[Diggers350] 300,000 jobs we can pay for

david bangs dave.bangs at virgin.net
Wed Dec 1 14:20:23 GMT 2010

I agree mostly with James and Simon's side of the debate. 

Of course it makes sense to subsidise agriculture in principle, just as there may be a case for production subsidies of any other branch of industry. Public 'goods' are not the same as market 'goods'. If public money is being given to owners/businesses, though, it must come with public control, and most subsidy controls are temporary and voluntary. The farmer signs up for specific kinds of production or environmental management and can drop these at the end of the agreements. This is a recipe for waste, just as, for instance, regional policies waste subsidy money on fly-by-nite producers who take the subsidy/tax benefits and then run. 

Real control has to have a wider remit...and implies ownership. If we want to prevent farmers abandoning agriculture for other sources of profit and bring back labour into farming, we have to have democratic control of all the key aspects of land use: production, marketting, and so on...and only democratic public ownership will give you that. The choices about what we produce should be democratic social choices made in the long term interest and that can only be done with ownership levels of control. (I am not talking about state micro-managing all agriculture, by the way, to reassure those for whom public ownership conjures up visions of stalinist collective farms).

In tandem with the need to argue that agenda we need to make the argument for means testing, and the arguments about equity, natural justice, and waste are overwhelmingly on our side in this.

James's recent work in highlighting the scandal of welfare payments to the landowning rich, whilst we risk losing our homes and benefits has been fantastic,

Dave Bangs

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Simon Fairlie 
  To: james armstrong 
  Cc: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 1:00 AM
  Subject: Re: [Diggers350] 300,000 jobs we can pay for


  "Why should we not import whest when its cheap? It only takes 6 months to change policy and grow it again when needed."

  (i) Because wheat is our staple, it is the bedrock of agriculture in this country and when you undermine agriculture you undermine human culture.

  (2) Because the wheat we import comes from unsustainable production in North America, while we have a surplus of nutrients in this country. We have been mining the prairies of the United States for the last 200 years, destroying its topsoil, and now we are starting on Brazil.  When you import food you import biomass and nutrients. If you import a lot more than you export, that leads to an unhealthy  concentration   of nutrients and biomass in the importing country, and the excessive extraction of  biomass and nutrients from environments in the exporting countries.


  On 28 Nov 2010, at 19:44, james armstrong wrote:

    Why should we not import whest when its cheap? It only takes 6 months to change policy and grow it again when needed.

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