Saturday, August 28, 2004


The real farm subsidy scandal: "The most enduring political illusion is that farm subsidies are necessary to maintain the small family farmer. ... Small family farmers are not the primary dollar recipients of federal subsidies, however. According to the subsidy watchdog Environmental Working Group, 71 percent of farm subsidies go to the top 10 percent of subsidy beneficiaries, almost all of which are large farms. In 2002, 78 farms, none small or struggling, each received over a million dollars in subsidies. The bottom 80 percent of recipients average only $846 per year."

The never-ending war on protectionist ignorance: "By the late 1990s, the protectionists --now rechristened "anti-globalizers" to reflect the expanded scope of their agenda-- seemed to have recovered some of their lost ground. Their newfound vocalism made headlines during the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Seattle in 1999. Today, however, advocates of globalization are gaining the upper hand again. Bhagwati's strikingly successful defense of open markets in his recent book In Defense of Globalization has been bolstered by another influential pro-globalization voice, that of Martin Wolf of the Financial Times. Wolf's weekly columns have already established him as one of the world's most respected economic journalists. Now his ambitious new book, Why Globalization Works, offers a patient and persuasive refutation of many of the arguments most frequently marshaled by critics of trade liberalization".

In defence of price gougers: Imagine a system that could instantly respond to a calamity like Hurricane Charley by mobilizing suppliers to speed urgently needed resources to the victims. Imagine that such a system could quickly attract the out-of-town manpower needed for cleanup and repairs, while seeing to it that existing supplies were neither recklessly squandered nor hoarded. Imagine that it could prompt thousands of men and women to act in the public interest, yet not force anyone to do anything against his will. Actually, there's no need to imagine. The system already exists. Economists refer to it as the law of supply and demand. Unfortunately, too many journalists and politicians call it by a more pejorative and destructive name: "price-gouging."


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