The Solution to Raw Material Export and Unemployment is Self-Sufficient Local Economies

The last few Mud Reports have focused on some of the culprits responsible for BC's  forestry mis-management in an attempt to explain one aspect of why we here in BC, despite the province's abundance of natural resources, have a huge disparity between rich and poor as well unacceptably high unemployment, underemployment and working class malaise. Whether it be raw log exports from BC or raw bitumen exports from Alberta or minerals from the north or potash from the prairies or any other of the many types of raw materials Canada exports daily the reasons why it's done always can be boiled down to globalization and its evil off-spring free trade.

Sticking with raw log exports to exemplify how globalized predatory capitalism undermines our local economies requires a basic understanding of who benefits from exporting unprocessed logs, or any other raw material. Publicly owned corporations are either multi-national or owned by shareholders who are. As a result borders provide no barrier to the movement of investors' capital. Investors - shareholders - only want more profits, more dividends and higher stock market prices. The corporations only job is to keep the shareholders happy, so if exporting raw materials from a country with high processing costs, like Canada, due to high wages or strict environmental regulations or a high currency rate to a different country where it costs less to process them and therefore generates higher profits, then that's what they do 100% of the time unless government regulations restrict those exports.

Governments used to restrict those exports, used to require corporations to generate jobs in exchange for access to commonly owned natural resources, used to charge duties on goods that came from other countries where wages, environmental regulations or currency exchange rates made price's artificially low. But all that was before the neo-liberal globalization crazies and free traders cajoled and bribed governments - a task made easier because most governments were already owned by and operated for the benefit of the rich investor class already - into adopting the scheme we working class folks all labour under now.

Fortunately the globalization bandwagon has 'developed' itself into having a series of flat tires. The greedy banksters, not content with their already outrageous profits, invented derivatives and easily sold the worthless crap to other greedy investors worldwide. This one flat tire alone has caused global economic chaos, some of which has generated new experiments in alternative economies. For instance all across Europe as their recession darkens working class folks who've been impoverished are experimenting with local currencies, local labour trading and good old fashioned bartering as the solution.

Spain's experiments with local/social currency [see photo above of Jacinto Garcia buying baked goods with Turutas, the social currency used in the Catalonian fishing town of Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain] are an excellent example of what Jane Jacobs' groundbreaking book 'The Nature of Economies'  which promotes a grassroots, organic, neighbourhood-based process to rehabilitate local economies She equates local economics to what happens with biomass, the sum total of all flora and fauna in an area. In her book Jacobs explained metaphorically decades ago how the energy doesn't just escape the community as an export. It continues being used in the community, just as in a rainforest the waste from certain organisms and various plants and animals gets used by other ones in that place.

The solutions to predatory capitalism lie in our own backyard gardens and basement small businesses. Small anarchistic individual solutions, not large systemic changes, are the key to what appears to be an intractable worldwide problem. Anarchism really means people working together outside of the structure of the state to meet people's needs. Globalization is the dream of the predatory capitalists, only by dreaming a new collective dream can we the people escape their nightmare.