[Market-farming] OT Thought Provoking (or maybe justprovoking:)

Rick Williams mrfarm at frontiernet.net
Mon Jan 27 22:49:26 EST 2003

Leigh Hauter wrote:
> I'm so glad  to hear that some people on this list are so happy to
> embrace slave labor (I mean global trade).  Yes, that fan I bought
> for my greenhouse (and everything else electronic that all of us have
> bought in the last year) that came from China was cheap.  Have you
> asked yourself why?  And have you asked yourself why our great men of
> capital our moving our manufacturing and (yes) farming overseas?  Is
> it to make a better America with a better living standard for all of
> us family farmers?  Or is it because they are greedy sob's and they
> could care less about our country and people and only care about
> their own little miserable lives?

It is to survive in the marketplace. If the companies don't make the
necessary changes to compete, they are history. And they know it.

> When I hear alleged family farmers talking against their own interest
> I am just flabbergasted.

That is because there is not one view. There are many competing and
different views on international trade. You are looking at it from only the
self centered and personal effects it has on you rather than a bigger

> I make my living from farming.  I don't
> have an outside job. And when cheap honey comes in from China, or
> Indonesia (honey that there is no way could be produced by paying a
> liveable wage to the beekeepers) it hurts me and my family. And when
> apple concentrate comes in from overseas at a price that is so low
> that its not even worth picking my apples. And when soybean
> production, which they are about to, moves to Brazil and all of those
> American growers go broke, I wonder what our leaders are thinking.

Even if we did not allow the products in at all, they would still impact
world trade because they will offset our exports. But it works both ways,
and if we try and prevent trade, we will have retribution against us. In
fact, we now do block many of these items from coming over without any
tariffs and TRQ's. But they other side does the same thing against our
products. The current trend is to try and get them to drop their tariffs and
we will lower ours to match.

> The French and Italians have it right. A country should be food
> sufficient.  It should  be able to produce its own food. People
> should be able to make a living from family farms.  The truth is,
> globalization as it is being carried out means playing off relatively
> financially secure American farmers against large corporations using
> slave labor overseas.

Although I strongly disagree with your disparagement of the poor in other
countries, it does appear that we have decided not to be as food secure as
we once were. This is primarily due to the ability to transport products
across the world so inexpensively.

The question to ask is this: are poor people in the third world worse off or
better off if they can sell their products and have jobs? It is not hard to
know that answer even if it does not fit your image of all the poor being
enslaved due to new opportunities. On that score you fit in well with the
rather extreme right wingers such as Pat Buchanan who have similar views.

> If you don't believe me look what's happened to Mexico since NAFTA.
> Most of the Florida winter tomato growers are now out of business.
> Winter tomatoes have moved to Mexico.  And was this good for the
> Mexican farmers (obviously it wasn't good for the Florida grower
> unless they sold their farm land to build townhouses on)?  No, they
> were forced off their land and the land the family peasant farmers
> worked has been turned into agricorporations,  using labor that is
> being paid an unliveable wage, even in Mexico.

So they are worse off working at jobs, than they were before? There is this
disconnect that I see repeated over and over, between reality and wishful
thinking. Although there have been outrageous removals of peasants from
their land to force them to sell to large corporations, this is not the
whole country. Many Mexicans can do better than they would have under

> Sure, Globalization would be just hunky dory if all things were
> equal.  You know, wages, standard of living, safety and environmental
> standards, taxes going to pay for infastructure, education, defense.
> But the fact is, its not.
> Should we do away with American farming,
> as is happening, just because Americans expect to have schools for
> their kids, to have a certain standard of living, to have a safe,
> relatively clean society?  I don't think so.

We definitely are doing away with the majority of farms. Actually, we
already did it decades ago. It is far too late now. Most of the farms that
existed in the past are all gone. Only a few remain.

> And I think that any
> 'alleged' farmer that does should start packing their bags right now
> and planning their move to China, or Brazil, or Vietnam, or
> Indonesia, or some other equally poor country with a low standard of
> living, because pretty soon if the big men of capital get their way,
> that's the only place any farming is going to take place.

Very few people are going to be able to farm. That is the major change in
society over the last 100 years.

Fact: of all the farms in the U.S. (USDA considers a farm any entity
producing and selling $1000 per year of ag products), only 25% actually show
a profit. Of that group, only a small number actually make a living. This is
reality now, today. And we have yet to see much of an influx of foreign
agricultural products. We export way more than we import.


Rick Williams

More information about the Market-farming mailing list