Sunday, October 26, 2008

Should we treat food more like color TVs?

Bill Clinton addressed the UN a few weeks ago, on the UN's World Food Day, and said that "we blew it" in terms of global food policy. However, this quote confused me a bit:

Former President Clinton told a U.N. gathering Thursday that the global food crisis shows "we all blew it, including me," by treating food crops "like color TVs" instead of as a vital commodity for the world's poor.

How the US treated food crops "like color TVs" is beyond me. It seems like treating food more like color TVs – which aren't subsidized, unlike commodity crops throughout America – would have been a better policy. "Vital commodities" such as food, shelter, and healthcare have a tendency to be subsidized, whereas frivolous luxuries like color TVs don't (some subsidies notwithstanding). Looking at the advances in color TVs and food in the last decades, would you rather the government treated food a little more like color TVs?

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