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Why not, you know, just spend less money?

Summary:
A report that tells us that farming globally is hugely subsidised. Also, that such money should be spent in another manner. We agree, it should be. m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world - report ‘Perverse’ payments must be redirected to measures such as capturing carbon, report saysWe do have a slight and small quibble with the insistence there though.The public is providing more than m per minute in global farm subsidies, much of which is driving the climate crisis and destruction of wildlife, according to a new report. Just 1% of the 0bn (£560bn) a year given to farmers is used to benefit the environment, the analysis found. Much of the total instead promotes high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser.The

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A report that tells us that farming globally is hugely subsidised. Also, that such money should be spent in another manner. We agree, it should be.

$1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world - report

‘Perverse’ payments must be redirected to measures such as capturing carbon, report says

We do have a slight and small quibble with the insistence there though.

The public is providing more than $1m per minute in global farm subsidies, much of which is driving the climate crisis and destruction of wildlife, according to a new report.

Just 1% of the $700bn (£560bn) a year given to farmers is used to benefit the environment, the analysis found. Much of the total instead promotes high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser.

The security of humanity is at risk without reform to these subsidies,

Let us assume that this is all correct. Just so that we can examine what we should do if this is all correct.

Perhaps not what the full report demands.

For what is the actual claim here? That governments are taking 1 to 1.5% of GDP - that is, a percentage point and more of everything - and not just wasting it but actively making matters worse. So, the correct solution would be that government not take 1 to 1.5% of everything, no?

That is, instead of redirecting such subsidies, instead of using those obviously incompetent to be spending the money, why not just reduce the taxation and remove the incompetents from the equation altogether?

After all, consider the deeper claim here. There are some 192 governments out there, most of which have been intervening fiscally in agriculture for most or all of the past century and more. The claim is that absolutely none of them have got this right as yet. Probably enough experimentation with a system to show that process never is going to work.

Leave the money to grow and fructify in the pockets of the populace instead. For evidence that government can’t spend money usefully is hardly evidence that they should have another go, is it?

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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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