by Rick Hood
A recent study by the Food and Land Use Coalition explains that 99% of global farm subsidies actually contributes to worsening the climate crisis and destroying wildlife and only 1% is given to benefit the environment.
The report said it couldn’t find “any examples of governments using their physical instruments to directly support the expansion of supply of healthier and more nutritious food”.
A New York Times investigative report found that state and local governments in the US provide over $80 billion dollars per year in incentives and other subsidies to attract and retain large non-local businesses.
Supporters of globalism point to the lower cost of many globally traded goods as economic efficiencies at work. However, a close look at how the global economy is subsidized undercuts this argument. Large, multinational corporations and banks are problematic. Their influencing the political process is done in an undue and monetarily unjust way. The global rules are being re-written in order to deregulate trade enabling multinational banks and businesses to enter more local markets to impact the public commons, strip more power from democratic institutions and to destroy more of the natural world. In light of all of such expenses, the perceived lower cost of global products doesn’t add up.
Swedish potato production and sale offer a good example. Subsidies in support from Sweden of large-scale production and long-distance transport makes it economical to truck potatoes from Sweden to Italy to be washed before packaging in plastic and sending them back to be sold in Sweden.
The question of scale becomes a big issue. When corporations become larger than governments, governments become impoverished. Their treasuries are being drained by these heavy subsidies handed out to attract big business. Governments are left to cover all the extra costs of social and environmental problems that are inevitable by products of global growth.
However, localization is growing worldwide. It allows greater communication between producers and consumers. And greater human scale interaction between the two. Distances are shorter.
Benefits from reforming subsidies have been seen in some places. The remarkable return of forests in Costa Rica followed the eliminating of cattle subsidies and payments for improving nature is one example.