Tuesday, August 19, 2003
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The blogosphere and the Guardian take on agricultural subsidies
This is from their first real post:
Go check out the site, which contains some useful links.
Just as interesting as the battle to end agricultultural subsidies is the fact that the Guardian, in setting up the site, thinks that the blogosphere can affect political change. I've expressed my doubts on this score in the past, but I also hope I'm wrong in this case.
We'll see if these kinds of campaign blogs are more interesting than the ones that Maureen Dowd ripped to shreds last week.
UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias is pessimistic that anything of substance will be accomplished with this campaign, because of the limited reach of English-language blogs and the concentration of interests within the agricultural sector of the U.S.
I share his sense of pessimism but not its depth. First, as KICKAAS itself observes, the key actors to influence are the United States and the European Union. The blogosphere's power in the U.S. is much debated, but it occasionally demonstrates some pull.
As for the EU, I hear they speak some English on the continent. Indeed, given the elite nature of EU policymaking, a blog sponsored by a major media outlet might actually significant attention in the corridors of Brussels.
As for the U.S., the concentration of interests is acute, but it's worth remembering that U.S. agriculture is not a monolithic bloc. In some sectors (sugar) the United States is not competitive; in others (wheat, I believe) it is. So, some of these concentrated interests stand to gain from liberalization in agriculture.
So, to sum up: still generally pessimistic, but not as dour as Yglesias.
Some parts of the Green movement also oppose free trade in food because they want to go back to a more locialized pattern of food production and distribution. They may not want to use subsidies, but they probably would favor controls, which would have some similar effects.posted by: Jim Miller on 08.19.03 at 04:55 PM [permalink]
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