07 diciembre 2007

of the gods and subsidies

so, from here and there i've gotten the idea that religion evolved from agricultural needs. back in the day, everybody farmed and they NEEDED the environment to do certain things and NOT do other certain things. unfortunately, man can't enforce his needs in this sphere. thusly, they offered "sacrifices" and devotion to the Powers/Forces-that-be so everything would come out capitally.

not thinking of making any sort of analogy, but think of that juxtaposed with this, from Acton.org:

"The $291 billion farm bill currently up for debate in the U.S. Senate offers
more of the same, discredited thinking on subsidies that ultimately harm, not
help, American agriculture.

While there are some proposed measures to limit subsidies to farmers who derive two-thirds of their income from farming -- and perhaps to set some income limits in the $200,000 to $300,000 range -- no consensus has yet been reached. Yet total farm income in the United States is expected to rise 44 percent this year to $73 billion. Regardless of the reforms proposed or defeated, farm subsidies will remain the largest corporate welfare program in the country.

Subsidies foster dependence for farmers to stay in unproductive and saturated markets. A Heritage Foundation study published in June notes, “Farm subsidies are intended to raise farmer incomes by remedying low crop prices. Instead, they promote overproduction and therefore lower prices further. Expensive programs to restrict plantings are then implemented to raise prices back up.


But what distinguishes a farmer who looks to the government in a time of need from one who takes it upon himself to think of new and innovative solutions to the old problem of poverty? Morgan says, “The amazing part of it is, this state has almost ignored some of the resources that we have available. These resources are eventually going to create jobs if we are smart enough to utilize them.”

What the Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper said of the manual laborers of the nineteenth century is equally true of agricultural workers in the twenty-first. “Unless you wish to undermine the position of the laboring class and destroy its natural resilience,” he warned, “the material assistance of the state should be confined to an absolute minimum. The continuing welfare of people and nation, including labor, lies only in powerful individual initiative.”

An argument:

"Are you even aware of the reason that government subsidies exist?? You do
realize that we receive extra support because so many of our competitiors across the globe are heavily subsidized by their governments in order to hold their prices below average world prices, therefore making their commodities cheaper than ours.

Therefore, we have to receive some amount of subsidies in order to be competitive with our exports. Without these subsidies, American agricuture would
be so unprofitable that the remaining 1.7% of us that are growing your NEXT MEAL
would be forced to go out of business, and your food would be coming from
overseas. If you like being dependent on foreign oil, you will LOVE being
dependent on foreign food
. As far as reaping what you have sown, keep in mind
that the American consumer has reaped the benefits for more than two centuries
now of farmers being able to stay in business despite ever increasing costs
amidst a continuing spiral in the profitability of American agriculture.

Instead, why don't we talk about the old saying of "Biting the hand that feeds
you." If it is initiative you want, you better be careful what you wish for,
because one day, farmers here may just decided that they can think of a more
profitable line of work to be in. Then you would be able to take great pride in
being independent from the meager cost of our subsidies - which take up less
than 1% of the total federal budget ["The 2002 Farm Bill has cost the average family of four only 35 cents per day. Of this amount, 25 cents go to the Nutrition title of the Farm Bill - which funds WELFARE programs, such as the Women, Children, and Infant programs (WIC), school lunches, etc. Therefore, YOU as a a consumer are only paying 10 cents per day to ensure your enjoyment of the safest, most affordable, most ABUNDANT food supply anywhere in the world."]- while being totally dependent on foreign soil for your every meal. Was that the initiative you were after?"


"The original purpose of farm subsidies was to smooth out market price
variations, and hence the shortages such variations can potentially cause. It
was a form of price insurance to make sure there is always food available. It's a good policy to make up for a clear market flaw relating to necessities like food.

That said, paying agribusiness is another matter and the subsidies should
favor smaller farms whose production is more sensitive to price variations.I
guess I find this kind of idolatry toward unregulated markets rather distasteful. Markets have flaws in relationship to the larger goals of society (like consistent affordable food). The Acton Institute has made an idol of a particular market model and thus lost track of the fact that economies are there to serve people, not the other way around. "

very interesting...