Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Subsidizing hypocrisy

We are absolute hypocrites in this country. We trumpet the virtues of free trade and open markets, demanding that developing nations give us access to their markets and insisting that free trade policy will only do them good. Meanwhile, we continue to subsidize agriculture in this country to an alarming extent (only to be outdone by the European Union). The Doha WTO trade round collapsed because of this. This is entirely the fault of developed nations. An astute commenter addresses this in his WaPo op-ed today:

"In the end, however, no trade agenda will succeed if we don't address agricultural subsidies in the United States. We cannot afford to let Doha's failure become an excuse to reauthorize subsidy programs in next year's farm bill. Subsidies and quotas shift more costs to American consumers and put us at a disadvantage when negotiating trade deals.

The worst thing about farm subsidies is not that they're wasteful -- though they are -- it's that they devastate the export sectors, the engines of growth, in developing nations. It makes zero sense to wipe out the benefits of U.S. foreign assistance in order to keep paying our farmers to be inefficient. Overcoming the resistance of the agricultural lobby, which has received these subsidies for decades, demands a concerted effort and will require leadership from President Bush as well as U.S. businesses. We will also need to hear from advocates of the world's poor."

Who wins with agri-subsidies? Agri-business. Archer-Daniels-Midland. Who loses? All of us. Not to mention those in developing countries who could farm cotton, soy, corn, etc. and sell it at a profit on the world market if it weren't for our distorting subsidies.

We extol the virtues of capitalism and the free market while maintaining these anachronistic subsidies. This is hypocrisy, and the future of free and fair trade depend on change. C'mon, Repugs- you for whom free markets are almost sexually enticing. Live up to your word and change this. The rest of the world is waiting.


At 8:25 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Americans only like the "free market" if it means impoverishing the citizens of third world nations, but not if it means their jobs get shipped to India. Hypocrites.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Noisette said...

Indeed. The isolationist, "no-outsourcing," protectionist stance is what I like least about the Democratic Party. I could probably never run for office as a Dem because of this (and be true to my ideals) (not that I was planning on it anyway).
Do you watch the show "30 Days?" A recent episode had a computer programmer whose job had been outsourced to India spend 30 days with a family who basically got his job (not exactly his job, but his type of job) in India. Once he saw the difference his job/salary made in the lives of this family, he was more at peace with outsourcing in general.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Yes, I did.

My husband and I loved it. Morgan Spurlock better win an Emmy for that episode alone. He cast the perfect guy for the show, he covered all the issues that outsourcing implicates and, overall, did a fabulous job with the show. I am rarely impressed by anything on television, but that was so well done.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry, but my comment is not related to this particular post...

I was minding my own business, reading the USA Today this afternoon when I happened across the tragic Greek's book review. I read the review, mentally vomited, and then quickly logged on to her blog to see how she twisted the words of the review to put her in a favorable light.

Lo and behold, just as I suspected...only the good stuff. In addition to letting through the cultish groupies of hers that agree with all that is wonderful about her, she decided to pick and choose the good stuff to put in her sidebar. Does she think no one READS these newspapers?

I'm with you - the overall tone of the review was bad, from headline to last written line. But of course, she snaps back with a defensive little response.

She only posts the good, as disingenuous as it truly is, because as the reviewer noted, "She desperately needs...to feel valued and validated."

And because as we know, if she didn't post all the good, we wouldn't really believe that "her life is falling perfectly into place."

How sad to be so unsure of yourself that you have to pick and choose the good stuff and ignore the rest just so you feel as if you are worthy of existing.


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Noisette said...

Gina- thanks. Stephanie Klein does seem amazingly insecure- all the more amazing because she's been so successful- but I think she understands intrinsically that her success, to a large extent, comes from her -remarkable- ability to promote and sell herself. She has sunk fairly low in the past, in keeping with what seems to be a "self-promotion at any cost" philosophy (see: http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/notice.cgi?NoticeID=2286 where she threatens to sue Blogger and the authors of a funny little parody unless blogger takes their content down- because, by parodying her, they are infringing on the "Stephanie Klein 'brand'"- good stuff). I was, still, honestly disappointed when I saw how she had twisted that review. Why post the review at all? Oh, right, because USA Today is an important newspaper, and she wants to sell books. So there you go.

The fact that she responded so defensively to my criticism shows that I hit a nerve. But you know, whatever. The irony is that she is a decent writer- but she undermines any respect or sympathy I have for her with this shameless self promotion crap.


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