Google Ad

Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, December 10, 2004

When State action fails, More state action needed

The Guardian has taken up the story of the ban on fishing in parts of the North Sea. As we have come to expect from that publication, the views and solutions offered choose to ignore basic economics, in favour of putting the blame on big business.
If there are three things guaranteed to induce white noise between your ears, it's anything to do with the EU, fishing quotas and maps of the sea with shaded bits. We have all of these, and more, in the latest report from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, which next week will recommend a 30% shut-down of North Sea fisheries. The message most people will take from the coverage is that fish such as cod, haddock and plaice are endangered. Good. This is a valuable lesson.
So everyone needs to be educated, lets see why not have a government sponsored programme.
However, the demand for fish is set by the consumer, not by fishermen, and there is little here to empower the man or woman with the money and the shopping list.
I know that it is a heresy in the hallowed corridors of liberalism, but consumers are empowered by a form of knowledge transfer known as pricing. If a real market existed in fish, the rare ones would cost more. Thus someone whose knowledge of fish stocks was zero, would make the right choice as to what to buy. Controversial I know, but it seems to work everywhere else. But with the dastardly capitalists in cahoots with the state, controlling the business we are powerless.
Fish isn't marked as sustainable because, if it was, it would become obvious just how much fish that wasn't sustainable was sold.

Tin foil hat time.
The subject of overfishing is incredibly complicated. It once took me two days, several phone calls and half a head of hair to get to grips with the common fisheries policy. The normal person shouldn't have to bother with it. That's what we pay government ministers for.
So you are naive enough to trust government ministers with a subject that they have consistently screwed up. Bad idea. Democracy depends on an informed electorate who have the ability to ask difficult questions of their leaders.
Instead of putting all the heat on fishermen, Brussels should aim its bureaucratic blowtorch at supermarkets, and in so doing, arm the consumer.

Actually, the cause of over fishing the world over is what economists call the tragedy of the commons. Solve the issue of ownership of the fishing rights in the seas and the problem will disappear. It really is that simple. Free for all means nothing for anyone. Screwing with the supermarkets might make lefties happy, but it will do nothing to solve the problem.

Of course it would be much easier to solve if the UK government took back the rights to waters around our island.

No comments: