Thursday, March 30, 2006

Food Safety and Standards Bill

Such irritants in the Food Safety and Standards Bill, 2005, (tabled in the Lok Sabha recently, but not passed) dampen an otherwise worthy attempt to fuel growth in the food processing sector. As Gokul Patnaik, former chairman, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Developments Authority (APEDA) opines, “The authority simply loses its shine with nineteen members, too many out of which are government officials”.

G-8 country

Canada, a leading G-8 country, is one of the healthiest economies in the world. According to World Bank figures, its- GDP stood at US$980 billion in 2004. Real GDP growth is projected to grow by 3.0% in 2005-06 (OECD economic outlook). As of June 2005, inflation rate of the economy stood at 1.5%. Current unemployment rate is 6.7%. The 2005 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook has ranked Canada at fifth globally for overall competitiveness. With an advanced communications infrastructure, it is a breeding ground for new technologies.

Mr. Landis

Now, as Mr. Landis rightly points out, the mere fact of a state’s diktat does not of itself make a thing into ‘money’: ‘Chartalism’ is indeed a flawed doctrine, as he reminds us. Sadly though, this philosophical truth can sometimes have as little practical effect, as do many of the other objections which natural law raises to the Hegelian state’s positivist legal incursions onto our birthright of liberty.

Substantial holding of gold

Nonetheless though, we too own a substantial holding of gold, for reasons most recently set out in our 2004 Annual Letter to shareholders (, and we have to demur with Mr. Landis upon several key issues. At the risk of over simplification, we should like to remind the reader of Jastram’s main conclusions, by citing the same passage as Mr. Landis, namely:
. Gold is a poor hedge against major inflations.
. Gold appreciates in operational wealth in major deflations.
. Gold is an ineffective hedge against yearly commodity price increases.
. Nevertheless, gold does maintain its purchasing power over a period of time.