Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Jacob Levy wrote this on the Volokh Conpiracy yesterday:
It's hard to devote as much attention, as constantly, as is warranted to the issue of rich-country agricultural subsidies and protectionism.
Yet he does a good start making up for this with the directness of his explanations:
The policies... destroy an appalling amount of wealth and potential wealth in the developing world.
I agree wholeheartedly; it's hard to devote as much attention to this as it deserves, because nothing ever gets changed. You can't even get people to argue with you about this. You can foam at the mouth and rant that US corporate agro-business is stealing bread from the mouths of the poor in third-world countries, and even the softest-hearted left-winger shrugs and says "Yeah, but what can you do about subsidies for farmers..." Why is there so little upset over this? To me it seems more obviously unfair and more destructive than potentially invading a third-world country. At least if you get invaded by the US you get a fair chance of getting a reduction in tariffs from the US, but of course those agricultural subsidies and textile protections are still there.

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