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Posts Tagged ‘farm subsidies’

I have added a new category to CAI’s “cloud” of topics that are search-able on the right side of the blog here.  It is labeled Unintended Consequences.  I have written a post specifically about this before, and mentioned it at other times, but I realize that I notice this pattern quite often and so thought I would try and point it out more.  Sometimes it can be positive or fortuitous consequences… but more frequently it seems to be negative repercussions brought on by glowing intentions.

In that effort I point you to this article from WaPo about how foreign aid in Haiti has made their devastation from the earthquake even more acute.  They import over 50% of their food, including 80% of their most-eaten staple rice.  The unintended consequences are two-fold as far as I can see:

  1. Because of historical and current aid their local economy has not grown as it should.  Their president recently requested less aid so that local producers can start to contribute to the recovery of the country.  So as a consequence of continually supporting a country through aid efforts it wass possible to actually undermine the growth and stability they need to no function efficiently as a country..
  2. As the Washington Post article describes, subsidies from our government to our local farmers makes the rice we export cheaper than the Haitian-grown variety.  We push for lower tariffs in their country, while using subsidies in our own to gain a market advantage, all in the name of free trade.

What seems as beneficent global aid in one instance, and separately as a boon to our local farmers in the form of subsidies… can be linked to increased depression in a third-world country.  Certainly Haiti’s woes are not limited to these agents, but this tragedy is serving to bring to light the inequities these specific policies may have contributed to.

It is too trite to recite the adage of what road good intentions pave.

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