Posts Tagged: power

We are all children of the bayou

The video gives a glimpse into the lives of shrimp fishers post-BP disaster. The fisherfolk of the bayou provide shrimp, oysters and crabs for the entire country. We are what we eat, and so to some extent we are all offspring of the bayou. The chart below gives a picture of the troubled industry. The Son of the Bayou, Torn over the shrimping life is the story of Aaron Greco and the shaky existence of wild shrimp “farmers” in southern Louisiana. The photo is of Aaron with his girlfriend, Melanie Fink, 17, after a long day of shrimping. They lean against his prized yellow Mustang last fall outside their favorite ice cream shop in Chalmette, La. ———- Unfortunately, like almost every resource-rich place and country in the world from Cameroon to Guatemala, systematic extraction of resources has been Louisiana’s sorry history. The riches are exploited using local labor and profits depart for distant corporate headquarters. When people and resources are exhausted, impoverished communities and destroyed ecosystems are what remain. Capital says sayonara to search out new resources and new profits.

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Ha-Joon Chang uncovers what’s worked in agricultural policy

Ha-Joon’s analysis in “Kicking Away the Ladder” helped me to understand that the United States has been trying to push on developing countries a path of development based on myth, not on the actual history of how the U.S. and European countries developed. The very trade rules we are pushing into international policy via Free Trade Agreements and the WTO would likely have thwarted our development as a country. Now Ha-Joon has done a similar analysis on our agricultural system. This summary shows how countries have successfully taken alternative approaches to the conventional ideologies pushed by U.S. institutions: ‘In the earlier stages of development, today’s rich countries had to grapple with the very problems that dog the agricultural sector of today’s developing countries – land tenure, land degradation, fragmentation of holdings, agricultural research, extension services, rural credit, irrigation, transport, fertilizers, seeds, price and income stabilities, trade shocks, agro-processing, marketing, and so on. Many successful policy interventions have gone well beyond (or even against) the scope recommended by the New Conventional Wisdom (NCW), which has ruled agricultural (as well as other) policies in the last quarter of a century: · Japan and other East Asian countries had a very successful comprehensive land reform that included strict land ownership ceilings. · Virtually all of today’s rich countries used state-backed specialized rural banks and credit subsidies, state-subsidized agricultural insurance, public provision or subsidization of warehousing facilities, and input (e.g. fertilizers) quality control · Denmark and some other European countries benefited from effective export marketing boards · The USA and Japan successfully used price stabilization measures ‘History frees our “policy imagination” by showing that the range of policies and institutions that have produced positive outcomes for agricultural development has been much wider than any particular ideological position – be it the pre-1980s statist one or the pro-market NCW – would admit.’

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