Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, February 04, 2005

A Blog Dedicated to Ending Agricultural Subsidies

It was part of the lore when I was a graduate student at Iowa State University that Ted Schultz (the economist, not the cartoonist) left there in a big dust-up because he came out publicly in opposition to the state's ban on oleomargarine. Chicago was only too glad to snap him up.

Protection of agricultural interests is anathema to economic efficiency. I was once at a conference where someone supporting Canada's ban on the import of chicken meat asked with a straight face, "But do you want to become dependent on the Americans for your supply of chicken?"

Yes, if they do a better job of it than our protected chicken farmers.

I was just pointed to a blog [H/T to BrianF] that is opposed to all agricultural subsidies.

Here is one of its recent postings:

The Afghanistan government may be forced to give subsidies to farmers to persuade them not to grow opium. (poppies account for 60% of economic activity) and to grow wheat, rice and cotton instead. Farmers can’t compete with Western exports of these commodities because they are so highly subsidised.

Hang on a minute. Wouldn’t it be simpler for the US, Japan and Europe to abolish their own subsidies (thereby returning money to taxpayers) rather than pricing Afghanistan's agriculture out of the market?

Would a slogan such as "Abolish cotton subsidies and help kill the drugs trade" play well in the US?

hear! hear!
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