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Pitch

Get rid of agricultural subsidies and let the true cost of all food pass through to the consumers.


Description

 

Executive summary

Getting rid of agricultural subsidies will eliminate waste because the true cost of all food products will then be passed through to the end consumer.

What

This is largely a political proposal requiring international coordination on 2 fronts:

1. Internal agricutural policy

2. Trade policy to allow food to be imported with the least possible barriers from the areas that it makes sense to import it from. 

Why: Rationale for the proposal

Advantage include:

- Reduced consumption

- Reduction in artificial substitution, e.g. corn feed for cattle, and high fructose corn syrup for everything

- Production of the right product in the most efficient location based on the local resources and conditions available.  

How: Feasibility of proposal

Explanation of how the proposed actions will be achieved. Teams are encouraged, but not required, to include such issues as:

  • Overall global economic and environmental governance framework: Its implementation neatly falles in the ambit of the WTO
  • Mechanisms for financing required investments: This is an elimination of subsidies which can finance retraining of any agricultural jobs that might be lost.
  • Role of new energy technologies and technology transfer: Tranfer o agricultural production technology to developing countries where cost of production is lower.
  • Political, educational, or media interventions that can facilitate the transition: This really is the crux of the proposal
  • We have a window of opportunity to get this implemented right now in the midst of the debate on austerity measures. The US and European countries could use their deficits as an impetus for overcoming the powerful agricultural lobbies and reducing their subsidies.

If more detailed models or spreadsheets are useful in demonstrating your proposal’s feasibility, please send them to rjl@mit.edu, and they will be reviewed and linked to your proposal.
Teams are also encouraged to note regional/national proposals that are complementary to their global proposal.

Vision of the future under this proposal

Agrucultural production should reflect a combination of true demand and most efficient geographic location for commodity production.

If it makes sense for a commodity to be produced in 3 regions in the world taking into account transportation costs, risk mitigation and true worldwide demand, then that is what it would naturally converge to. There would be no incentive to produce twice the required quantity of corn and then expend resources trying to find us for it.

Developing and under-developed countries would have a fair chance at participating in the global economy.

Local farming would flourish for in-season products as the cost of production would be low enough to overcome the transportation costs.