Thursday, August 03, 2006

End the War On For Farming

This is probably a big risk considering I'll be home in Saskatchewan next week, but I'm going to link very favorably to this op-ed in the LA Times by Jonah Goldberg on farm subsidies. He's right in saying that there is almost no issue besides this one that almost everyone outside of the benficiaries (and their political connections) agrees is terribly policy, yet nobody has the political will to do anything about it. These subsidies cost billions, hurt consumers and the environment, and most appallingly, make it almost impossible for farmers in really poor countries compete on the global market and move along a path to development. All to please less than 1% of the the population in the richest nations on Earth.

We just can't seem to let go of the romantic notion of a farmer toiling away in the fields. This idea is behind similar policies found in most states and provinces where an "agricultural land reserve" is artificially maintained through zoning and subsidies. Unwisely, many environmentalists actually support these types of protections despite the fact that a monoculture such as field of corn is about as "natural" as downtown Manhattan. And probably less so than Central Park.

Read the whole thing.


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