Saturday, December 8, 2007

The end of cheap food

I thought it was going to be about the prices at Whole Foods, but it turns out The Economist has an excellent piece on the effects of a reversal of decades of stagnating food prices.

Ending food subsidies seems to be one of those things everyone knows would instantly make the world a better place, but that the political system is incapable of delivering:
The trillions of dollars spent supporting farmers in rich countries have led to higher taxes, worse food, intensively farmed monocultures, overproduction and world prices that wreck the lives of poor farmers in the emerging markets. And for what? Despite the help, plenty of Western farmers have been beset by poverty. Increasing productivity means you need fewer farmers, which steadily drives the least efficient off the land. Even a vast subsidy cannot reverse that.

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