The preamble to Devinder Sharma’s blog sets his messages in context:
This is what made me begin on a journey in search for the abandoned path to equity, justice and sustainability. My journey begins with the fundamentals — food, agriculture and hunger.
He returns to another aspect of the mainline economic thinking and practice which has added to global problems
Some years back he detailed the agricultural subsidies given to the rich and powerful in the European Union and the United States.
Sharma approves the concept of farm subsidies for ‘hands-on’ food producers, to ensure a reasonable standard of living for farmers, countering market manipulation of prices and the vagaries of the climate, but wonders how the subsidy bonanza to the rich and wealthy in the name of farmers can be justified:
”Here is the earlier analysis, published by Sharing the World’s Resources — Farm subsidies: The report card (http://www.stwr.org/imf-world-bank-trade/farm-subsidies-the-report-card.html).
”At a time when the economy is faced with recession, and country after country is resorting to austerity cuts, I find no mention of restricting farm subsidies. Specially after the economic meltdown of 2008-09, I had expected the industrialised countries to cut farm support to the wealthy and divert the precious financial resources to creating employment opportunities. With this intention, I thought of doing a reality check.
“No, nothing has changed”.
Three cases are mentioned:
- One of the richest people in Britain – the Duke of Westminster — received £6m during the same period.
- Sir Richard Sutton, who features in the Times Rich List, still got £1.9m in farm subsidies.
- The Queen is reported to have received a subsidy of £7m in the past ten years (http://bit.ly/A8TSTw).
”Well, the message is loud and clear. For the rich and powerful, life goes on as usual.
“Whether it is economic recession or depression, the rich remain untouched.
“It is only the average citizen who has to bear the brunt and be prepared to rough it out”.