The Common Good
May 2004

Poor Trade

by James P. Goodman | May 2004

Consider the Turtles

Elizabeth Palmberg’s "Don’t Trade Away the Farm" (January 2004) neatly sums up many of the problems with the World Trade Organization and future bilateral trade deals. While farmers from the developed North are paid just enough in subsidies to allow them to "hang on" and keep farming, they sell their grain at below the cost of production and flood the world market. When this grain is "dumped" on the developing world, indigenous farmers are forced off the land and seek jobs that often do not exist in the cities. While these farmers were on the land, they could at least provide enough food for their families. In the cities, if they can find a job, it seldom pays enough even to buy food. How can anyone say they are benefiting from this? In its early years, the United States protected its developing industry with strict tariffs, at least until they were capable of competing with foreign imports. Why are we denying the developing countries of the world that same right now?

James P. Goodman
Wonewoc, Wisconsin

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