Thursday, September 11, 2003

From a National Post article on WTO Cancun:
The U.S. government spends US$3.6-billion a year on its 25,000 cotton farmers, depressing the world price to the point the African countries cannot export their main crop at a profit."

I calculate that's $144,000 per cotton farmer per year. That's quite a bit more than I make. It's also 320 times the average per-person GDP of $450/year in sub-Saharan Africa (according to this Reason article also on WTO Cancun). So if the US removed its cotton subsidy and gave it directly to sub-saharan Africans instead, it could double the yearly product of 8 million Africans. Or if only the US removed its cotton subsidy and instead paid its cotton farmers the same amount regardless of what they did, then the price of cotton would not be distorted and African cotton farmers might have a chance on the world market and enrich themselves with no help from us. It's insane what we do to hurt poor people in other countries.

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