chapter  9
18 Pages

Provisioning, exchange and sufficiency

Proposing a new approach to provisioning boundaries creates the need to consider the exchange between the new bioregions on which we will depend to meet the majority of our needs. This chapter begins to clear the ground for considering how such a system of exchange might operate. It begins in Section 9.1 with a critique of the existing trade system and the vulnerability of the current reliance on lengthy supply chains in an era of climate change. Section 9.2 provides a more detailed critique of the theory on which globalisation depends: Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, which is shown to be obsolete in the face of changing circumstances and to have always been more of a justification for British imperialist expansion than a credible theory of how trade actually operates between nations. Following a brief critical account of the political economy of the existing global trade system, Section 9.3 sketches an alternative global trade and exchange system that includes the perspective of the poorer countries and asks whether, in the context of climate change, they might be better protected by a system that compensates them for their lower levels of consumption and specifically for their lower carbon emissions. I then move on to outline a proposal for a system based within the Contractionand Convergence framework and including consideration of the carbon exchange that implicitly takes place when goods are traded. Section 9.4 considers the nature of trade between bioregions, and how the setting of the new and more local boundaries might balance the need for clear identification and uniformity, with the need to achieve maximum possible self-reliance. Questions are raised about the need to share resources between bioregions and how interregional trade might work based on the concept of ‘trade

subsidiarity’. It also encompasses a brief discussion of how a world made up of selfreliant bioregions would confront problems of insularity.