from the quill of Antisthenes

The Australian agriculture is in tatters, and it is not entirely the ALP fault. Consumers may be fooled by the deceptive campaigns, with boxing gloves red, green, (and undoubtedly soon to be  pink to avoid allegation of homophobia) but hopefully not for long. The ‘lower prices’ trick is easily exposed by comparing the today’s grocery bill with the one from two weeks ago. Still, waking up from a pleasant dream is so hard to do.

Coles claims to have discounted 5,000 products and immediately, according to an independent retailer commissioned survey raised price of approx. 1000 products (Woolworths increased prices of 1,500 products). To put the matter into a perspective, the total number of products in each supermarket is approximately 15,000. Further, the products carrying the Australian brand names are harder to find and the marginally cheaper home-brand substitutes mostly show a Made in China in a teensy print. The Woolworths /Coles duopoly already usurped 80% of the Australian food market, but obviously even that is not enough. They want it all.

A killing by a thousand cuts was apparently invented by the Chinese. Woolworths and Coles adopted this time honoured practice and are successfully killing the competitors by thousands of minuscule price cuts. Additionally, the price war detrimentally affects the domestic production. Dairy producers are squeezed by the two supermarkets to the point of bankruptcy, potato farmers are paid $25 less per tonne than a year ago and the egg producers are next on the hit list.

According to Dr Mark McGovern, lecturer in the Queensland University of Technology’s school of economics and finance, “the sheep flock has fallen from a peak of 170 million sheep in 1990 to only 68 million, its lowest number since 1905; the dairy production is down from its peak of 11.2 billion litres (2001-2002) to 9 billion litres currently and sugar-cane production has fallen by about 25% as farmers have quit the industry. – …Contrary to the persistent claims by the National Farmers Federation,the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and other organisations, Australia exports only around 25% of its second-stage production, and not 80% as has often been supposed.” (News Weekly, 14-05-2011)

The less incisive citizens, such as champagne Laborites and chardonnay Greenies might not loose much sleep over a disappearance of our agriculture. After all, farmers in general do not vote for silly parties. Yet, if the lefterati’s preoccupation with healthy foods is not just a modish pretence, they ought to be concerned about the quality of imports, even if those come from the admired communist country. The melamine laced dried milk, the salmonella ridden eggs* and ciguatera fish would be amongst the many fatal choices in the inevitable game of a Chinese roulette.

One frightening example -United States of America imports 60% of its fresh fruits and vegetables, but its Food and Drugs Administration manages to inspect only 1%. The Time magazine of the 18th April 2011:- “Nearly one in six Americans – 48 million people – contracts a food-borne illness each year; 3,000 die as a result.” How would Australia, with its lackadaisical and sycophantic attitude to the commercial Asian imports cope? It would be futile to expect any solace, not to mention an action from our Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), better know as the Australia to China Conversion Commissariat.

Perhaps we have nothing to worry about. If true to its form, the Labor government would promise to compensate the famous “working families”. Promises don’t cost anything, except perhaps credibility, but that would be the last of ALP worries.

Perhaps we have nothing to worry about. If true to its form, the Labor government would promise to compensate the famous “working families”. Promises don’t cost anything, except perhaps credibility, but that would be the last of ALP worries.

*/The Sydney Morning Herald of 18th May, 2011- Raw eggs blamed for increase in salmonella poisonings


About Antisthenes

A Greek philosopher, a pupil of Socrates. Led a revolt, with Diogenes, against the demands of the city-state and the sophistication of life. Accepted the interrelation of knowledge, virtue, and happiness; and sought the ideal condition for happiness in return to primitivism and self-sufficiency. Rejected all social distinctions as based on convention, scorned orthodox religion as a fabrication of lies, and studied early legends and animal life in order to arrive at a true understanding of natural law. The individual was free and self-sufficient when he was master of his passions, secure in his intelligence, impervious to social or religious demands, and satisfied with the poverty of a mendicant. Needless to say, a person who on the Fog of Chaos adopted the Athenian philosopher's name has nothing whatsoever in common with him.
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3 Responses to EAT WHILE YOU CAN

  1. Ales says:

    True, but recently both chains started to sell edible breads (even if par-baked) and as a big improvement I regard turkey wings, available at Woolies. As a consumer, I am a bit ambivalent about farmers’ fate – I agree that chains squeeze them, on the other hand the farmers always demand compensations from governments. Any weather is a bad weather and a reason to get subsidies.

  2. pavel says:

    Yes, they cry “wolf” often.

  3. Dr Head says:

    The food situation in the West is disastrous. Exceeding post you might have created here, but is there more coming? The world is stuffed with unsuitable produce. Indeed!

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