A global industry?

Trump’s economic policy would benefit from a cold Erdinger with a lumberjack

At the risk of repeating myself, I’m going to have a little gush about the summer finally arriving in the Northern Hemisphere. There is something about the long evenings and the sunshine of a northern summer that those who enjoy more consistent seasons of the south will have trouble understanding.

For us in the north, summer brings with it the conference season, which, as a forestry hack, provides the peaks across the heights of summer – myself and my IFI colleagues become big kids in the world’s largest toyshops, full of heavy machinery and cutting edge technology.

Not that these shows always brings nice weather, mind you. Last year’s trip to Sweden for Elmia saw this ill-equipped editor lose a shoe having gone knee-deep into a bog before even reaching the showground, while my briefly amused colleague was forced to test just how waterproof his boots were after copying my efforts into a foot-deep, woodchip-concealed puddle. As it turns out, his boots aren’t water proof if the water comes in at the ankle.

Outliers such as this, aside, forestry shows are generally a wonderful place to see cool things, talk to good people, and drink cold beer. We don’t get out as often as we’d like, with our masters preferring to keep us chained to our typewriters, but we’re looking forward to seeing the inside of at least two conferences over the next three months.

From those we’ve spoken to at previous events, this feeling is widely held.

On one hand, those places that hold themselves out as forestry strongholds, love to host these events to greet fellow industry professionals from around the globe and show off their local industry. Those visiting are there to share experiences, see something different and hopefully learn new and innovation business practices. Both camps thrive on forming international relationships that increase the wealth being created.

At the risk of taking a dark turn in an otherwise upbeat editorial, I can’t help but contrast this attitude against that of US President Donald Trump, who recently thumbed his nose at one of the great forestry capitals, Canada, and has been combative with Germany, host of the impending Interforst show.

He seems to loathe foreign places and different people, with his offshore visits serving to throw his weight around and curry favour with his rustbelt support base. As head of the world’s largest economy, Trump seems happy to use economic influence to win a better deal for the US in bilateral trade deals at the expense of global growth.

Were the international economy a zero-sum game, this would make perfect sense. But it’s not. By stifling the growth of those less prosperous, all he is doing is reducing the pie that the world is sharing.

His ego may be happy to have a larger slice of international wealth as it stands today but people (read: voters) demand constant enhancements to their quality of life, especially those most in need to whom Trump has promised plenty.

The only way to deliver more is this scenario is to create more to share out. When the sideshow gets old and the easy economic wins have dried up, this will become painfully clear.

Personally, I’d like to see that inevitability brought forward and I can think of no better way than inviting the US President along to Interforst in Munich, for starters. A couple of cold beers and a German sausage or two with the international forestry community would no doubt open his mind.


Chris Cann


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