Agriculture

Bamboo? Shoo!

Canada is a place that buys bamboo sticks and rods and posts and stakes from China so we can hold up our tomato plants and gladioli and other fine and lovely things in our recreational gardens. We could just cut sticks here, but we chip those, mix them with sewage, and put that on our tomato plants and gladioli and other lovely things in our recreational gardens.

The fact that we don’t cut our own sticks and choose to waste those we have is an illustration of elite power and economics. Labour is cheaper in China, and that’s that. Nonetheless, as Canadians we own this gap. Human labour is human labour. An hour is an hour. If a Canadian wants $3 to cut a stake and pass it over to a gladiola gardener, as a hand-crafted product, naturally, and a Chinese labourer will accept 1 cent, or whatever the difference is, then the price is $2. The gap is a measure of elite power and the price reduction is a measure of suppression of local development in order to retain high profit.  Here, have another look.

This is a young orchard in the Okanagan Valley, seen from up on the hill. It exists in this form, in the dry bottom of the valley where 45% of the water (collected in the high country and delivered by pipe) evaporates, because of water subsidies and an elite system of first water rights set by Californian gold miners in 1858. It was this water system that has controlled the power flowing through land ever since, dispossessed and impoverished the land’s indigenous people, and prevents alternate, smarter forms of water use today, such as the growing of apples in the high country, where they belong. You can’t, because the rights to high country water are already owned by the valley bottom agricultural elite. What’s more, this form of colonial agriculture is only economically viable with this built-in water subsidy. If the full price of water were paid, then the apple trees would be moved almost immediately. Here, have another look:

The system of posts (milled pine trunks soaked in toxic chemicals) and wires that holds these dwarfed trees vertical is designed to eliminate labour costs, which makes farming a form of capitalization, a delicate balance of land price + tree price + post and wire price + chemical price + (the biggie) bank interest + a small amount of government-sanctioned migratory labour. The argument for all that is that “Canadians don’t want to work on the land.” Really? If they were paid the real wage? Canadians already work for half as much as that wage would be, perhaps because of the built-in subsidy of urban space (and its amenities) that the system was originally designed to create. There are, for example, no libraries, museums, universities, art galleries, transit systems, latté shops, and so forth, in space industrialized by this system, but does that justify these elite marks of status or the bondage they hold the Earth to? Well, the Earth will decide.

The Earth isn’t fooled by advertising.

 

 

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