Farm Subsidies Hurt the Poor Worldwide

Got milk? The European Parliament sure does. European dairy farmers were in Brussels this week to protest proposed changes in dairy regulations.

Protestors doused the parliament building with milk and capped off a rough 10 days for the European Union (EU) capital following a failed summit last week over the EU’s next budget.

At the heart of both of these issues is the EU’s massive and wasteful Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which in the span of a week seems to have enraged both British Prime Minister David Cameron and bovines in Bordeaux.

What is lost in all of this is just how selfish and wasteful these agricultural policies are. Subsidies and price controls are protectionist measures that insulate European farmers from the world market, raising prices on foodstuffs and distorting the market for goods.

In particular, they hurt the world’s most vulnerable. Millions of people in developing nations—which are normally agriculturally endowed—are blocked from the European market and prevented from profiting off of European consumers. This stifles development in third-world countries and keeps millions in poverty.



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