Monday, February 16, 2004
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A beacon of multilateralism
The Financial Times reports that the largest single economic entity in the world is shirking its international obligations and alienating the rest of the world -- again:
UPDATE: I see from the comments that I'm being chided for not joining the BBC in blaming the United States for this state of affairs.
Let me first stipulate that U.S. ag subsidies are an odious blight on our trade policy and should be eliminated as soon as possible.
Let me then stipulate that, as I've said before, "if the U.S. commits a venal sin with its agricultural subsidies, then the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and Scandinavia are committing mortal sins with theirs." Click here for further discussion on this topic.
And, just to make sure everyone has the same facts on this, let's reprint this Economist graph on ag subsidies:
posted by Dan on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM
A timely piece of blogging, particularly in view of this biased trash now on the BBC website:posted by: BF on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Biased trash? Ah, you're an American and it's on the BBC ergo it's biased trash...
Fact 1. The EU farming policies are a hideous mess of subsidies for people who don't need or deserve them.
Fact 2. George W seems to have taken it upon himself to be "more subsidised and less competitive than thou". Steel, farm subsidies and all the rest whilst spinning the crap that Americans love to hear about self-reliance and standing on their own two feet against those big government Europeans.
The only difference is that we _know_ we're over-subsidised and are trying to do something about it.posted by: aL on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Although it is obvious that the EU is willing to obstruct negotiations within the WTO in order to further what it perceives as its interests, it is not questioning the relevance of the institution or threatening to forego it altogether. Its position is a bargaining stance. If the developing countries are able to work in concert, withholding progress on issues such as intellectual property protection, the Europeans will be obliged to compromise on subsidies. Until the EU refuses to work within the multilateral forum, however, it seems somewhat disingenuous to imply that it is favoring unilateralism.posted by: GMD on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
How can anyone from the U.S. possibly complain about the EU position on farm subsidies?
Oh, I forgot; Republicans are hypocrites.posted by: Rich Puchalsky on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
"The only difference is that we _know_ we're over-subsidised and are trying to do something about it."
"We" know it too.
I'm not quibbling about US policy. The article, however, makes no mention of Europe. It is ergo, biased trash, based on its content, not its source.posted by: BF on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
The very definition of protectionism means that you are more than willing to give the middle finger to the rest of the world. Thus, it should not surprise anyone concerning the Old Europeans current behavior.
I appreciated the link to the BBC story. The following especially caught my attention:
“Joseph Stiglitz was one of President Clinton's chief economic advisers.
"The bottom line," he says, "is that there is no US commitment to free trade."
"It is really a commitment to getting other countries to give access to American producers to their markets and the US reciprocates when it is convenient."”
I cannot completely disagree with Joseph Stiglitz. We are often hypocritical and must change our ways. However, is the well know economist going to abandon the Democrat Party? Stiglitz might be able to guilt trip the Republicans, but the Democrats are now completely off the reservation. He and Brad De Long are considered to be Bush Lite by the liberals who dominate the party’s presidential nominee selection process.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Dear David Thomson. Bush is not a free trader. Therefore, DeLong, Krugman, and Stiglitz can hardly be considered "BushLite". And all three of these guys advocate a greater social safety net, which is why we like them.posted by: praktike on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
The EU system of trade barriers is probably the largest covering any group of democratic nations. Its continued maintenance is an embarrasment to everyone living in an EU nation who supports free trade. The US has built some significant barriers itself, but the EU is much worse. I hope the EU and the US can make progress in reducing these subisdies.posted by: sam on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Thanks for the helpful update, Dan. It's important to keep in mind, however, that subsidies are not the only non-tariff barrier in agriculture and, as such, are not reflected in the Economist graphic.posted by: GMD on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
I just saw the update, it looks like the size of the EU farm subsidies relative to gross output value has decreased. Unless I'm reading the graph wrong. Well, thats some good news at least. Its still much too high, but its heading in the right direction.posted by: sam on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
I agree with praktike (and throw in Robert Reich), however what I do see as a personal and professional failures of DeLong and Drezner is that while they blog, and while they are far braver than Glenn Reynolds and Luskin in that D&D enable comments, they fail themselves, their professions, and their readers in failing to engage in a dialogue with readers who have legitimate questions and critiques of free trade especially how it relates to fair trade, and job creation.
Instead the typical DeLong/Drezner free trade column is just this: free trade best. Delong's variant: free trade best, we need a greater social net.
Two days ago, Max Sawicky posted a very reasoned critique of free trade, but Max's arguments and others have been made frequently in both DeLong's and Drezner's blogs. DeLong and Drezner's response to interested, intelligent, readers? None.
Contrast that with Richard Feynman, who felt that if you couldn't explain your ideas to a high school student, you didn't understand them yourself.
Contrast that with Robert Reich who clearly feels teaching, education, and outreach to be part of his profession.
What could D&D be doing with their blogs to better educate and speak with (not lecture to) the interested and affected readers? How could D&D be using their blogs to educate others and to learn more about their interests themselves?
DeLong and Drezner fail their blogs and their professions.posted by: idiotme on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
“Dear David Thomson. Bush is not a free trader. Therefore, DeLong, Krugman, and Stiglitz can hardly be considered "BushLite". And all three of these guys advocate a greater social safety net, which is why we like them.”
President Bush is a hypocritical free trader. While this displeases me, he is, by far, the lesser of evils. The Bush administration can still be guilt tripped to do better. On the other hand, the Democrats are now completely hostile toward free trade. Are you listening to the Democrat presidential nominees? They are not hiding their contempt for the unambiguous free trade position of Brad De Long or even the more fearful one of Joseph Stiglitz. Why is this a mystery to you? Do you perhaps live on the planet Jupiter? Oh my God, aren’t you reading the New York Times? What type of liberal are you?
And yes, the two previously mentioned economists probably do advocate a more generous safety net than do the Republicans. But guess what? They are still heretics in today’s Democrat Party.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
One thing no one seems to mention is that while the EU, and France in particular, are obtinately mulish about ag subsidies, they are at the very worst keeping the status quo with vague notions of cutting them some time in the future. Bush is increasing ag subsidies like cotton.
That's my take on it, from my rather shallow knowledge of the issue; if I'm completely wrong, please feel free to embarass me.posted by: Max M on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
For a while I have been wondering how John Kerry's stated position on trade issues compares with how he is portrayed by the disillusioned conservatives that inhabit this comments section. And after a quick scan of his web site I found that the doomsday scenarios played up by some here are just not supported by the stated positions of John Kerry. You can read about them at: http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/trade/
I think what we are seeing is an interpretation of statements designed to appeal to the hard-core old-style Democrats. There will be a change in tone as the general election becomes the focus for Kerry. The same thing was seen in 2000 as Bush ran hard right for a portion of the Primaries than returned to emphasis on the "compassionate" part of his agenda in the summertime.
No where does Kerry say that he is in favor of tariffs or trade restrictions. He says that he is in favor of workers right to safety and to organize. He says that he is in favor of programs to help American workers be more competitive. He says that he is in favor of enforcing current trade rules and getting rid of tax incentives for companies to move overseas. But all of these are just about changing the rules of free trade. I think that DeLong and Stiglitz would both find themselves very welcome in a Kerry administration.
Bush on the other hand might say the same things, but he has shown that he is willing to sacrafice his positions and priniciples in the face of pressure from American businesses, even if it is not in the best interests of the American economy (I wonder what the impact of steel tariffs was on American jobs in manufacturing).
I am more willing to take a chance with someone new who will be advised by people interested in policy than a known hypocrite advised by people only interested in playing politics. You can make a different choice if you want.posted by: Rich on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Oh, swell. Another round of kvetching about some dopey story from the BBC. We are supposed to consider seriously whether a country running the largest trade deficit in the history of the world is using trade policy as an instrument of empire.
Look, the knock on Bush administration ag trade policy isn't that US farm subsidies are too high. They were too high in the 1980s, too. Congress sets the terms for farm programs, not the administration. The difference is that during the free-trade Reagan administration America was squarely in the corner of international trade liberalization. Under Bush's administration it is not.
Bush's OMB and USDA could have followed the example of their Reagan-era predecessors by opposing the large expansion of farm support programs in the last farm bill. They didn't (though some officials at USDA originally wanted to). Bush's USTR could have kept its distance from EU opposition to the Group of 20's desire to cut developed-world farm subsidies. It didn't. The administration could at least have extracted a price from France and other EU governments for sparing them isolation in their fight for continued subsidies and trade restrictions, and it didn't do that either.
Bush administration farm and trade policy, like all other areas of policy not related to terrorism or the Pentagon, is subject to veto by the people responsible for the mechanics of Bush's next campaign. In the calculation of these people opposition to subsidies could cost votes in swing states; support for trade liberalization that could mean reducing subsidies eventually could cost votes in swing states. And that is the end of the story as far as this administration is concerned. The calculation might not be right -- Karl Rove's influence with this President is often more impressive than his acumen -- but getting through the election is absolutely the only thing that matters to this crowd.
A couple of technical points with respect to the Economist's chart: first, its picture of American farm subsidies is somewhat misleading in that support payments tend to be concentrated in a few farm commodity areas. Cotton producers get large direct payments, and so do wheat farmers, while apple growers, grape growers and most livestock producers don't. This concentration on commodities that figure prominently in international commodity markets makes US subsidies look worse than the macro statistics suggest they are -- if you're a West African cotton farmer you aren't going to care that American pineapple growers don't get price supports.
Also, some farmers get support to protect them against competition from other American farmers, not from imports. These include dairy farmers, who for decades have been able to sell to the government what they cannot sell on the market (which has helped farmers on the West Coast) and been guaranteed a higher price for milk if it is sold to consumers in fluid form (as opposed to being made into cheese or butter -- this has helped producers in Florida and Texas). The effect of this policy has been to encourage new producers in the favored areas at the expense of the established dairy industry in the less politically influential Upper Midwest. Production quotas, long a feature of both the peanut and tobacco programs, have also long served to protect producers in one part of the country from losing market share to more efficient producers in other parts of the country, sometimes in neighboring states.
I mention these tedious details because they will very likely still be relevant to American farm policy ten or even twenty years from now. To overcome inertia, to change policies that no longer reflect the national interest, it is necessary to understand their details. Opponents of farm programs almost never make the effort to do this, and so when farm bills are debated the opponents of farm programs almost always lose.posted by: Zathras on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Lies, damn lies, & statistics.
to echo Zathras's comment, the Economist graph does not match up COMPARABLE products. Last I read, the bulk of american subsidies went to products grown in the south and midwest: corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and (?). Let's take a look at the global impact of the 5 largest american subsidies before we start the usual round of europe bashing. Not to say that it isn't deserved, but considering the US's lack of clean hands on this issue, perhaps a more moderated tone would be appropriate.
"usual round or europe bashing"
Take it from the top once again:
We can imagine the outcry had this been a Fox News article bashing Euro trade policy without mention of the US.posted by: BF on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
“No where does Kerry say that he is in favor of tariffs or trade restrictions. He says that he is in favor of workers right to safety and to organize.”
Well, let’s look into horse’s mouth:
“Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?
A: I support free trade, but I don't support what the Bush administration calls free trade. I will order an immediate 120-day review of all trade agreements to ensure that our trading partners are living up to their labor and environment obligations and that trade agreements are enforceable and are balanced for America's workers. I won't sign any new trade agreements unless they contain strong labor and environmental standards.
The disingenuous way that Senator Kerry defines free trade would be disastrous for the Third World. It would essentially stop all economic development in its tracks. He is defining free trade in almost exactly the same manner agreeable to America’s union bosses. Brad De Long will have to lie to himself to accept Kerry’s position. The Massachusetts’ senator is being downright deceitful.
Here is a smple of a major union boss’s position on a particular trade bill:
"AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said lax enforcement of weak laws on the books of the Central American countries meant young women were forced to work long hours in unsafe conditions for poverty wages and workers trying to form unions faced threats and intimidation."posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
As I said, I think Kerry is carefully making statements that don't piss off Unions, while not coming out against free trade. He makes no statement against specific agreements and emphasizes that he wants to see current agreements enforced.
As for his approach being disasterous to third-world economies...well, I don't think we know that. We know that it would not favor the producers, but perhaps there is a lot of room to improve labor conditions in other nations while maintaining them as price competitive. There could be tremendous opportunity to improve the standard of living in other nations through imposing some standards on labor and environment. It is a complicated question, one where neither candidate has an ideologically pure position, and that might be to the credit of each.posted by: Rich on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
We are supposed to consider seriously whether a country running the largest trade deficit in the history of the world is using trade policy as an instrument of empire.
Wow. Neatly summarized.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
As I said, I think Kerry is carefully making statements that don't piss off Unions, while not coming out against free trade. He makes no statement against specific agreements and emphasizes that he wants to see current agreements enforced.”
Ah shucks, it appears that there might be some confusion regarding Senator Kerry's’ trade policies. Where’s the liberal media? Aren’t they suppose, to push him to be more explicit? Also, when will the media compel Kerry to explain if he still believes that the America must wait for the United Nation’s approval before taking military action? Why the silence?
“As for his approach being disastrous to third-world economies...well, I don't think we know that. We know that it would not favor the producers...”
This is a false dichotomy. There is no such thing as hurting producers without hurting the overall economy! And yes, we do have sufficient evidence to show that these policies inevitably damage the Third World. You are simply ignoring them.
We must act very cautiously when interfering in a Third World’s labor practices. There is a strong possibility that we will do more harm than good. Lastly, we can take it for granted that any policies advocated by our major labor unions will prove to be detrimental to the citizens of the Third World. The unions are only interested in protecting their turf. They could care less about eradicating Third World poverty. Let me make it real simple for you:
1) American labor unions are hostile toward the Third World
2) The Democrats suck up to the union bosses---and therefore voting for the Democrats in the next election is tantamount to declaring your indifference toward Third World hunger and destitution.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
"2) The Democrats suck up to the union bosses---and therefore voting for the Democrats in the next election is tantamount to declaring your indifference toward Third World hunger and destitution."
I apologize as I skip too quickly through the comments and often skip past your comments.
This last paragraph of your seems like an argument in support of socialism and world government. To bring up the big bogeyman, communism even.
Are you supporting socialism? If not, would you help me understand what it is are saying?
(Posting anonymously at lunch hour....)posted by: CuriousAnonymous on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
"2) The Democrats suck up to the union bosses---and therefore voting for the Democrats in the next election is tantamount to declaring your indifference toward Third World hunger and destitution."
I apologize as I skip too quickly through the comments and often skip past your comments.”
Hope you are enjoying your lunch. Are you eating a vegetarian burger along with a glass of soy milk? You should read both sentences together. Still, I simply do not grasp why you think that my last sentence read alone suggests a call for a socialist economy. The exact opposite seems to be the case. I believe that I’m clearly saying that the Democrats’ economic policies, which are highly influenced by the union bosses, will cause enormous damage for the poor of the Third World. Only free trade policies offer them any realistic hope.
I could look this up myself, but since you are interested in the answer...
Did Kerry vote for or against NAFTA? And was his vote full of the incomprehensible nunace that has cloaked his Iraq positions over the years, or was he straightforward in his opposition or support?
Also, how has Kerry voted in giving the president authority to negotiate trade agreements? For or against, or "it depends, depending on the president?"
Since you are assuming Kerry's positions in his position papers are for show, it would be interesting to find out how he voted when forced to make a choice.posted by: Apalled Moderate on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
posted by: KenB on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
10 oz. steak, rare, grilled, yummy, thank you.
Reading the two statements together, and still I fail to see why union members, union bosses, or anyone should vote against his or her interests.
What is wrong with my voting for myself, my kids, our pocketbooks, and being indifferent to third world hunger and destitution? I mean, the logical alternative to that would apparently be taxation, world government, loss of US sovereignty -- world socialism. So what are you proposing? (But please leave my wallet and my kids wallet alone.)posted by: CuriousAnonymous on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Which John Kerry should we be listening to?
“KERRY: I have been fighting to have labor and environment standards in trade agreements. I worked to make sure we had it in the Jordan agreement and in the Vietnam side agreement. You didn't need it in Chile is because they have high standards and they enforce them. The important thing is, I would not support the Free Trade of the Americas Act or the Central American Free Trade Act until they have stronger standards in them. If they sent them to my desk, I'd veto them.
Yup, it’s time for the media to perform its duties. They must make sure that Kerry no longer mealy mouths on this issue. The American people demand specifics.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
DT & Rich:
Rich, thanks for the link. I see the irrepressible Mr. Thomson jumped over to the site too.
DT, the two statements don't contradict each other. In the debate, Kerry criticizes a policy of requiring exactly the same environmental protections in the countries we trade with. The other quote says there should be some minimum standards and that Kerry has supported treaties where those standards exist.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
“What is wrong with my voting for myself, my kids, our pocketbooks, and being indifferent to third world hunger and destitution?”
You may not find it wrong, but the majority of Americans hopefully disagree. And the heck with being altruistic---free trade policies enrich the overall economy. We are not really doing the Third World people any favors. Outsourcing drops the prices we all pay for our goods and services.
The American social contract was not set up to protect you from competition. One may have a right to ask for a certain degree of help to find another job, but the rest of us do not owe you a living.
The union members opposing free trade are similar to muggers on the street. They are using the political system to steal from the rest of us. This is utterly immoral and should be roundly condemned.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Hmm, I think I'll vote for my own personal interests.
You sound like someone trying to give my money to someone else while trying to put me and my kids into the coal mines.
Dan, I wish you would ban the communists from your site.posted by: CuriousAnonymous on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
“DT, the two statements don't contradict each other. In the debate, Kerry criticizes a policy of requiring exactly the same environmental protections in the countries we trade with. The other quote says there should be some minimum standards and that Kerry has supported treaties where those standards exist.”
The devil is in the details. Senator Kerry still needs to be more specific. Let’s have him point to some actual policy initiatives. That way we won’t have to keep guessing. He is currently mealy mouthing and trying to be all things to all people. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months. Right now, the public has a vague notion regarding his views.
I believe that you are also interested in foreign policy issues. Have your read Thomas Friedman’s most recent column. This is what he says:
“Imagine that Tim Russert followed his excellent interview with President Bush with an interview today with Mr. Kerry. Here's what I hope it would sound like. Mr. Russert: "Senator Kerry, you essentially voted in favor of the war, but argued that the way the Bush team carried it out was deeply flawed. Well, now we're there. Tell the American people how you would deal with Iraq going forward”
Wouldn’t you like Senator Kerry to answer this question?posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Saw Friedman's column. Everything I see from Kerry on foreign policy makes me cringe. In his heart, he just doesn't believe terrorism is that much of a threat. After all, he's not going to be a war president, he's going to be a jobs president.
As for Kerry and trade, I'll disagree with you that more detail will be forthcoming, or even all that important. Campaign spew out detailed programs in position papers that never end up enacted when the guy gets elections. The predecessor President was well known for his detailed proposals (thank you Dick Morris) that solved itty bitty problems for itty bitty money. In a campaign, I'm looking more for large themes and a feel for each candidate's predelictions.
Rich may be right on Kerry. I don't know yet.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
CuriousAnonymous voting for your own personal interest in this case means using the threat of force to take money from those who are generally less well off (the taxpayers) and then give it to those who are generally wealthier (the ag producers). In the process you force many existing domestic ag producers out of the business and make it impossible for new ones to enter the business. As a bonus these policies cause substantial death and suffering in poor third world countries. It is Robin Hood in reverse and calling it despicable is too kind.posted by: TJ on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Appalled moderate: Kerry voted in favor of NAFTA. I believe he voted in favor of several other trade agreements, also.
Ah. Here's a good link for the facts, if not the analysis.
The problem is that it takes a commitment to free trade in the US to outweigh the political forces opposed to it, and while Clinton for whatever reason was strongly committed, Kerry doesn't appear to be.posted by: David Nieporent on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Weren't you guys telling me a few years ago that Greed is Good? That progressive taxation took away the incentive to innovate, to work? That the invisible hand worked best and worked by letting everyone determine what was in that persons best interest? That I needed an incentive to work and that's why the USSR economy imploded?
Now you're telling me that my voting for fair trade is taking money away from the taxpayer? That wanting to trade JOBS only with countries that don't have major child labor issues, major health issues, major pollution issues, major subsidy issues makes me an immoral mugger and sucker at the teat of the taxpayer?
I look around, and I don't see any quality jobs being created here. I don't see a brand new industry with high paying jobs being created. I don't see a training program attractive to a 35-65yo engineers.
I do see massive debt and the likelihood there won't be any training programs.
You free trader wackos are going to have to do better than this! Homey don't play *that* game!posted by: CuriousAnonymous on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Greed may be good but taking money from the poor to give to the rich (Ag subsidies in action) is not greed, it is theft by force. Child labor is less of a problem with free trade (children in factories) then with "fair" trade. Fair trade = no jobs in third world countries so the children work in brothels, or fields, or scavenge in dumps. This result apparently gives "fair" traders a feeling of moral superiority.
TJposted by: TJ on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
If one were to take the completely cynical view that John Kerry's career has been that of a political weathervane, one could assume that he voted for NAFTA and the WTO agreement because Massachusetts interests, especially the high-tech sector around Boston, thought these would benefit them. Were he to answer to a different constituency, say, a national Democratic constituency, Kerry could be expected to change his position as much as he thought he had to. If he had to change it 180 degrees, he would.
But that is a completely cynical view.posted by: Zathras on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Ah, yes... The agricultural powerhouse of Scandinavia. How can the rest of the world compete?posted by: GFW on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
“But that is a completely cynical view (of John Kerry).”
Mickey Kaus repeatedly states that we should indeed be that cynical about John Kerry. He is supposedly a mealy mouther who will say just about anything for political advantage. The liberal media are on the Kerry bandwagon only because “while he may be a scum bag, he’s our scum bag.” I strongly predict that this honeymoon will end, and Kerry’s campaign will be severely harmed. The liberal media may initially protect a fellow liberal---but the lure of a good headline eventually outweighs everything else.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
CuriousAnonymous, whether "greed is good" or not, you miss a fundamental difference between the two situations. I can say (and I do) that sex is good -- but that doesn't mean I would defend rape. Just because something is good doesn't mean that all ways of obtaining it are defensible.
When you work hard and innovate, even out of "greed", you benefit yourself and those who choose to utilize your innovations. When you vote against free trade, you're voting to _force_ me to do business with the people you approve of, and prevent me from doing business with the people you don't approve of. Even though the former people are charging me more.posted by: David Nieporent on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
wtf are iceland and the scandinavian countries doing farming?
these countries have bad climates, little sunlight, minimal soil, and minimal arable land (rocks, mountains, etc)
japan is similar, though it has a better climate
its all stupid cultural crap.. there's no bloody reason that they are farming!
you'll notice that there is essentially no farming in alaska, while northern canada farms what it can (wheat, etc) and has minimal price supports (the major issue for canadian farmers is that they can generally get better crop prices on the open market and that restrictive quotas for milk harm smaller local producers as they can't expand ye olde fashion way, aka cows humping)
as for bush and subsidies: he has instituted targeted subsidies that are designed to win elections (steel) but there is significant party and domestic opposition to them and they will hopefully be removed post election (since rove won't care anymore about west virginia!). business will hopefully be able to get subsidies removed, as big business is generally against subsidies, its only a few companies (ADM, LTV) and a lot of farmers/po folks that benefit, while most companies (GM, Ford, Wrigley, Hershey, Kraft, Deere) get screwed.
The dems look to be a horror show. Kerry has a "good" record on trade, but he has the same relationship to "yay" and "nay" that WJC had to "is". Kerry's voting record is only proof that he is paying attention to the leftmost 30% of the US public, and moves his votes according to their wishes. His campaign statements are incoherent, as one can see by comparing his votes on trade, his "policy" on trade, and his statements on trade. His position on trade is: straddle, with an outstretched wet index finger to test the wind.
as for "Bushlite" DT wasn't saying that Stiglitz and DeLong are Bushlite, but that they are called that (or comparable attacks) by the Dean/Nader core of Democrats. They are horrible economists who would kill our country due to their worship of the state, but at least DeLong sort of believes in free trade.
as for fair trade. Fair trade is allowing individuals to decide for themselves what is in their best interests and for the state to have no involvement. Otherwise, you get "fair" trade, where the stronger party determines what is fair and forces the weaker party to go along. Free trade allows the weaker party to say screw you.
the state has no business in the bedrooms, warehouses, offices, stock exchanges, or liquor stores of the nation. it only needs to shoot the criminals and keep away pirates and foreign marauders.posted by: hey on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
I am not really a free trade supporter but I still think that the EU agricultural policy is totally insane. And the fact the both EU and US is trying to push free trade on everybody else when we can't even do it ourselves is completely insane.posted by: Pär Boman on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
Also on Scandinavia, due to the gulf stream it is considerably warmer than Canada and can maintain more agricultural production.
The main reason why Norway has not joined the European union is because they want to keep their very high subsidies key issue in Norway is simply to keep the country side alive. Iceland is so small so everything is subsidies forward and back, the rest of Scandinavia is in the EU anyway.posted by: Pär Boman on 02.16.04 at 10:27 AM [permalink]
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