Tag Archives: Free trade

Dependent on imports

At the European continent, we have come dependent on a lot of import to provide enough food.

Now with this corona crisis many think we do have to change our way of life and our way of consumption.

Let us go back in history to think about today. Andrew James Chandler writes:

from the 1840s, was the demand for rails, wheels and frames for rolling stock necessary to build railways around the world. Britain was providing perhaps forty per cent of the world’s manufactured goods by the mid-century. The spread of steam power, for both railways and shipping, also created a great demand for British coal. In terms of imports, British demand for wool from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa grew significantly. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Britain had been self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs, but developed a great demand for ‘luxuries’ from the tropics such as sugar, tea and coffee. They soon became cheap, available to all social classes. Home agriculture was protected by the Corn Laws until 1846, restricting imports of basics and kept prices of bread and other staples high. By the 1850s, population growth had made basic food imports absolutely essential, and protection was abandoned for free trade. By the 1850s about a quarter of Britain’s food needs were being met by imports. {Poverty, Emigration & Empire, 1821-1881: Australia, New Zealand & South Africa.}

In the future, we shall become more dependent, if we are not careful, on more food coming into the country we should make sure it is correctly produced, without slave labour, without toxic fertilizers and non-necessary additives.

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