Big Sugar Success: Not Exactly Sweet Reason

Gary Galles exposes why the business of sugar has been so sweet.  In addition to the subsidizies that Galles points out there is also the subsidization of the disposal of their waste.  Never in a million years would polluters be allowed to dispose of their waste on another’s property.  But because government restricts property rights in water, nobody can take action against polluters until an environmental disaster occurs.

big sugar subsidiesGary writes: One of the hallmarks of many early economists was their opposition to protectionism. They saw that taking away options that both parties to a trade preferred harmed them, eliminating the gains that would otherwise have been created. Yet America (historically the world’s largest exporter of free-trade rhetoric), despite widespread recognition among economists of the wealth destruction involved, maintains a plethora of protectionist policies.

One of the United States’ most blatant examples of protectionism — so blatant that it is used as an illustration of the idea in some economics texts — is its sugar policy. The United States imposes import quotas that substantially raise domestic sugar prices, harming domestic consumers to benefit politically powerful domestic sugar producers.

So when the difference between US prices and world prices (35.02 versus 19.67 cents per pound) reached its highest level in over a decade this March, I wrote an article in the St. Petersburg Times (FL) about some of the misrepresentation and misdirection used by domestic sugar producers to defend lining their pockets at consumers’ expense. The situation reflects William Graham Sumner’s insight that “A wants protection; that is, he wants B’s money … A talks sentiment and metaphysics finely, and, after all, all there is in it is that he wants B’s money.”

Continue reading at Not Exactly Sweet Reason – Gary Galles – Mises Daily.

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