Food, glorious food . . .

More

I've got a new Bloggingheads up with Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, a book on world food policy. All of my Bloggingheads are, of course, must-see TV, but there's something a little extra special about watching the libertarian vegan debate the left-wing anti-globalization economist on trade, obesity, and public health.

One thing that I sort of whiffed was in explaining the debate over the role of developed nation farm policy in world poverty. There has been an argument for a while that farm subsidies are actually good for poor countries, because it provides them cheap food. The problem with this argument is that within poor countries, the farmers are almost always the poorest of the poor; almost all of the people living below $1 a day are subsistence farmers.

Suddenly we're seeing a reversal of the problem: rising world food prices are probably helping rural farmers (though it's not totally clear how much those farmers participate in the cash economy); urban workers, who are now getting hurt, are suffering and in some cases, rioting. There rarely seem to be unalloyed positive developments in the poorest countries.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In