Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cotton Subsidies

The BBC has an article about US cotton subsidies in which the stupidity of government intervention in economic matters shines through pretty clearly:

"John Negroponte was defending ongonig subsidies on US cotton growers during a visit to Burkina Faso, in west Africa.

"The country is Africa's leading cotton grower, although it produces just 6% of the amount of cotton the US does.

"The region's small farmers complain that they must compete against highly mechanised, well-subsidised US rivals."
Now, just as an aside, I would like to point out that the complaint that the farmers of Burkina Faso not being able to compete against mechanized US firms is, well, stupid. Granted, they have a legitimate complain when it comes to subsidies, but with regard to mechanization (unless this wouldn't have happened without subsidies) is just dumb.

Anyway! The article continues:
"He said the US had worked to promote cotton farming in Burkina Faso by providing aid funds to finance increased production and marketing."
So, unless I'm missing something, first the government uses tax money to subsidize an industry (offense #1) then takes more tax money and sends it to the competitors of the people it subsidized with the first batch of tax money so that they can be more competitive. Brilliant! Simply Brilliant!


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