The proposed £11.5 billion buyout of Cadbury’s by American food giant Kraft is provoking a nationwide response. A lot of the reaction – including my own! – is probably due to our lifelong addiction to chocolate which Cadbury’s represents! People are outraged precisely because Cadbury’s is such a well-loved brand.
But the buyout of Cadbury’s is yet more bad news for British industry. National union Unite are ‘extremely concerned’ especially since Kraft has borrowed £7 billion to fund the takeover – that thousands of people are likely to lose their jobs, and sites get closed, as Kraft has done elsewhere. Much of Cadbury’s could be asset-stripped and sold off. (1)
But Greens have a dilemma. The dilemma is related firstly to what Cadbury’s has been involved in all its life and, then, with what it’s a victim of now. We don’t particularly want to fight Cadbury’s corner – but note that the Government doesn’t want to fight for them at all! – Nor for almost an other company that’s been bought out by overseas interests, with only a few exceptions.
The problem with Cadbury’s is that only a fraction of its chocolate is fairtrade. Global cocoa is hugely exploitative – even to the extent of child slavery. Cocoa produced is then sold on the world market to whichever manufacturer.
But, of course, none of those *primary* (ie, moral and human rights) issues are going to be solved by Kraft’s buyout!
In addition, transnational corporations (TNCs) and so-called ‘world trade agreements’ effectively prevent producer nations from processing it themselves, so keeping them poor.
But surely, Greens say, the principle is valuable that any nation – and maybe even a locality, like Hull, or a region like Yorkshire – should be able and seek to protect its companies from buyouts by mega-corporations, especially those which are likely to asset-strip, sell-off and create mass unemployment?
Greens seriously disagree with global trade agreements – whether it’s the lack of rights foreign workers suffer to produce our chocolate – or whether it’s smaller, local companies, being gobbled up and spat out by the ‘big boys’.
Globally, Green economic policy calls for a “new order of cooperation between nations”. Put simply, we don’t want to see well-functioning businesses, with thousands of talented people and skilled workers, fall victim to huge, unaccountable overseas companies, leading to mass unemployment and the social dismay it causes.
But Greens do want to influence and incentivise companies towards ever more ‘worthwhile’ ways of doing trade – and that this should be necessarily measured in social and political terms – and not just monetary ones.
Now after decades of deregulation, we are now in a position where giant corporations and global capital are both apparently unassailable – while also at the same time being completely unsustainable!
As the banking crisis shows, as well as the predatory nature of most transnational corporations, we desperately need a different type of politician to champion trade policies which will protect valuable businesses, local trade, real jobs and people’s livelihoods.
The Green Party has those policies.
Hull Green Party.
1. Unite video statement on –
2. See policy.greenparty.org.uk
Economics: EC900 “new order”, EC902 power of TNCs; EC921 protection against domination, EC942 replace WTO, more accountable, decentralised, EC943 increase local democracy and control over economics.