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#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!