Food Crisis

Becker and Posner have weighed in on rising food prices. Of particular note is Posner’s conclusion (which is, at least to my perception, noticeably pessimistic compared to the judge’s usual work):

Our ethanol subsidies, and equivalent policies, such as the European Union’s rejection of genetically modified foods, and the wealthy nations’ (including the United States’) tariffs on agricultural imports, could in principle be abandoned in order to increase the supply of food. But domestic interest-group pressures (which in the United States include the disproportionate influence that Iowa exerts in presidential politics) make reform unlikely.

And when individuals as diverse in opinions as Paul Krugman and Linda Chavez agree that ethanol biofuel subsidies are doing real harm, you know there’s something to the argument.


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