However, according to Dambisa Moyo and her new book “Winner Take All”, China has shown no signs of similarities with European colonialism, such as religious conversion, use of military force, or handpicking the local political leadership. On the contrary, China seems highly uninterested in taking on sovereign responsibilities or political control. Indeed, China’s ‘No Strings Attached Policy’ confirms its disinterest of interfering in other countries domestic affairs. My colleague, Sina Blassnig, explores this angle more deeply in her article. Nonetheless, even if China is not engaged in a type of new colonialism, there is yet a reason why the rest of the world should worry – China’s recent quest for natural resources.
Why agriculture? Having realized that consuming local foods is not always environmentally-preferable to consuming imported products (see my last post), what else can I do to save the planet as a conscious consumer? Obviously, I go for organic food. And as the number of fellow conscious consumers has significantly increased the last decade or so, aggregate demand for organic foods and drinks (OFD) has followed suit. In fact, the global market for OFD has more than tripled between 1999 and 2009.
Suppose you are an environmentally conscious consumer living in, say, Scotland. You walk into the supermarket and feel like buying, say, strawberries. You are offered a choice between strawberries that are locally grown and strawberries imported from Spain. Everything else being equal, which one would you go for? Most “conscious consumers” would arguably go for the local type, thinking that it would be better for the environment.