May 17, 2005

Tim Worstall: New CAP Subsidies.

Tim Worstall is blogging on the new CAP subsidies. And this is a case where I disagree with him. Yes it will destort the market, in fact it will make it more profitable to simply own land and not farm it, but at least it is better than the previous situation. Remember last time farmers where paid once to farm as intensively as possible, and then paid a second time not to far at all. The largest land owners got the most money as they could not farm the most land.

When looking at the system you must also look at the outcome you want. I don't care if the farmers actually farm anything, I can always get my food cheaper if it is grown elsewhere, but I do want the countryside maintained. Remember the UK is a completely artificial landscape, there is nowhere that has not been affected by human activity. If you want to preserve the landscape you have to preserve the activites, both animal and human, that created it.

There are problems even with this revised system. The small tenant farmers that might need money to stay in business, and these are the people that look after the countryside for us (we're not paying them to far after all), don't get it. But the large land owners that don't need any subsidy, and don't directly help maintain the countryside do. My solution, remove the cheaque of simply owning land completely, but maintain the grants for maintaining the unnatural enviroment. That should also be a bit cheaper as well.


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