The script for Robocop, a hi-tech story of decline, had a note doodled on top of the first page. It read: “The future left Detroit behind!”
As screenwriter Ed Neumeirer recalls, it had been a prescient message. That statement has never been more relevant to the American city, after it filed the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history earlier this month with debts around $18 billion. Neumeier notes that Robocop was, and still is, a metaphor "to show the economic decline in America." He said: "The reason Detroit is crucial is actually because it's facing a commercial blight you can imagine happening in lots of places."
The cradle of auto production in the 1950s and home to the likes of Ford and GM, Detroit was once considered the engine of the American economy. But production saw a pointed decline in the 1980s when Japan appeared as a worldwide finance heavyweight and its automakers started to provide cruel competition. Decades of stagnation ended in an $80 billion US government rescue for the auto industry between 2008-2010. Today, Detroit is a shadow of the commercial boomtown it once was. In 2012, Forbes named it the most perilous US town and the most unhappy for 2013.
If we examine the causes of Detroit’s meltdown, the reasons are obvious. Decades of decay and denial with corrupt politicians using Asia as the convenient scapegoat for all the ills facing the city’s auto industry’s decline.
A parallel can be drawn with how the EU is dealing with the onslaught of palm oil into EU markets. Rather than celebrate the fact that the ultra- yielding palm oil could be the panacea to the ills facing EU industry with a source of cheap oil, the European Commission (EC) elected to assemble a rat pack in their Environment Directorate to bring a halt to the growth of palm oil.
The EC, in its determination to protect the EU’s indigenous edible oil industries such as sunflower and rapeseed oil then proceeded to fund anti-palm oil campaigns, the likes of which had never been seen against any other commodity, using surrogate green groups to spin spurious environmental violations that’d please most Hollywood scriptwriters.
When finally exposed by Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo as well as websites such as the Palm Oil Truth Foundation as an elaborate fraud committed against an innocent commodity, and noting that most of the battle to expose their elaborate fraud had been conducted in English, the EC’s ratpack now has directed the anti-palm oil campaigns to France and French speaking dominions such as Belgium and Switzerland.
The new strategy involves recruiting Senators to propose anti-palm oil legislation. So in France, French Senator, Daudigny’s Bill called the Nutella Tax essentially claimed that the French public needed to be protected from consumption of the supposedly high levels of saturated fats in palm oil. This completely disregarded other products on the market such as butter and cheese which contain a lot more saturated fats that Nutella and other similar products. This Bill, which would have seen tax on palm oil go from €100 (US$129) to €300 (US$390) per tonne (an increase of 300%), was rightly rejected by the French National Assembly’s Social Affairs Commission.
Other interest groups have attempted to exploit the situation. For instance, in France the illegal and unethical “no palm oil” labelling was implemented by French retail chains such as Casino and System U. In December 2012, December, Ivory Coast’s palm oil industry successfully sued Systeme U after the group staged an aggressive advertising campaign encouraging consumers to stay clear of palm oil due to its effects on the environment. The campaign was struck down by the French courts on the basis that it lacked credible ecological data and scientific analysis.
However, like in Detroit, history has demonstrated that such dishonourable actions only ends in one result – the future leaves you behind! THE END