Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Convenient Way of Seeing the Fight for Equality, Ecology, and Enriching the Poor: Always Assume the Role of David Fighting Goliath

How convenient.

When the green argument, or the similar-sounding poor-world-oppressed-by-rich-countries argument, goes against the United States, the French jump on the bandwagon, cry bloody murder, gather a group of like-minded countries, and demand a better world.

When the green argument goes against France (or Europe), they bring out the human element, the tragedy that will befall the traditional farmer or the tradition-bound fisherman who (infamie des infamies) will have to dig up his roots and make drastic (and inhumane) changes in his life…

In other words, in both cases (in all cases!), the bane is placed on American (or American-type) capitalism and France gets to act the role of the martyr or the David-like hero taking up arms against the evil Goliath.

How convenient.

Listen to the IHT's Thomas Fuller:

The premise of these negotiations is that rich countries like the United States, France and Germany should lower their trade barriers in agriculture if poorer countries like Brazil, Nigeria and China further open their markets for goods and services.

…  The deal is in jeopardy because of fierce resistance by France to any more concessions in agriculture.

So what is behind France's resistance?

Soudé says France is opposed to any measure that could jeopardize the Common Agricultural Policy, the European system of subsidies and regulations.

"France always had a special link to agriculture and to the terroir," he said.

"We have a relationship with food that is not the same in other European Union countries. We have a culture of good eating, which we treasure."

There is also the obvious fact that France receives almost 10 billion, or $12 billion, in agricultural subsidies from Brussels every year, by far the largest share of the 53 billion program.

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