GLOBALLY, the population is moving to urban areas. Food and Jobs are two topics that arise for discussion. This suggests that by talking about it we will solve the problem. Which problem? The problems suffered by the people who move from rural areas to urban areas. Abolishing farm subsidies in Western countries is not the solution.
Farming is a job. In addition, it is hard work. Moreover, it doesn't pay well even under the best of circumstances. Then, when the population increases, it gets harder because plots get smaller. What helped the decline of Russia was the absence of primogeniture.
Cities had to start somewhere. England and France were emerging nations at one time in history.
The rural populations is moving to cities rather than building cities.
The affluent leave the cities and move to rural areas because they can afford to escape the cities.
Cities are indeed vibrant areas of creativity. This even in emerging nations. (We don't need a new world big city to have creativity. The WSJ published an article:
Why Some Islanders Build Better Crab Traps (about the creativity in commerce of emerging communities. It is well worth reading.
There is a very unpleasant step between reduced subsidies making cheap food available in emerging nations, and farmers in emerging nations becoming 1. Self-sufficient and 2. Being able to produce a sufficient amount of food to feed the large numbers of people.
That unpleasant step is where abolishing subsidies comes up against phasing out subsidies.
(The banning of DDT was a positive environmental move that created the unpleasant step of increased deaths due to the spread of malaria.)
One trendy catch phrase used by the media vis-à-vis our current governmental conundrums is "unintended consequences." That phrase has the moral equivalent of a little boy outside church on a Sunday morning tossing a hand-full of change into the air and saying what God wants he'll take and the rest belongs to me.
There really are no unintended consequences.
True, globally, people are moving en-mass into urban areas. There is no work in rural areas and there are no jobs in cities. Migrations to European countries confound the migrants. "How come in such a wealthy nation the government cannot provide 300,000 jobs?"
However, abolishing subsidies will have consequences. If our leaders stop referring to unpleasant consequences as unintended consequences, they may start to focus on solving the problem--micro finance was one of the solutions propounded by an economist in an emerging nation. That earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview