One of the books on my I-need-to-read-this list is False Economy by Alan Beattie. There are probably over 100 books on that list, so there’s no telling when I’ll get to it, but I know that if I ever do I know it will elevate my blood pressure.
One of the things he addresses are the many failed economic policies that take on a life of their own, often producing unintended consequences that worsen rather than improve the problem originally being addressed. I’ve ranted about many of those things on here before. Things like how food aid to places like Haiti destroyed its indigenous agriculture, leaving Haitians hungrier and more desperate than before. Things like how NAFTA enabled US companies to flood Mexico with cheap government subsidized commodities (like corn), ruining Mexican farmers and driving them across the border to be migrant workers, or illegally in search of jobs in the U.S. The list goes on and on.
One of the examples Mr. Beattie cites is how the U.S. government subsidizes asparagus farmers in Peru to try to prevent them from growing coca, which is made into cocaine. An effect of this policy has been to render American asparagus growers uncompetitive with imported Peruvian asparagus, while doing very little to dent cocaine production.
In our arrogance we pretend to be able to manipulate and control world economies, yet most of the time we only make things worse.
Hoping we’ll finally figure this out someday…