Who receives farm subsidies?

There’s a persistent myth in Europe and America that farms subsidies are needed to protect the “family farm” and all the virtues that accompany rural life. Religious leaders and Catholic Bishops conferences seem to be especially prone to this argument. Continue Reading...

Farm Subsidies Under Fire

The Financial Times reports that generous farm subsidies in the United States and Western Europe are increasingly beleaguered. If the US and Europe don’t voluntarily eliminate the unfair advantage their agriculture producers enjoy in the global market, then developing nations are likely to take legal action through the WTO. Continue Reading...

Chafuen on Latin America’s Problem

What, exactly, was the point of the recent Summit of the Americas in Argentina? President Bush’s participation there seemed to accomplish little more than to excite street mobs and vandals. And then there was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, doing his best Fidel impersonation as he led opposition to a U.S.-backed free trade agreement. Continue Reading...

Free Trade is Simple

Hans Mahncke, an International Law and Trade scholar at Hong Kong’s Lion Rock Institute, takes to task recalcitrant NGOs in a recent TCS article. The essential sticking point is the inability to reform the WTO: The WTO is plagued by two major faults. Continue Reading...

The Fair-Trade Fallacy

Let me quickly respond to this week’s Acton Commentary: While I agree in broad strokes with Dr. Larrivee’s analysis of the questionable assumptions of the fair trade movement, with respect to coffee in particular, I don’t agree that the problem is “low productivity in the countries in which farmers live.” I have previously argued that the source of the issue is in fact too much coffee, so that the market is saturated and cannot sustain high prices given the declining worldwide demand. Continue Reading...

Why Not Fair-Trade Beer and Cakes?

Economist John Larrivee looks at the logic underlying the fair trade coffee movement and applies it to beer and baked goods. It doesn’t quite make sense. Larrivee points out that “the question is not the difference between what different parties to the production get paid, but rather who adds value, how much, and where.” Read the full commentary here. Continue Reading...

Europe’s Social Model Closes Doors To The Poor

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Americans living in Europe were often scolded about the need for big, centralized government to look after the poor, and we heard yet again about the moral superiority of Europe’s social model over America’s market-driven one. Continue Reading...

SHAFTA?

Last night, at Acton’s 15 Year Dinner in Grand Rapids, former president of El Salvador Francisco Flores gave a reason for his county’s great economic success: it stopped blaming others. Compare this with another statement yesterday by another politician, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. Continue Reading...

Mr. Barroso’s Wake-Up Call

Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, is calling on all “civilized and rational” people to combat anti-trade populism of the sort that is designed to whip up fear and protectionism. Continue Reading...

CAFTA, Prudence, and Volleyball

After receiving some responses to a previous post (CAFTA/Culture of Life: Enemies?), I thought I would post the the exchange with my most recent dissatisfied critic. Here’s to volleying! (I have edited the emails for confidentiality.) Continue Reading...