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So half the farmers will go bust – and?

Summary:
The Farmers for a Peoples’ Vote campaign is starting out and in the process they tell us this:Many industries will suffer but the industry that would suffer the most serious economic shock will be agriculture. It is impossible to project the exact number of farmers who will go out of business. What we do know is that over 40% of them will have no net income if the basic payment is removed. If at the same time the Government removes all tariffs and so depresses prices, these two factors combined will render over 50% of farms in this country unviable.There are, apparently, some 126,000 farms in the UK employing the thick end of half a million people. Ceasing the subsidy to those farms will mean half of them go bust.And? Well, obviously enough, that means that the labour of a quarter of a

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The Farmers for a Peoples’ Vote campaign is starting out and in the process they tell us this:

Many industries will suffer but the industry that would suffer the most serious economic shock will be agriculture. It is impossible to project the exact number of farmers who will go out of business. What we do know is that over 40% of them will have no net income if the basic payment is removed. If at the same time the Government removes all tariffs and so depresses prices, these two factors combined will render over 50% of farms in this country unviable.

There are, apparently, some 126,000 farms in the UK employing the thick end of half a million people. Ceasing the subsidy to those farms will mean half of them go bust.

And?

Well, obviously enough, that means that the labour of a quarter of a million people - to be simplistic about manning levels - and the land of 63,000 farms is being used entirely unproductively. We should stop doing that therefore and use the land for something else.

For that is actually what the statement is. 40% of farms will have no net income if the acreage payment stops. That is, 40% of farms produce no added value whatsoever. The inputs, in alternative uses, are worth as much or more as the outputs we gain from their current uses. The other 10% of farms that will fail are only propped up by the manner that the consumer is rooked by the high prices foisted, by law, upon them through those tariffs.

That is, between the two payments we’re all forced to pay for half the agriculture industry to achieve nothing. We should stop doing so. Organisations that consume resources and produce no value from doing so should go bust.

And yes, we’ve done this before. Coal mining used to employ 1.2 million people, it was 2,000 in 2015. Unproductive activities, unproductive producers, should go bust. We’re near entirely bereft of buggy whip makers too. And?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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