are taking place in several sites. There seems to be some disenchantment with 'shining' stories and rethinking about development without subscribing to particular ideologies. Some of these are:
These two papers give background on subsidies in different countries and discuss
the effects of globalization on farmers in different countries. Discussions at:
In addition Madhkar Shukla is discussing the changing attitudes about business and markets in:
Some quotes from the second paper above:
"Many of the crops grown by Indian farmers come to a market place where the prices for these crops are
undermined by the agro-businesses and the subsidies they enjoy in their home countries. Take the case of
King Cotton. Between 1999 and 2002, the US agro-business share of the world cotton market grew to 40%
from 25%. This was entirely because of the $12.9 billion subsidy paid by the US tax-payer to the cotton
industry. In the same period, India’s imports of cotton grew by almost 29%, while India’s production of
cotton has fallen. The US cotton crop, meanwhile, has grown to its largest amount since 1927. An
enormous impact is on West and Central Africa, where farmers would stand to gain at least $250 million
if the US stopped its subsidy. The loss to Indian farmers from US subsidies is calculated to be about $1.3
billion (in 2001). US cotton farmers would not remain competitive without the subsidy, and according to
the World Bank, less than a tenth of the farmers would remain in business."
From the first paper:
" 'Because you are, by a long way, the biggest seller of cotton on the planet - forty per cent of all exports. Your system is destroying the market!'
Mark Lange smiles without evincing the slightest impatience. He has heard this argument a thousand times and answered it a thousand times. But repeating and repeating again, smiling and smiling again are the two main jobs of the lobbyist. He quotes research. Serious research. Big professors. The best universities. 'You have good universities in France? This research comes to a clear conclusion: the world price doesn't depend on us. Let's be precise: we have a negligible influence, barely quantifiable.'
Later, in the charming motel we are staying in, French Quarters, a staging point much appreciated by clandestine lovers, I shall consult other figures. The subsidies artificially sustain unprofitable production. Without them, American farmers would stop planting cotton. With supply diminishing, prices would pick up: a rise of between five and seventeen per cent according to the experts. "
And so on. Similar stories about corn and sugar. This does not seem to be the 'invisible hand' where markets seemlessly adjust.
Erik Orsenna cocludes:
"In the field of agriculture, as elsewhere, multinational firms try to lay down the law. But here, more than elsewhere, families fight back. On this struggle depends what remains of humanity on our planet.
This leading role of time is something the lovers of the market wish to deny. Throughout the whole of history, national economies have been protected in their early years by customs barriers. This was the role of so-called 'infant industry' protectionism. They were left to face competition only when they had reached adulthood. That is to say, once they had acquired strength. This respite is forbidden to them today. Globalization, which obliterates space, wants also to kill time. Perhaps the increase in the price of energy, by making us pay properly for transport once again, will restore reality to space and resuscitate time."