Friday, October 18, 2013

Blessed Are the Cheese Makers

Canada is apparently concluding a major trade agreement with the European Union.  The aspect getting the most play?  Some reduction in the protectionist walls that keep out foreign cheese.  Yes, in a 21st century trade agreement with an organization representing most of the advanced economies of the world, the Canadians are most interested in the impact on the cheese sector.

Why?  Because Canada has something called supply management, which really is a wonderfully Orwellian phrase for "dairy protectionist racket."  Yes, milk, dairy and eggs are much more costly in Canada as foreign products are restricted from entry, and the number of domestic producers is also apparently restricted.  So, a small block of mozzarella (3x5x.75 inches) is over $5.  This set of policies is incredibly anti-consumer, yet the pandering towards the dairy industry has largely kept this set of policies intact regardless of the party in power.

But now, as part of its new pro-consumer stance, the Conservatives have apparently negotiated a deal that might make a small dent on the cheese industry (not sure how eggs/milk will be affected), and so there is much rejoicing in the land.

To celebrate, I am importing into Canada a documentary about cheese, including many foreign forms:

Even when the stakes (cheeses, not steaks) are so obviously in favor of the larger number of voters, change is hard.  Why?  Because Machiavelli was right:
It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.

No comments: