Thursday, March 22, 2007

Farm Supports and Military Spending

Two peas in a pod

USA Today has an article on what's known as log-rolling. Thats when not in politics is called "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". The military lobby is holding the farm-subsidy lobby hostage (or is it the other way 'round?). Two more insidious uses of our money I can't think of, and in fact this situation just lays bare what nations-state politics has come down to. Just ask the victims of these policies overseas.

Farm subsidies and protectionism mean that rich farmers in Japan the US and Europe have their work protected and subsidized making their products more expensive for the very people who subsidize them, which at same time hurts poor farmers in places which dont have subsidies - or at least at the massive levels we do - so therefore these poor farmers arent able to grow and trade themselves out of subsistence poverty. This then holds them back unfairly, and it hurts too those that could be buying from them at cheaper prices or selling to them in expanding markets. Its a bad anachronistic and narrow approach to living in our global village.

The military lately of course has been directly killing people overseas. An army is ok (actually not really but sometimes second best is best). It protects against attackers. But when the army becomes the attacker it brings nothing but shame and an increasing cycle of violence. Maybe the new US Congress will step-up and do what the people have demanded of them.