Raising Anarchy Jatropha biofuel, Third World exploitation - Charles Anthony - Mises Community Archive
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Jatropha biofuel, Third World exploitation

Jatropha sucks:

Consider India’s great push to plant jatropha. According to the Indian environmental group, Navdanya, government foresters have drained rice paddies in order to plant jatropha in the poor and mostly tribal state of Chhattisgarh. As early as mid-2007, protests broke out in the mostly desert state of Rajasthan over a government scheme to reclassify village commons lands — widely used for grazing livestock — as “wastelands” targeted for biofuel production, primarily jatropha.



Not surprizingly, the Indian crony capitalists put a positive spin on the situation to please our Western ears:

“By cultivating these energy-producing plants, processing them and finally producing bio-oil, we are creating new sources of income for the rural farmers.” says R.K. Sharma Director (Plantation) at CJP. We are one of the oldest, reputed and premier organizations which are in the field of jatropha since no one was there. We have developed good cultivation practices for Jatropha so that the crop can produce high-quality fuel and help the rural farmer benefit with minimum inputs of men, money and materials.


What they do not tell you is that the attractive fruit is dangerous to touch, fouls up the soil, poisonous to eat yet often mistaken for cashews because of the physical similarity.

Be wary of any man who seeks government privilege to advance seemingly environmentally friendly technology or tries to justify this new Jatropha crop as a way to help the developing world.

This is my prediction about the market for this latest green gold: increased misery. Rich crony capitalists from the Western world will convince tyrannical governments in the Third world to cultivate this crop. In response, poor people will be chased off their rightful land, as happened in India, by tyrannical governments and will be forced to harvest this poisonous bean.





AFTER THOUGHT:  (July 30th, 2009 6:37 AM)

I would love to hear a compelling case in defense of third world exploitation whether it is hidden behind biofuel or some other nonsense.

Let me be blunt: I see no intelligent reason to trust any published research. The very fact that such industries need government direction is enough to tell me it is a farce.

If this biofuel environmental fad was truly profitable, these crony organizations would not have to convince anybody of anything. The profitability would be reflected in the prices and the poor people who actually tend the lands would be gleefully engaged in this market.

One salient thing that might not be apparent: I do not believe any of those governments have a rightful title to any of those lands. Those governments have no right to decide what should be done with them. No government anywhere in the world does. I believe the people who live on those lands are the rightful owners. Cronies have a hard time accepting that concept of ownership and frankly, I do not care.

See, I respect markets and I understand them. All you have to do is wave a green dollar bill in front of a farmer and say: “I will give you this much for those beans. Can you get me more beans?” If you have to “convince” people of profitability in any other manner, I see no reason to trust your word. If the farmer refuses your offer, anything else you have to say about the profitability of this market is most definitely a lie.

Posted Jul 29 2009, 02:41 PM by Charles Anthony


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