Saturday, October 04, 2008

Re: Luxurious Lifestyles

Cyfred comments:
Many of your conclusions are incorrect. Your claim that farm subsidies benefit small farmers is absurd. There isn't one person on any side of this issue who has done a resonable [sic] amount of researech [sic] on the topic who would agree with you.
First, off, thanks for the comment.

Secondly, I think we should make a distinction between small local farmers and agribusiness - large, highly capitalized, but still domestic farmers. Certainly subsidies help agribusiness more than they help small local farmers. The problem is that if you get rid of subsidies all of that business that currently goes to agribusiness will most certainly not go to small local farmers. The cost of domestically growing wheat, or rice, or sugar or whatever is subsidied will go up. And the sales that domestic farmers used to get will now go to foreign producers who produce much more cheaply (even including the transportation costs) than do US farmers.

But make no mistake, small local farmers are helped by subsidies. In 1999 they were paid on average $4141.

Now, combine the subsidies with import quotas on certain farmed products, and the market is strongly distorted in favor of domestic farmers over foreign farmers. Get rid of the subsidies and import quotas and small local farmers will disappear in favor of cheap foreign farmers. Keep subsidies and you force all domestic consumers to pay more for food than they ought to. This doesn't hurt the rich. This hurts the poor who pay a substantially larger percentage of their income to food. It's foolish.
Your personal knee-jerk gut feelings don't really count and are potentially harmful.
Are you suggesting that I censor myself in lieu of the harm that I might cause by speaking? Really? I am generally of the opinion that the best response to bad (even harmful) speech is more speech. So keep the comments coming. But I will ignore any suggestion that I not speak, even if you think that speech is harmful.

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