You are objecting to a governmental role in moderating the volatility of
farm market prices, and you are implying that this role violates the
principle that costs ought to be internalized. I don't get the logic. We
would have to discuss your rationale if you are arguing that govt should
spend no $ on agriculture, although I assume that you agree that govt should
support education, highways, police, etc..
Not incidentally, the best of New Deal farm programs legislated a floor
under farm income, enabled production controls to limit volatility, ensured
that all farm income came from the market rather than the govt, and did this
with almost no govt expense. The peanuts, tobacco, and sugar program have
always worked more or less like this. Free market economists don't like
these programs because companies are required to pay farmers "artificially
high" market prices, which are of course passed along to consumers.
I live in Kentucky, and we have one of the largest concentrations of small
family farms and relatively vital small communities. I wish it were because
we have a "green bean program," but there is no such thing. There is a
tobacco program, and we are grateful.
Center for Sustainable Systems
433 Chestnut St., Berea KY 40403 USA
Phone: (606) 986-5336; Fax: (606) 986-1299
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob MacGregor [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 8:56 AM
> To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.Rutgers.EDU
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: five acre farm was farm or business
> It is also interesting that government programs that are
> purportedly designed to take marginal land out of production
> always seem to show up when markets are flooded with grain (or
> whatever) and prices are depressed. The depressed prices have,
> in the past, meant that government defficiency payments have been
> very large; thus, setting aside land would help bolster prices by
> cutting back supply and would reduce defficiency payments.
> Don't get me wrong, the conservation effects are valuable and
> worthwhile -- but I'm not sure that they should be the
> responsibility of the government (harken back to another recent
> thread which discussed the responsibility of business to
> internalize externalities).
> Anyway, however the government does it, it manages to provide
> roughly 1/3 of farm income year after year.
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: