Monday, February 07, 2005
This is very good news. Bush is said to be seeking limits to farm subsidies in the latest budget. Good good good. Because the farm bill he signed in 2002 was bad bad bad.
Rich country farm subsidies are one of the most contentious issues in the global trade talks because they are so unjust. Farmers in rich countries are paid by the government which allows them to sell crops at below market value harming incomparably poorer farmers in developing countries who cannot compete with the subsidized commodities produced by the US, EU, and Japan. For an example, check out this site about Cotton subsidies and how they affect Africa. Read it and email your senators and representative.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, who is probably the best known blogger has a posting on farm subsidies on MSNBC. He doesn't like them either, but it sounds like his dislike is mainly because it is bad economics (which it is). My personal dislike of farm subsidies is twofold. Firstly stated above because they harm poor farmers by lowering the prices of agricultural commodities which many of the worlds poorest sell for their livelihood. Granted, not all farm subsidies harm poor farmers in other countries, but some do. Secondly because it is such blatant hypocrisy on the part of the developed world. Rich countries preach free trade, but tolerate trade distorting programs such as farm subsidies when they benefit their own special interests (primarily big agribusiness in this case at the cost of everybody else). This is something of which the developing world takes careful notice.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here is an article that talks about the myth of farm subsidies primarily helping poor farmers in the US.