Sunday, August 13, 2006

the folly of bureaucracy, in one quote

“I don’t know. I don’t care. They just asked me to stamp it, so I stamped it.” ~~ some Chinese official guy

Inspired words by a man thoroughly challenged and stimulated by his work. Rather revealing, isn't it?

It doesn't even really matter what the context is, given the fact that so many endeavors burdened by bureacracy wind up being designed, directed, and carried out by people whose knowledge and drive matches the Chinese official who so eloquently sums up the bureaucratic mindset.

For those who wonder, the quote comes from this Intellectual Conservative article questioning the trustworthiness of the USDA organic label. I didn't think I'd ever find a worthwhile article from such a site, let alone one about organic food. It's definitely a worthwhile read, especially if one is increasingly concerned about the food they eat.

Here's the portion of the article related to that quote:
Lavigne also quotes Matsumi Sakuyoshi, a Japanese inspector who has checked Chinese soybean fields for organic certifiers. Sakuyoshi found an empty plastic bag of herbicide. When confronted, a farmworker told her the wind must have blown it from a neighbor’s field.

Sakuyoshi also questioned a certificate that said a piece of land hadn’t been farmed for the previous three years, making it eligible for organic status. Hardly any Chinese farmland is left idle. The official who stamped the certificate told her, “I don’t know. I don’t care. They just asked me to stamp it, so I stamped it.”

The article concerns itself with organic farming in places like China since an increasing number of organic foods sold here in the US with a USDA label come from places like China. If organic consumers are uneasy after reading that excerpt, they may feel downright ill after reading the rest of the article (hint: human waste is involved).

I guess I now have even more reasons to seek out locally grown and produced food as much as possible. Additionally, the collection of fodder for condemning the USDA continues to grow. In fact, stay tuned for more anti-USDA posts (well, at least one) in the coming week. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to chow down on some mandu that'll be dipped in organic soy sauce produced here in Michigan by a pioneering organic company that rejects the USDA label (more on that later).


Blogger Wally Conger said...

Critter, Critter...where for art thou, Critter?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Warren Bluhm said...

Actually, "wherefore" is Shakespearian-era talk for "why," so Juliet was asking "Why oh why do you have to be Romeo instead of some young hunk my family doesn't hate," rather than "where the heck are you, Rom ol son?" But you knew that, and more importantly, where for art thou, Critter???

7:58 PM  
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7:52 PM  

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