’t help but think that if the same methodology were applied to us (and it will be), that some enterprising statistical graffiiti artist will conclude that we’ve already killed off the rest of the planet.

    Where is the skepticism, folks? Do you accept bad statistics simply because you agree with the author’s choice of bash-ee?

    I think less trade barriers are a good thing, too. But lets not use means that are easily dismissed as hysterical, K?

  • Speaking of statistics problems…

    What is mean by “Africa increasing its share of world trade by one percent”?

    Does that men Africa’s exports and imports are 1% larger than last year?

    Does that mean Africa increasing its share of world trade by one percentage point? (from 5% to 6%, say?)

    Does this contemplate an overall increase in world wealth, or does it contemplate Africa increasing its marketshare without increasing the size of the pie?

    What is Africa’s share of world trade, anyway? Is a 1 percentage point increase a doubling, trebling, or what, of its current share?

    Is such an increase even possible? What can African nations produce which is suitable for export?

    And, as others have pointed out, isn’t it rather likely that African governments will simply kill any golden-egg-laying geese? How many people will be lifted out of poverty then?

    I’m no protectionist, let me assure you. But I cannot see that that particular statistic has any meaning at all.

  • Ilia, you say that much of the revenue would go to traders and middlemen. But the getting of crops to market is not accomplished by teleportation, it is accomplished (usually) by a combination of truck, rail, and ship. Warehouses are usually involved at multiple stages, as well. All of these “middlemen” employ people and pay them; thus, their share of the total revenue also benefits the local economies.

  • Cydonia

    Rob Lyman:

    Are the answers to your questions contained in the paper itself? If not, you have a point. If yes, RTFM.

  • Cydonia,

    I don’t know (CNE site won’t work for me), and I don’t really care. I read dozens of blog posts a day; I can’t possibly follow up on sources for each and every one, especially if the sources are long research reports. I’d just like to see bloggers (and mainstream news, for that matter) define their terms in a way that lets me avoid fact-checking them.

    Perry is trying to convince people of his opinion–he ought to do so in a way that doesn’t involve incomprehesible sentences and meaningless statistics.

  • Rob: I write blog articles for the most part, not essays… if you cannot be bothered to check the source, then why bother to comment on the article, which is, after all, about the source.

    btw… the CNE site seems to work for me just fine.

  • Well, CNE’s site started working for me, and I skimmed the damn article. It contains the exact sentence Perry quoted above, without explication, but with a cite to a Sunday Times article. As a careful reading of the whole thing is more than I have time for, I won’t bother with it any more.

    My criticism, both of CNE and Perry, stands. This sentence is totally devoid of meaning without further context and clarification. I hold that including meaningless sentences in an opinion piece–whether an “essay” or a blog post, and whether quoting or composing–is a mistake to be avoided. This is doubly true of statistical claims, which require more careful review than others.

    And to expect your readers to inspect cites and links carefully in search of your meaning (rather than as confirmation of your truthfulness or as a source for further interesting facts) is a wasteful imposition.

  • Jonathan L

    OK the statistics may be questionable, but we all know that the basis of what they are saying is true.

    EU protectionism is killing and impoverising millions of Africans. It is making the cost of food more expensive in Europe, a cost that falls more heavily on the poor, as they spend a larger percentage of their income on food.

    The CAP is immoral and should be scrapped. All the aid in the world cannot replace the opportunity for Africans to feed themselves and earn their own livings.

    Anyone who cares about the poor should demand an end to this policy.

  • Rob: The objective of the article was to steer people to the CNE site, which is both pro-Globalisation and anti-EU superstatism. This is meme war, not an Oxford essay, in which the ‘our authority is legitimate because we care about the poor’ meme used by statists to justify their force backed political actions is turned against them.

  • Dave O’Neill: my family too worked in African Agri-biz (in Ghana mostly) and it was an entirely positive experience!

  • Dave O'Neill


    Ghana? That would probably explain it.

    My wife is from South Africa and has friends who were farmers across the border in Zim.

    The farms and the commercial supply company she worked for no longer exist.