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View Diary: BREAKING: Obama Backs Peru FTA / NAFTA Extension, Peruvian Farmers to Starve (175 comments)

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  •  Subsidies are not the problem (6+ / 0-)

    is free trade REALLY a good idea for food though? Should WalMart and Safeway and Stop N Shop import apples from China and Peru even though they grow it 10 minutes away, but it's more expensive (and tastes better)? or better to have cheap apples shipped from thousands of miles away?

    you cannot separate agriculture from our trade issues.

    The problem is NOT subsidies. If you read my first diary in my series on subsidies, you will see how i refute the myth that our subsidies create "artificial" low prices for cotton.

    you can also read this economic study that talks about how ending subsidies for cotton will not raise prices.

    Overproduction and low prices has been a central feature in agriculture for two centuries now, before even subsidies. Subsidies are a REACTION to low prices/overproduction. they are NOT THE cause of it.

    Look at coffee. no subsidies. not grown in first world. still global glut because of overproduction, and thus record low prices.

    what you ultimately need, because farmers are price TAKERS, are price floors for commodities to ensure farmers everywhere get paid a fair wage, and make ADM/Cargill/Smithfield and other users of commodities pay a fair wage to farmers, so thus eliminate the need for subsidies. and to control overproduction, you need supply management. Coffee used to have the Intl Coffee AGreement where counries had quotas to ensure a decent price for coffee. this was put in place in the 60s becasue we feared "Castroism" would overtake latin america and we wanted to throw the peasants a bone. Reagan came along and destroyed the agreement, and thus, deregulated the price of coffee in the name of "free trade." prices have collapsed, and thus driven farmers off the land from everywhere from Nicaragua to Brazil to Vietnam.

    Agribusiness wants cheap commodities. they don't mind subsidies because it's the taxpayers who are paying. what they HATE is paying farmers a fair price. farmers would much rather be paid from the market than from taxpayers. All of this flies in the face of free trade dogma.

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