Oxford’s Paul Collier writes about the food crisis in the Times:
The best solution to the rise in food prices is not to arrest globalisation. China’s long march to prosperity is something to celebrate. The remedy to high food prices is to increase supply. The most realistic way is to replicate the Brazilian model of large, technologically sophisticated agro-companies that supply the world market. There are still many areas of the world – including large swaths of Africa – that have good land that could be used far more productively if it were properly managed by large companies. To contain the rise in food prices we need more, globalisation not less…
Unfortunately, trade in agricultural produce has been the main economic activity to have resisted the force of globalisation. The cost of this is now being picked up by the poorest people in the world.
Read the full piece, which comments on the role of biofuel subsidies, resistance to GM crops, and current price controls in exacerbating the crisis.
Uh, no. Much as I hate to disagree with the brilliant farmers of Oxford, if a modern agro giant operated under the same political and generally anti market conditions that are found today then the results would be the same. Export taxes would be as damaging appllied to agro giants as it is to smaller farmers. Subsidies to city dwellers would be just as damaging and corrupt.
Just saying “like Brazil” ignores much of the market and political climate the agro giants enjoy in Brazil.