bq.. For the developing world, *farm subsidies are slow-motion weapons of mass destruction.* Yesterday�s ‘WTO agreement’:http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040801/wl_afp/wto_trade_talks_farm_eu_040801111149 is the first multilateral deal in a decade that pledges reductions. If it holds, much could change � but it could also mean new pressures for adherence to international IP laws.
In 1994 developing countries made a deal at the WTO. In exchange for TRIPS (the Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement), they were supposed to get major reductions in agricultural and textile subsidies.
It was a bad deal. The world got TRIPS, but it didn’t get much of the agricultural reform that was promised. Europe, the United States, and Japan have mostly moved backward on agriculture since 1994. *The average European cow lives on $2.50 a day subsidy when 3 billion people live under $2 a day.* The average Japanese cow, meanwhile, lives on a healthy $7.50 a day, rather like a college student.
But yesterday’s deal is a new hope. It agrees most prominently to reductions in cotton subsidies. We in the U.S. pay out $4 billion a year to 25,000 cotton farmers who then produce $3 billion a year in cotton. That’s $160,000 per farmer — we’d save alot of money by just opening a federal amusment park that employs everyone in the cotton industry.
>> ‘Lawrence Lessing: An agreement that may change the world’:http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/002063.shtml
p. The figures are just amazing… The average European cow receives 90 dollars a month in subsidies for the govt. and on top of that gets free lodging and food and medicine… it’s a great deal. In comparision, a typical Pakistani *family* makes less than that. Per capita GDP is now ‘652 dollars’:http://finance.gov.pk/survey/home.htm according to the ‘Ministry of Finance’:http://finance.gov.pk/ but not much of it filters down.
Oh to be a cow in Japan…
h4. see these for more
* ‘Kick all agricultural subsidies’:http://kickaas.typepad.com/
* ‘Dawn: Farm subsidies slashed in WTO deal’:http://www.dawn.com/2004/08/02/top16.htm
Of course the french are mighty pissed off… not to mention the cows. Another amazing statistic is that the European Union spends well ‘over 50 percent’:http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/index_en.htm of it’s budget building lakes of wine and mountains of cheese (which it later burns of course – those starving africans wouldn’t appreciate a fine wine if it came and hit them in the head…)
At the end of the day, the French aren’t going to protest too much, for now that the ‘EU has expanded’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EU_enlargement, they can’t have billions of euro’s going to people who might actually need them – oh no.
fn1. That works out to be 13,250 Rs. a month.