Crumb Trail
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Friday, September 05, 2003

As Cancun approaches the number of blog comments about agricultural subsidies has increased and graduated to prominence on some of the leading blogs with large audiences. Today Instapundit has a post about the latest Guardian article excoriating the EU commission and agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler for resisting what Fischler calls cheap propaganda and intellectually dishonest PR stunts.

Fischler has a point. The Guardian characterized his defense of the CAP from attacks by some print media and NGOs as " a ferocious attack on poor countries and development campaigners". Whether we call this politics as usual or cheap propaganda and intellectually dishonest PR stunts seems to be a fine distinction.

Each commentator on this issue sees things through their own lenses and filters. Instapundit sees it as a subversion of world and national interests by (chiefly French) "special interest groups within those rich nations, or of the politicians they fund" and titles his post "WHY DOES THE EUROPEAN UNION hate the world’s poor so much?”. Crooked Timber emphasizes the joint EU/US proposal to implement milder reforms in an attempt to shift the spotlight the Guardian and Instapundit placed on the EU commission and Fischler and titles his post "Why does the Bush administration hate the world's poor?".

The Instapundit comments are part of a running monologue that points out French and EU gaffes that undermine their anti-Americanism and false projection of themselves as being motivated by moral and multi-lateral world views. The Crooked Timber comments are part of a continuing monologue that criticizes Instapundit and Bush.

Neither Instapundit nor Crooked Timber have much of substance to say about the issues. I think this is mainly because the subject is complex and boring for most people but also because the public debate is dominated by politicians and activists who are influenced chiefly by rational-choice economics and political philosophy to the exclusion of agronomic, sociological and environmental facets of the subject.

Multidisciplinary approaches hold some promise of improving the quality of public policies but it doesn't appear that this will happen soon.

posted by back40 | 9/05/2003 01:41:00 PM


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