September 15th, 2005


Helping the Poor

What's the best thing we can do for poor people in the Third World? How about buying what they grow or make:

Bush Urges End of Trade Tariffs, Subsidies

That's also a really bold move on the domestic front. The various farm subsidies an inexcusable drain on the budget, but nobody's ever had the clout to eliminate them. It's a classic "tragedy of the commons" problem. The benefit of a subsidy goes to a few people who'll fight hard. Canceling it would benefit everyone else, but not enough for it to be worth the work to make it happen. Wiping out all of them at once, that might be doable. Especially with a global agreement hanging on it.

On the global level, not only will this let people work themselves into prosperity, but with luck free trade will support the trend toward other freedoms as well.