Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission
22 23 Compiled by Memarsadeghi and Patel, 2003 As the same companies consolidate and concentrate markets everywhere, they can increasingly dictate low prices to growers everywhere, whether in the US, EU, Brazil Argentina or Thailand. One hypothesis is that these companies exercise ‘undue’ influence on the negotiating positions of the US and the EU. What that might mean is that as these companies come to depend less and less on US/EU subsidies—since if farmers there go out of business, they can always buy the same soy beans in Brazil, for example—we may see the government negotiators who are beholden to them increasingly make concessions in terms of cutting subsidies in exchange for further market opening, which is these companies need most. In this context, it should come as no surprise that ‘market access’ is the buzz word of government negotiators from nations North and South. The US and the EU push for greater market opening giving more access to the markets of the South, and the governments of the South call for greater market opening in the North. All of which eases the way for even more dumping. What this is all leading to, metaphorically, is a world in which nobody eats what is produced in their own country, where consumers in the US and EU dine on the products of the South, while consumers in the South eat only farm products exported from the North! A world where the world price—the dumping price—is the price everywhere, so that only the largest farmers can survive using volume to compensate for low per unit prices, yet where consumers fail to benefit because the ‘free market’ has allowed a few companies to gain control over everything and buy low and sell high. Farfetched? Maybe not. Certainly the US and EU negotiators are still longing for ways to play ‘hide the subsidy,’ though they did agree to a putative 20% cut in late July of 2004.
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 Ray et al., 2003 Ritchie et al., 2004 Ritchie et al., 2004 See, for example, Rodrick, 1999; and Stiglitz, 2000 Weisbrot and Baker, 2002; Weisbrot et al., 2002 Yanikkaya, 2002 FAO, 2002 Losch, 2004; Rosset, 1999. Losch, 2004; Rosset, 1999. Via Campesina et al., undated; Via Campesina, 2003; Rosset, 2003; McMichael, 2004. Desmarais, 2002.
34 35 36 For example, see McMichael, 2004, and Desmarais, 2002. FAO, 2002 Almost all of the key civil society players are members of the Our World is Not for Sale Network (http://www.ourworldisnotforsale.org/), yet there is a general split among them, where many of the policy think tank and environmentalist type of non- governmental organizations (NGOs) active on these issues, and the majority of the worlds organizations of family farmers, peasants and indigenous peoples’, grouped together in the Via Campesina global alliance. Major NGO players who believe to some extent in the ‘inside’ strategy of fighting for better trade agreements include: IATP, Friends of the Earth International, Third World Network, ActionAid, Public Citizen and Oxfam, among others. Those who are allied with the Via Campesina call to get trade