[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#1995: Economics of Sugar Industry: Blanchet comments

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

 According to the logic of Merrill's arguments
 the American sugar industry should have been
 closed a long time ago because its is notoriously
 uncompetitive. It is still operational because there
 are powerful economic interests that lobby Congress
 to protect it.

 Economic nationalism is well-honed tool to protect a
 nation's industry, especially in the early phases of
 industrialization. The US did so on a grand scale, Japan
 has done it, still does it, elatriye. And many of the
 Asian tigers did just that and I may add with the full
 backing of  US Governments for geo-political reasons
 during the Cold War years.

 As for agriculture, US farming is well protected and
 US farmers routinely receive billions in direct subsidy
 to keep them solvent. Not to mention  water at
 subsidized prices, superb state-supported education
 and research facilities ... And the US consumer by
 and large pays the bill.

 Likewise, in Europe, we have the Common Agricultural
 Policy (CAP) which pumps billions into the farming
 sector to keep it solvent.

 In other words, the powerful of this earth all practice
 economic nationalism and are doing their best to
 impose free trade upon the weaker countries .

 The implications for Haiti: complete dislocation
 of its agricultural sector. They want us to produce
 mangoes and specialty coffee and to forget about
 corn, rice and beans.

 What will then happen to the 70% of the population
 that still lives in the rural areas? They will be forced to
 migrate to the cities and it is easy to envisage
 P-au-P with 5 million people by 2025.

 What will they do? How will they be fed? How  will Haiti
 pay for the food imports to feed that displaced population?
 How will Haiti pay for the infrastructure to receive such
 an influx of people? It takes at rock bottom  $500 per
 capita to build such infrastructures (roads, housing,
 utilities, schools ...)

 Will they be able to migrate freely to Miami, the DR, the
 Bahamas as a way of easing the demographic pressure?

 What about the societal fallout from such an outcome. If
 you think that the current level of criminality is a problem,
 well wait till you see what it will be like  20-25 years from
 now unless current trends are reversed. This is what
 happens when a whole way of life is disrupted. We are
 already experiencing it.

 A much more sensible approach would be to focus on
 the development of the agricultural sector. This implies
 in my opinion selective protectionist policies for at least
 a generation until the country  gets on its feet. Then, and
 very gradually we will be able to consider becoming
 integrated in the world economy.

 Anything else is suicidal!