This Shit Is Bananas


Friend of Reason and Undercover Economist Tim Harford has a good New York Times op-ed on what governments in the developing world can do to help their export industries without waiting for WTO negotiations to conclude. He notes that if a banana grower in the Central African Republic wants to export his fruit, it will take "116 days, and an incredible 38 signatures—each one an opportunity for some official to collect a bribe."

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  1. Geeze, if these people could only learn to work with their government officials instead of complaining about regulations, they’d be able to compete in the world market!

  2. Do governments of big countries such as in Europe and the USA really give a banana about developing countries? Developing countries can’t vote in Europe and the US, can they?

    (Governments pretending to do something good are the biggest impediment to anything good ever getting done.)

  3. All government is a form of kleptocracy, African governments are just much more extreme.

    …Central African Republic…

    Well, things are better today than they were when it was an “Empire” under Emperor Bokassa I (there was no Bokasso II).

  4. *surveys his comments today*

    Guys, please make the Friday Fun link a really good one. I’m apparently in need of irony chelation…

  5. ..b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

    Thanks, Julian. Now I’ve got that song in my head.


  6. “Thanks, Julian. Now I’ve got that song in my head.”

    Why does Gwen Stefani hate America?

  7. All government is a form of kleptocracy….

    As long as someone can make a living working for the government, there will be an element of, at a minimum, implied kleptocracy. As long as the government consumes capital, it seems that someone will need to be paid to make it happen.

    Even the US founders punted on funding government. After starting a revolution by rioting over a beverage tax (The Boston Tea Party), almost the first thing the postrevolutionary government does is violently suppress a riot over a beverage tax (The Whiskey Rebellion).

  8. This Shit Is Bananas

    Dammit, Julian! I was saving that line to use under one of my fake thread handles (I would’ve posted as “Gwen Stefani”). And then you go ahead and use it as a thread title. Thanks for ruining my weekend.

    Just goes to show you can’t hold on to a joke for an indeterminate amount of time…

  9. I mean, I was saving it for a really long time!

    …I hope nobody’s making any inferences right now about the goings-on in my head.

  10. I think most of us are making inferences about the goings-on in your head on a fairly consistent basis.

  11. FWIW, Walker had been sitting on Mises Wept since before I joined the mag. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right moment.

  12. Well, at least this explains the need for ag. subsidies. How else could we compete with those Nth world countries?

    What I want to know is, do bananas hollaback or is that a dessert?

  13. And this today from the Washington Post:

    World Bank questions free trade?s benefits
    Global agreement may do little to relieve poverty, economic body finds

    “As thousands of trade diplomats meeting in Hong Kong this week struggle to break an impasse over a global trade agreement, some surprising new economic research threatens to throw a fresh damper on their efforts.

    In a recently released book, the World Bank says that the potential benefits for the world’s poor of a far-reaching trade deal “are significantly lower” than it had previously thought.”

  14. “This shit is bananas”

    To quote the often overused Comic Book Guy:

    “Worst. Song. Ever.”

    No doubt.

  15. Wooo, the only way to help the 3rd worlders is to pass legislation and create barriers to entry to the markets! Yeah!

    Weird how free markets and trade have been around since probably the stone age, have built some of the biggest lasting empires, and yet its all misunderstood resented, and feared by 90% of the world’s population. Some strange cosmic joke, really…

  16. “In a recently released book, the World Bank says that the potential benefits for the world’s poor of a far-reaching trade deal “are significantly lower” than it had previously thought.”

    Going on to read: “Previously we hadn’t accounted for widespread corruption, bribing, ineptitude, and massive subsidies which generally just make the world’s poor even poorer. Minor oversight.”

  17. Call me stupid or something, but I have trouble seeing how WTO agreements are related to free trade…

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