September 06, 2006

Lester Brown against himself

Lester Brown says that food prices are too high, which is bad for the poor. Lester Brown says that food prices are too low, which is bad for the poor.

1 comment:

  1. Biodiversivist9/09/2006 04:55:00 PM

    He does not appear to take a simple black and white view of farm subsidies. Interestingly enough, the world is not black and white, it is grey.

    His point: They can be used to boost the poor out of poverty. They should not be used by affluent societies to comptete against impoverished ones.

    He is arguing that we stop them here, and allow the impoverished to continue since agriculture is one of the few ways they can compete. An analogy: with an income tax, the wealthy usually get taxed at a higher rate. Another analogy, playing golf or bowling with a handicap.

    I am also agnostic on his viewpoint. Malthus' arguments looked airtight right up until they deflated. The Economic transition theory happened after the fact, and so it goes. Brown could turn out to be right in the end. It is a complicated world. Economists have a very imperfect track record for predicting the future, like everyone else.