Despite dire predictions, state farm jobs aren’t disappearing
|February 25, 2010||Posted by Jeffery J. Smith under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Despite dire predictions, state farm jobs aren’t disappearing
Former Mexican foreign minister calls for North American union
Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s foreign minister from 2000-2003 and a professor at New York University, expects North American economies tied together in a European Union-style system complete with open borders. With the present porous border, many Mexican take jobs on farmers, predicted to disappear due to protections for the environment, but guess what actually happened? We trim, blend, and append two 2010 articles from (1) BigThink.com, Feb 16, the interview of Castañeda by Stephen C. Webster; and (2) the Los Angeles Times, Feb 22, on farm jobs by Bettina Boxall.
by Stephen C. Webster and by Bettina Boxall
- Former Mexican foreign minister calls for North American union
With nearly 11% of Mexicans living in the United States, former minister Jorge Castañeda see Mexico moving closer and closer to forms of economic integration with the United States and Canada and conceivably Central America and Caribbean in the coming years.”
“I dont see Mexico as a Latin American country. Too much trade, investment, tourism, immigration, remittances, absolutely everything is concentrated exclusively with the United States. So, Mexico has to be part of a North American community, a North American union, which at some point should include some type of monetary union along European lines with a free flow of labor, with energy being on the table, etc.”
In May of 2005, the Council on Foreign Relations released a document entitled “Building a North American Community” in which it calls for an EU-like integration of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
While the document does not specifically call for the ceding of sovereignty between the three nations — as some vocal opponents of the idea have suggested — it does recommend the formation of a North American Advisory Council and a multinational inter-parliamentary group to facilitate mutual cooperation. Though the group originally set out to achieve this goal by 2010, few Americans are even aware of it.
CFR member Carlos Heredia wrote, “To the extent that citizens of the three partner countries see that North American integration brings concrete benefits, a new constituency will be galvanized to support these efforts in the years to come.”
“How far away are we from that?” Castañeda asked, rhetorically. “Quite far, but so did it seem back in Europe in the 1950′s and very little time later they came around and understood that that was their future lay. Already Mexican society is voting with its feet. We have a higher share of Mexicans living in the United States than we have ever had in our history. One out of every nine Mexicans, Mexican citizens, people born in Mexico, live in the United States today.”
In recent weeks, Castañeda appeared on CNN’s Amanpour for a debate about the drug war. He explained that marijuana should be legalized in order to take away the drug cartels’ primary revenue source.
“Having recklessly plunged the country into [the drug war], what President Calderón and the United States should do is sit back for a second, think this through, see what they want to achieve, what is achievable, and what should be done that’s new,” he said.
“There are more and more states in the US that are moving towards decriminalization at least of marijuana. Mexico is still a very important producer of marijuana. Some people say that up to 60% of the profits of Mexicos cartels come from marijuana. Well, if the United States or Californiacis de facto legalizing it through medical marijuana, what sense does it make for Mexicans to die to stop marijuana from entering the US when once it enters it can be sold legally at over 1,000 dispensaries in Los Angeles, more than the number of public schools there are in Los Angeles?
JJS: One way America and Mexico are already joined is that most of Americas food is harvested by Mexicans, to a large extent in California, which last year had a drought the threatened agriculture.
- Despite dire predictions, state farm jobs aren’t disappearing
“People in California’s breadbasket face complete economic ruin,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, unless government weakens endangered species protections to deliver more water to San Joaquin Valley farms.
Richard Howitt, a UC Davis economist, predicted that water cutbacks could cause a loss of as many as 80,000 jobs and up to $2.2 billion in revenue.
A chorus of Central Valley politicians and farm groups bemoaned environmental protections that cut water deliveries and the jobs that depend on them.
But in Fresno County, the state’s top-producing agricultural county, the number of farm jobs rose slightly last year. Farm employment has increased statewide since 2006 — a year of bountiful water supplies in the valley — and dipped only slightly between 2008 and 2009.
Growers of major crops such as rice and processing tomatoes enjoyed a bumper year in 2009. Grape production was down slightly, but still among the highest on record.
And though photographs of farmers bulldozing their almond groves for lack of water were a media favorite, California had more acres of bearing almond trees last year than ever before.
Most of the acreage left unplanted was on the valley’s west side. But other parts of the valley didn’t have water problems.
“The west side of the valley was a major wreck,” said Al Montna, a Sacramento Valley rice grower and president of the State Board of Food and Agriculture. “We had hearings at the Fresno County Farm Bureau where growers and farmworkers were crying.
JJS: The land cries too. Yet it need not be a win/lose situation. Geonomics — sharing the worth of Earth while forgoing taxation on our efforts and subsidies to special interests (like big growers) — is a way to utilize our planet and conserve her, too.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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