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Old 07-03-2005, 07:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
lascivious
 
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US Abandoning farm subsidies.

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On the other major issue to be discussed at the summit, African aid and debt relief, he signalled he was ready to abandon US farm subsidies, which have unfairly distorted the market for African farmers.
I am a strong opponent of farm subsidies. Not only because they reward a failing business practicess by corporations but because they break the backs of agricultural producers in 3rd world countries.

Farm subsidies cost us $28 billion a year. America had an agricultural trade deffecit of $5.8 billion in 2004 and it's growing despite the subsidies.

Yet while talk abroad is of abandoning farm subsidies very little of this is translating into action. The major problem is that the farm belt represents a major political base for the GOP. The largelly concervative farmers who like Major Major's father in Catch 22 believe that everyone one who asks for govenment handouts is a communits with the acception of course themselves. Yet farmers are scarse these days. Most subsidies go to large agribusiness firms who have very strong loby groups in washington.

It would love to see this bear some fruit.
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Old 07-03-2005, 07:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantus
I am a strong opponent of farm subsidies. Not only because they reward a failing business practicess by corporations but because they break the backs of agricultural producers in 3rd world countries.

Farm subsidies cost us $28 billion a year. America had an agricultural trade deffecit of $5.8 billion in 2004 and it's growing despite the subsidies.

Yet while talk abroad is of abandoning farm subsidies very little of this is translating into action. The major problem is that the farm belt represents a major political base for the GOP. The largelly concervative farmers who like Major Major's father in Catch 22 believe that everyone one who asks for govenment handouts is a communits with the acception of course themselves. Yet farmers are scarse these days. Most subsidies go to large agribusiness firms who have very strong loby groups in washington.

It would love to see this bear some fruit.
I mostly agree with you, but it is important that a nation be able to fully feed itself. We should never be in a possition where an embargo would cause food shortages in the US. I do not know the level of the subsidies or how much our production would fall if they were removed (hell it might even grow) so this is just a statement on general principle.
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Old 07-03-2005, 08:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I read a disturbing article in the paper today that African farmers don't believe they will see any improvement in their lives even if we remove subsidies to our agri-businesses. (Let's not confuse them with farmers). They claim all monetary support will end up in the hands of a corrupt government.

I agree with the removal of the subsidies because they didn't go to the small family farms for which they were intended. It would appear that the family farms of Africa realize the same.
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Old 07-03-2005, 08:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What Africa really needs to get itself out of the hole is good old fashioned capitalism and real elected governments.

Until that point all money to Africa will mostly be wasted.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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From my understanding, the main reason we helping farmers is because of NAFTA and CAFTA type legislation. It's no longer a "free market" when other countries use slave labor and ship products back into our country to undercut the honest business people.

These free trade agreements are destroying our economy, as well as our national security when we can't even provide food for ourselves like Ustwo said. The subsidies aren't really attacking the root of the problem, although I do feel bad for the farmers.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
From my understanding, the main reason we helping farmers is because of NAFTA and CAFTA type legislation. It's no longer a "free market" when other countries use slave labor and ship products back into our country to undercut the honest business people.

These free trade agreements are destroying our economy, as well as our national security when we can't even provide food for ourselves like Ustwo said. The subsidies aren't really attacking the root of the problem, although I do feel bad for the farmers.
Farm subsidies are far far older than NAFTA.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Farm subsidies aren't just important for the GOP base - trust me. Millions of farm votes flow in for Democrats from all over the midwest, same as Republicans.

Also, can you provide a link to your quote, Mantus? I'm curious to read the article.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I mostly agree with you, but it is important that a nation be able to fully feed itself. We should never be in a possition where an embargo would cause food shortages in the US. I do not know the level of the subsidies or how much our production would fall if they were removed (hell it might even grow) so this is just a statement on general principle.
It is not possible to produce food and distribute it domestically without petroleum. Your complacency with the status quo of our energy dependence, in view of your quote above, is curious to me.

<b>but it is important that a nation be able to fully FUEL itself. We should never be in a possition where an embargo would cause ENERGY shortages in the US.
</b>
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Old 07-03-2005, 10:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by host
It is not possible to produce food and distribute it domestically without petroleum. Your complacency with the status quo of our energy dependence, in view of your quote above, is curious to me.

<b>but it is important that a nation be able to fully FUEL itself. We should never be in a possition where an embargo would cause ENERGY shortages in the US.
</b>
True, lets go drill in ANWAR.

But the logistics of distribution are far easier to handle in a crisis than production. Distribution can take many forms and be even controlled centrally in a crisis, production requires a set amount of time and preparation. Plants only grow so fast.

Also I am not complacent in the energy situation. My assessment is such that I am not concerned about any impending petroleum crisis. The fact that it will run out is a given, and I view it as a great opportunity more than a doom and gloom woe is us scenario.

Ironically this may just be what the farmers ordered, as ethanol is made from corn.
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Old 07-04-2005, 06:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
lascivious
 
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Doh, forgot to pu the link in.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4647383.stm


Ustwo,

Capitalism only works if there is a strong govenment to keep it in line. Something Africa will be lacking for some time due to it's messed up social animocity.

samcol,

The curent US and EU farm subsidies not only equal the economic playing field with cheaper 3rd world labour but undercut it. Undercut it just enough so that local food production becomes unsustainable and farmers are forced to sell to agribusiness firms who are capable of competing in the global market place. Most of the time these corporations end up growing stock that is completely ingnorant of the countries food demands and thus the country has to buy it's food.

As far as having farmers go out of business I just don't see it happening. I can see the corporations go out of business because they won't be able to compete on the corporate scale. Yet local farmers will still have business because consumers will still choose fresh local vegetables over cheap frozen imports. The fact that local production is regulated to standards also makes local foods an appealing choice over foregn products that might be awash with poisons and god knows what. So I think the US market will take care of it self.

The only loss will be in our agricultural exports, which will balance out by the lack of subsidies to farmers.
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Old 07-04-2005, 09:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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People in favour of the principle of capitalism should also be in favour of abandoning subsidies. Yes, there will be instances of exploitation (the ugly side of capitalism) however, capitalism is often the precursor to democracy. Exploited people are historically apt to revolution as evidenced by, for example, the events leading up to the Declaration of Independance all those years ago.

The downside is that capitalism, while encouraging democracy, also encourages homogonisation and can erode traditional cultures and social structures.
 
Old 07-04-2005, 11:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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agricultural subsidies, structural adjustment, the cycle of extreme debt affecting many many countires in the southern hemisphere:
three phases of the same object, the same process--the maintenance of the american system by dumping the overproduction generated by centralized monocropping agricultural practices on the rest of the world.

structural adjustment provides incentives for transition into an american model agriculture but at the same time forces open markets--the immediate effect of which is to open those markets to this type of dumping, which arrives at prices well below what locally-oriented agricultural production could match as a simple function of economies of scale. so local agriculture organized along previous models gets destroyed and the possibility of transitioning into a newer type of local agriculture is permanently undercut--the country finds that thanks to structural adjustment it is even less able to feed itself than before, which in turn creates the conditions for the accumulation of yet more debt.

and this is an outline of only one phase of the structural adjustment process.

to echo a point made earlier: american agricultural subsidies do not operate in isolation.
their elimination is an important step in dismantling the neocolonial order.
which would, in turn, bump the american model, and american hegemony.
so i wonder whether they will be eliminated.

i was talking to a friend of mine last night about this--american eating habits are among the strangest out there simply because the food supply system enables people to get pretty much anything they want at any time of year----no seasons. the result is the curious hodgepdge that is american cooking styles--which is becoming a cuisine without seasons as well.

to maintain this permanent harvest requires an enormous supply pool scattered all over the planet--grapes from chile, alternating with grapes from california with grapes from israel--all interchangeable from the viewpoint of a consumer because all are simply parts of a continuous flow of available grapes...same would obtain for almost any food group--to maintain this requires a variant of old-school colonial-style agricultural organization---
this food supply system also plays into the scenario outlined above in that for paricipation in the supermarket supply pools pretty much requires a shift into monocropping--but of course the food produced is produced for american supermarkets--the revenues are often controlled by transnationals...so very little about this system benefits the areas of production in any meaningful way.

so the talk about africa needing capitalism is absurd: they already have it, and in a much more brutal form than you would see if your horizon for thinking about even a limited area of captialist production--agriculture--is framed by visits to your supermarkets and what you see on fox news. capitalism in its american-dominated variant--the type of capitalism that has metastized since world war 2--is the cause of this type of poverty that you see being both talked about and not talked about through the medium of the live 8 thing.

as for the connection between capitalism and democracy--to imagine that african nations do not know full well what a joke that is is patronizing almost to the point of obscenity. it assumes that african people are like children who have no way of understanding what has been happening to them for 40 years of neocolonial domination--or you assume that africa is what you see in national geographic, a kind of endless exotic zoo full of authentic natives doing authentic things blissfully unaware of the manly man world of Capitalism--which is idiotic.

the regimes in place are reactions to capitalism. they are capitalist regimes.

to argue that "africa needs capitalism" is to basically say that you havent the faintest idea what you are talking about.
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Last edited by roachboy; 07-04-2005 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 07-04-2005, 06:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
agricultural subsidies, structural adjustment, the cycle of extreme debt affecting many many countires in the southern hemisphere:
three phases of the same object, the same process--the maintenance of the american system by dumping the overproduction generated by centralized monocropping agricultural practices on the rest of the world.
I once heard a decent argument about how U.S. farm subsidies lead to terrorism. Seriously. Because cheap food drives farmers out of business, it creates a pool of unemployed individuals who have nothing better to do and even less to do. Except die for thier fundamentalism, that is.
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