Thursday, May 1, 2008

Subsidies to Big Agriculture


From The Wall Street Journal:

At a time when parts of the world are facing food riots, Big Agriculture is dealing with a different sort of challenge: huge profits.

The robust profits are emerging against the backdrop of a food crisis some experts say is the worst in three decades.

Comment: As food prices spike and grain companies’ profits soar ever higher, I continue to question the justification for farm subsidies. Most subsidies end up in the hands of large corporations like Archer Daniels Midland. And it must be pointed out that companies like ADM are making out like bandits: Profits for ADM climbed a whopping 42% in its fiscal third quarter. While I am pleased that ADM and other grain producers are having great success in their industries, there should be no doubt that corporations like ADM do not need any extra help from the American taxpayer. Additionally, as much of the world grapples with mounting food prices that have become severe in some developing countries and that has led to rioting, poor farmers from developing countries can not compete on the world market with large corporations that receive subsidies in rich countries. Our government constantly harps about how developing countries should liberalize their trade, yet our subsidy policy makes their attempt at a decent livelihood far more difficult and discouraging. This is all an example of how crony-capitalism makes matters worse for everybody.

2 comments:

The Historian said...

Another interest group cave in with severe consequences to the starving poor. But what does big agrabiz care?

VH said...

And our elected class also gets away with this. It's astonishing how the American taxpayer gets screwed.