What if activists really understood agricultural subsidies?

In a post on anti-subsidy activism by celebrities on behalf of Oxfam, Kerry Howley of Reason wonders: “What if Hollywood activists all started making sense?”

She then notes that Minnie Driver’s agricultural product of choice to have dumped on her head was cotton “because she needed to remain relatively clean after her photograph, since she was in the middle of a press tour for a London play.”

Here’s an alternative universe where Minnie Driver does make sense:

Ms. Driver chose cotton because she wanted to protest the agricultural subsidy most damaging to LDCs. Citing a recent conversation with Arvind Panagariya, Driver explained that the campaign against most agricultural subsidies was actually being driven by the middle-income Cairns Group of developing countries, as LDCs already enjoy preferential access to EU markets. Noting that the EU’s internal price for cotton wasn’t elevated above world prices, the actress explained how the abolition of cotton subsidies would not result in a terms-of-trade deterioration for LDCs, whereas the cessation of sugar subsidies would damage the terms of trade for poor exporting nations such as India and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

If that didn’t make sense, read this PDF.