Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Down Down WTO"

"On Tuesday, several dozen protesters clashed with police after a street march that drew about 4,500 people, police said. The protesters — mainly South Korean farmers — said they fear they will not be able to compete if their domestic agricultural markets are opened up under a WTO treaty." (FoxNews)

That's just too bad for them, yet this behavior is extremely selfish. The left portrays these riots as anti-poverty or anti-globalization demonstrations but the point seems to be in protecting domestic products from evil 3rd world competitors. This is the situation in the EU where most of the agricultural subsidies go to big farms (which don't need them) and to Queen Elisabeth. Then these farmers and land owners are able to produce surpluses and sell them at a very low price (lower than their would-be free-market value) against which the 3rd world farmers can't compete. Artificial barriers, tariffs and policies create problems.

"The extremely useful web site shows the real beneficiaries of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). In all countries, it is big businesses like Nestle, Cadbury, Arla and people like Queen Elisabeth and Prince Charles. Not really the typical family farm." (JohanNorberg)

Also, these people (the farmers, their supporters and anti-globalists) don't understand the shift that's taking place here. A few centuries ago people started to move from agriculture to industry and industry is now turning more and more into services. It's all about comparative advantage. The poorest countries gladly produce and export agricultural and manufactured goods for us while we create new technology and provide the best services, research, new innovations and hi-tech.

So, if the South Korean farmers lose their jobs because of globalization that's only a good thing and a sign of that things are moving in the right direction. Countries with economies that are unable to adapt are doomed.

Don't blame me if I missed the message these anti-globalists (you know - the "WTO sucks", "Capitalism is boring" -crowd) are supposed to carry. When I turned on my tv to watch Euronews all I could see was a bunch of teenagers attacking the police with some sort of bamboo sticks. Should we take these people seriously? Only a fool would.

"That these people parade themselves as the friends of the poor merely demonstrates how self-deluding people can be. With friends like these, the poor of the world need no enemies." -Martin Wolf

More on subsidies:
-The Guardian
-The Globalisation Institute



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