December 06, 2003

End protectionism

The excellent blogger at Iberian Notes is exactly right to condemn the protectionism that occurs in the European Union and, to a lesser extent, in the United States:

I do not like Bush's economic policies at all (I do not pretend to be an expert on this, so correct me, please, if I'm wrong). About all I can say is he's just ended the "steel war". Good. The freer trade is, the better for everyone in the long term. Now, what pisses me off are the subsidies to agriculture. It's not quite as bad as the EU, which basically buys the French farmers off so they won't riot (and a French farmers' riot is a lovely thing, with burning tires and trucks overturned and produce spilled out onto the road and occasional farm animals slaughtered in public places.) But it's ridiculous to "protect the family farm" by paying subsidies to huge agricultural corporations while keeping tariff barriers up against democratic Third World nations. (If we want to pressure non-democratic countries with trade sanctions, that's another story.) Colombia should bloody well be selling us millions of pounds of fresh fruits a year. Mali, one of the few real African democracies (a quite admirable place, really; look it up. They're even both Islamic and anti-fundamentalist) has peanuts out the wazoo that they'd love to sell us. The Central American countries, El Salvador and Honduras and Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, are standing by us right now. They've sent troops to Iraq. All four of those countries should be admitted to NAFTA right now. And Colombia, while we're at it. If any country deserves a break, it's them. They've been fighting the same damn civil war since 1948.
It is absolutely unjust that rich agricultural corporations in the Heartland are subsidized by the Federal Government the American people while there are nations dying --literally, dying!-- to export there crops to us. They can do it more cheaply, 'twill mean lower taxes for us and we'd be doing much more to eradicate poverty than the UN and the NGOs and the Foreign Aid (also known as the Dictatorship Enablement Programs).

I hadn't known that Mali is a democracy. I think I'll do some research on it. More on that later, probably.

Oh, and about the weak-dollar economic policy of the Bush Administration: I don't know enough about economics to know whether it's good or not -- from the response of others in the blogosphere, i suspect not. All I know is that for each cent the US Dollar loses against the loonie, I get to pay hundred dollars or so more for tuition.

Oh, and I really like Iberian Notes. It's written by an American living in Spain (I'm not sure why he's there) and is an excellent read on Spanish culture and politics.

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