Friday, April 27, 2012

Actually reading Agenda 21, Part 1

I started actually reading Agenda 21 tonight. So far, I am I see nothing to alarm anyone.  I see a document that should please conservatives.  It calls for reducing deficits, free trade, curtailing bureaucracy, economic growth, and ending agriculture price supports and lots of other good stuff.  So far it reads like a TEA party manifesto! 

I am actually going to read Agenda 21 and report my finding here. I will report the the good, the bad, the ugly and the suspect of Agenda 21, keeping in mind that it has absolutely no force in law. It may take a while to go through all 40 chapters. However, they are short chapters but kind of boring.

I will update every time something new is added to this review with a new post. The next post in this summary will be "Actually reading Agenda 21, Part 2." You can go here and find the text and then go to the numbered section if you want to read my quotes or summaries in the document itself to make sure I am not misrepresenting it.

The good 
2.1 "It is important to overcome confrontation and to foster a climate of genuine cooperation and solidarity.". We don't desire confrontation do we? This is good, yes?

 2.5. "An open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable multilateral trading system that is consistent with the goals of sustainable development and leads to the optimal distribution of global production in accordance with comparative advantage is of benefit to all trading partners." "Comparative advantage" is straight out of Adam Smith. So far I like this document. Also, I think we all want a predictable multilateral trading system.

2.7 We need to remove "tariff and non-tariff impediments" to trade. That sounds good to me. We need "substantial and progressive reduction in the support and protection of agriculture." Yes! End price support for agriculture! This sound like a conservative document so far. 

2.8 "In recent years, a growing number of these countries have adopted courageous policy reforms involving ambitious autonomous trade liberalization, while far-reaching reforms and profound restructuring processes are taking place in Central and Eastern European countries, paving the way for their integration into the world economy and the international trading system. Increased attention is being devoted to enhancing the role of enterprises and promoting competitive markets through adoption of competitive policies. This sounds like an anti-Communist document! Remember this was written in 1992  Eastern Europe had just thrown off the yoke of Communism and was transitioning to a market economy.  This document is celebrating the defeat of Communism!

2.10 (a) "Halt and reverse protectionism in order to bring about further liberalization and expansion of world trade, to the benefit of all countries,..." . Protectionism is a bad thing. Right? As conservatives we believe in free trade. So far this sounds pretty good. 

2.12. "Therefore, all countries should implement previous commitments to halt and reverse protectionism and further expand market access" There is lot in this document about ending protectionism so I am not going to repeat every reference to it but this may have been written by Milton Fiedman. The document repeatedly warns about the danges of policies that act as a restraint on trade.

2.19  "An open, multilateral trading system makes possible a more efficient allocation and use of resources and thereby contributes to an increase in production and incomes and to lessening demands on the environment. It thus provides additional resources needed for economic growth and development and improved environmental protection."  YES! Absolutely! Capitalism is good for the environment.

2.23 "Foreign private investment and the return of flight capital, which depend on a healthy investment climate, are an important source of financial resources. This is great! It recognized that development depends on a healthy investment climate. 

 2.27 - 2.30 addresses debt of poor countries. This document does not call for blanket debt forgiveness but restructuring combined with reform that encourages growth. This document is not advocating massive wealth redistribution. 

2.35 Industrial countries and those that can do should strengthen efforts" To stimulate savings and reduce fiscal deficits."  That is what we believe! Reducing deficits is the cry of the TEA party!

 2.37 (a)  "Remove the barriers to progress caused by bureaucratic inefficiencies, administrative strains, unnecessary controls and the neglect of market conditions;" Yes! Again, this is the cry of conservatives.

2.38 (c)  "Promotion of entrepreneurship."

The Bad

The Suspect
2.17. "The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities in this programme area to be about $8.8 billion from the international community on grant or concessional terms." Another section says the price tag of that section is $50 million. I am putting this in the suspect category. However, if it makes the world a better, safer, more humane place and the aid was contingent upon "concessional terms" our share would be less that the cost of a good war, so I am not particularly bothered that this plan has a price tag. Anyway, it is only a report. It is not a bill. 

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