Structural Change Servaas Storm

There has been a renewed interest in industrialization and structural change in the mainstream of development economics, which, however, doesn’t imply a rejection of the neoliberal approach to development; the default recommendation is still the market and static comparative advantage and the main task of governments is to impose institutional reforms and improve governance. structural_change (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in Development and Change, by International Institute of social Studies, The Hague)

Analysis of the Main Controversies on Domestic Agricultural Supports Jacques Berthelot

This paper tries to provide food for thought for the debate in analysing the main controversies around ten methodological issues of opposite concepts such as, agricultural supports vs agricultural subsidies; administered prices vs market prices etc. domestic_agricultural_supports (Download the full text in PDF format)    

Agribusiness: Consolidating against the farmer C. P. Chandrasekhar

In an acceleration of a trend towards mega-mergers in the agribusiness area, German pharma and agrochemicals major Bayer has announced an all-cash $66 billion deal to take over American seed major Monsanto. To clinch the deal, Bayer raised its initial bid thrice from $122 to $128 a share, to touch a level that implies a 44 per cent premium over Monsanto’s early-May stock market price. On the surface, the deal seems to bring together firms with activities that complement each other. Monsanto is a controversial seed company producing genetically modified seeds for different crops, while Bayer is focused on agricultural…

Why the Fixed External Reference Price of 1986-88 should be Challenged Jacques Berthelot

The author argues that there is no reason to differentiate between the administered prices paid to farmers in developing countries and the so-called market prices paid in developed countries as the latter, being heavily subsidized, are not actual market prices. External_Reference_Price (Download the full text in PDF format)

Emulating the US Opposed by the US Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Vikas Rawal

The US once led the post-war global effort against hunger and food insecurity, but corporate influence on government trade negotiators now seek to prevent other countries from using some of the very measures it pioneered. Seven decades ago, the US led international initiatives to eradicate hunger. This was the intention of the Roosevelts when they initiated the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as World War Two drew to a close. Three decades later, the same spirit ensured bipartisan support for the 1974 World Food Summit. India’s food security and stockholding programs use the same…

Should the World Emulate US Crop Insurance? Jomo Kwame Sundaram

ROME – With the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events adversely affecting agricultural outputs and farmers’ incomes, commercial crop insurance has been touted as the solution for vulnerable farmers all over the world. Financial and farm interests have been promoting US crop insurance as the solution. It is instructive to consider lessons from the 2012 drought. Driven by the expectation of high maize prices, owing to the maize bio-ethanol mandate introduced almost a decade ago, US farmers planted a record 96.4 million acres in the spring of 2012 – even planting on previously fallow and marginal fields. Farmers…

India Concludes Bilateral Agreement with US, Agrees to an Indefinite ‘Peace Clause’ Biswajit Dhar

After months of impasse, India finally agreed to relent on its opposition to allow progress on the post-Bali work programme of the World Trade Organization (WTO), after concluding a “bilateral agreement” with the United States. According to the terms of the agreement, a mechanism will be in place under which WTO Members will not challenge India’s food security programmes under WTO dispute settlement procedures until a “permanent solution” regarding this issue has been agreed and adopted. In other words, India has agreed to an indefinite “peace clause”. The agreement further adds that elements for an intensified programme of work and…

India Faces Criticism for Blocking Global Trade Deal, But is it Justified? Jayati Ghosh

There is a view on global trade negotiations that has been propagated by a spate of commentaries and news analysis over the past few months. It runs broadly as follows: the multilateral trade regime had been limping to a slow death because of the failure of the Doha development round to come to any conclusion, until it was resuscitated by the Bali meeting in December. This breathed new life into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by coming to an agreement on trade facilitation, which would result in big benefits for all countries. However, that deal is now being blocked by India, which…

Why Farming Subsidies Still Distort Advantages and Cause Food Insecurity Jayati Ghosh

For developing countries, it seems, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite all the talk of global power shifts and the rise of emerging economies, the run-up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in Bali next week has once again forced developing countries on to the back foot despite having reason and ethics on their side. The recent inability to close a deal in Geneva before the talks reflects the intransigence of some governments – the US in particular – in the face of what seem to be fairly commonsense and fair proposals to…