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Introduction TCME December 2010

Another month, another spin on world events. Oh yes, and another Christmas season upon us!


November 25, 2010
By Ralph Pearce

Another month, another spin on world events. Oh yes, and another Christmas season upon us!

In last month’s edition of Top Crop Manager, I wrote about doing business with countries such as China and India, and because they are in the market for products that our growers can readily supply, why it wouldn’t be the worst idea to be doing business with them.

Recently, a local talk show host suggested the US government simply opt out of paying its interest to China on its current holdings of US treasuries.

China might react by threatening to take over Taiwan, but the US might just say, “Go ahead.”

The point was that the US has much to gain and little to lose by simply withdrawing from the world financial stage. Ultimately, the US, despite a debt load forecast to top $10 trillion within nine years, is still one of the world’s leading economies. Yet the question remains: “What if the US decided to trade more within the confines of the Americas?” Could the US manage? The talk show host certainly believed it could, drawing on the raw materials still to be mined from within its borders (including drilling oil from nature reserves in Alaska).

How would that sit with the European Union, Russia, India and, yes, China, too?

I don’t know, but it got me thinking about our role in this “New World Order.” I have said often that Canadian agriculture is on the brink of a new era, in which growers see better returns for their labours and expertise. But I do not see how our growers would benefit from the creation of a US-dominated “Market of the Americas.” Japan favours our IP soybeans while India wants our pulses, plus a variety of customers in Europe. Do we turn down business around the world just because the US Treasury is holding a fire sale?

Besides, there will be a day of reckoning for China that will slow its expansion from monopolizing global trade. In the 1990s, the country’s population pyramid, already influenced by its “one child policy,” fell under the level of replacement (where one person retires, another person steps in to replace them). One Chinese economist has said that the government is unprepared, culturally, for what must happen within the next 20 years, when it will have to “play nice” in global trade while making people one of its most vital imports.

And let’s not forget the prospect and implications of a trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
Where is all this leading? To a world where everybody has to “get along” and stop believing in the myth of solitary sustainability. We’ve done this in Canada, although our farmers have had to go it alone more because of government policy and public apathy. Yet along the way, we’ve managed to cope, compete and in many cases, dominate a sector.

In the end, we’ve shown how “getting along” in the global village is not only possible, but preferable.

A wintertime glance ahead
It is odd that with winter’s onset, we are looking to spring, already. Yet this month’s Machinery Manager offers up a glimpse of the latest in high-clearance sprayers, plus a wealth of informative stories on crop management and business management.
All the best, this holiday season: a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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