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Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 283

It's a problem for Mexicans, and the average man on the street in Guadalajara has no more influence on his country's policies than the average Joe in Houston. Trade and business interests lobby to get the right to sell overseas, and argue that this means more tax intake and higher wages, and is therefore "better for the country". Here in the UK, "austerity" measures taken after the financial crash are pushing people deeper into poverty and even to starvation, and yet the government say it's all for the good of everyone.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 2) 283

This is an idea that I'm surprised hasn't gained more traction. Using import tarrifs as a means of protectionism is quite rightly considered bad form internationally. However, using import tarrifs to create a level playing field seems perfectly fair. After all, if companies in your country are mandated by law to pay a minimum wage, paid holidays and parental leave, and are forced to respect workers rights and health and safety, the countries without minimum wages or paid leave and where nobody bats an eyelid when a 10-year-old boy dies in a mineral sand landslip do have something of an immoral competitive advantage.

Thus I would think that the best approach would be to charge import tarrifs from countries without comparable labour laws to your own, calculated on the cost of offering similar protections to those in your country. This would promote domestic production in the short term, and would promote better working practices globally in the long term. Sounds like a win-win, to me, and an easy one for the politicians to sell to the public.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 4, Insightful) 283

Aside from water and air, there is nothing as important to human life as food. Why does worker reward not reflect this?

The price of a commodity has little to do with "importance", but with scarcity and cost of production.

But here we're talking about food for which there is demand and a market, and it's going unpicked due to difficulties in attracting workers. The demand for food has not decreased in recent years, so someone, somewhere, needs that food. And yet it's not "cost-effective" to pick it.

The missing part of this equation is how that "hole" in the supply is fulfilled. And the answer is... cheap imports. Not a problem, you say? It is for the world's poor, because while the global food market means low prices in first world countries, it means high prices in developing countries and leaves people unable to afford to feed their families.

This is where our priorities are messed up. We shrug our shoulders, say "market forces" and let other people shoulder the burden. Just look at the problems that US corn ethanol caused for Mexicans. To people in the States, Mexican maize is cheap, so the ethanol manufacturers snatched it up, leaving the Mexican supply far below demand, pushing prices up and causing widespread hunger.

Don't trust the invisible hand -- everything the hand gives you, it has taken from someone else.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 283

I sometimes get puzzled by people who talk about jobs like this.

If anyone should be paid millions, it is doctors who save your life or teachers who raise your kids.

Well I agree with that. Doctors are well-paid, and deservedly so. Teachers are typically underpaid.

Counter: Healthcare/Education is so important that doctors/teachers should have their salaries controlled to keep the cost of healthcare/education affordable.

That only holds if you believe that healthcare and education are better dealt with as private enterprise than as part of the public sector. I don't.

Comment: Re:arsenic in rice (Score 1) 283

California rice has a lot of arsenic in it. They should just stop for that reason alone.

Wrong state. The arsenic problem is in former cotton fields, where arsenic was used as a pesticide to kill the boll weevil. This was OK for a non-food crop, but not great for food crops, particularly rice, which has a marked tendency to pick up arsenic from the soil wherever it's present.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 2, Interesting) 283

The choice isn't pay a high wage or pay a low wage.

The choice is grow strawberries that you can sell at a price people will pay, or don't grow strawberries.

But when you consider that the people who used to pick fruit are now working in factories sticking consumer goods in boxes, you have to consider our society's priorities pretty messed up. Aside from water and air, there is nothing as important to human life as food. Why does worker reward not reflect this?

Comment: Re:Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 1) 298

by Half-pint HAL (#49554383) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

IOW, they haven't properly balanced their system and the windmills are the ones getting the shaft.

Yeah, the idiots should have planned the winds more carefully. Relying on nature to generate the winds they need was never going to work, so they should get some giant wind machines from Hollywood. (Yes, I am being sarcastic. Glad you noticed.)

Comment: Re: Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 1) 298

by Half-pint HAL (#49554371) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes
I'm not against nuclear power, but I am against nuclear power operators, who too often cut corners and make the Geiger-Müller tubes go clickity-click, either at the plant, or at the dump site. When they fail to do things right, it's the taxpayer who ends up funding the cleanup.

Do molecular biologists wear designer genes?