quinta-feira, 25 de março de 2010

Accidental Farmer’s Remarks Bulletin (VII) Sarkozy’s war

Apparently, the heavy defeat in the regional elections convinced the President of the French Republic that rather than a change in tune he had to step up his rhetoric. Whereas in the beginning of the month, in his speech at the “Salon de l’Agriculture” he was ready for a compromise trading less farming budget for more protectionism, he announced yesterday he is prepared to go to war with Europe to rescue agriculture.
Trading farming for protectionism was quite a bad idea, to declare a farming war on Europe might be even a worse one.
Commodity markets – in certain respects like financial ones – tend to be volatile, and, as in many other economic areas, competition in agricultural products tends to be harsh. Agriculture, an activity largely based on family structures, suffers heavily from this situation. If the modern welfare state thought of employment benefits and a large set of social mechanisms to face negative market evolutions, its intervention in farming communities uses different instruments, but aims at similar objectives.
To insulate agriculture from international trade is the oldest and still the most common way to face these situations, an instrument whose scope was slowly but substantially diminished since the end of last century.
The present economic crisis led many in the Western World to have second thoughts on the liberalisation they promoted.
Can we really allow financial institutions to act as they wish only for the tax-payer to pay the bill when their decisions prove to have been reckless?
Does it really make sense to exclude currency policy from the framework of trade negotiations?
Can we consider the Asian economic giants as least developed countries exempted from trade liberalisation in food products and in assuming full environmental and other responsibilities at World level?
Personally, I am far from convinced that our Western leaders gave full attention to these problems or found the best way to address them. In my opinion, we need to consider stricter regulatory frameworks in some cases and more balanced approaches to trade, currency and financial matters in other cases.
However, it does not mean that going backwards is a possible outcome or that it might be conceived as a solution to our problems.
When Mr. Sarkozy despises any new deals at the WTO level and demands protectionism in agriculture he comforts Asian agricultural protectionism and refuses to consider changes to the rules of international trade!
A couple years ago, while in Taiwan, I got amazed with the impressive increase in the demand of dairy products. At the time the existing statistics revealed that the Taiwanese per-capita consumption of dairy products was something like 50 times the figure for mainland China.
Did Mr. Sarkozy ever thought what could this mean for the famous French hundreds of different cheese to have a real opening of the Chinese market?
And what does Mr. Sarkozy expect to keep out of the French territory by his closed borders policy? Brazilian soya beans and Argentinean beef?
Shouldn’t it be obvious that the more the French agriculture will be turned to the rest of the World, the more it can take advantage of its quality products with high value added?
Who, more than the French performing food industry will be hurt by a closed borders policy?
Not by chance, in the same speech where Mr. Sarkozy announced his will to trade a diminishing European budget for a fortress Europe, he announced another bill of 50 million Euros to the French farmers.
What is quite obvious in Mr. Sarkozy’s intentions is the will to renationalize ever more the European agricultural policy, replacing the European budget – that after a transition will have to be fully shared with new member states – by the French one.
Yesterday, Mr. Sarkozy reminded the 2009 terrible blow to French farmer’s revenue to conclude that he would wage a war in Europe rather than allow to a dismembering of existing Common Agricultural Policy.
The undoing of the oldest and more common European policy would be another blow not only to Europe but also to its agriculture, but does that mean we should leave it unchanged?
After all, wasn’t it under the existing CAP that farmer’s incomes tumbled last year in France?
Doesn’t it mean we really need to think it over again?

Brussels, 2010-03-25

(Paulo Casaca)

terça-feira, 9 de março de 2010

Accidental Farmer’s Remarks Bulletin (VI) Perfectible Storms

I suppose the most perfect kind of storm for a farmer is the non-existing storm, or the feared storm that transforms itself into a needed smooth rainfall. This is particularly so in the history of the CAP. For instance, those who wanted to undermine Sicco Mansholt structural reform proposal of 1968 did so by presenting it as a revolutionary event, carefully hiding the fact that the Mansholt’s proposals of 1968 were a redrafting of his own Stresa proposals presented in 1958 and that Mansholt always thought to be a tremendous mistake to replace structural needed reforms by market interventions.

quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2010

Green Ray Over Iraq

Report commissioned by the “Commission to Study the Organisation of Peace”, USA

Research Team directed by Paulo Casaca, in cooperation with Jamila Abu Shanab, Kamal Batal

Link to PDF version (388 KB): http://tinyurl.com/groiraq or http://www.box.net/shared/hgkec5xytf

Link to PDF of printed version (866 KB): http://tinyurl.com/groi-pv or http://www.box.net/shared/u2rbmuagk3

Tolerance, peace and democracy in Iraq
What role for the international community?
Section I From cradle of civilisation to prey of barbarity
Section II, A thorny road out of Chaos
Section III From the green line to the green ray
Section IV München, Max-Pröbstlstrasse, 12
Section V UNIFIL in Lebanon by Kamal Batal
Section VI Elections in Gaza by Jamila Abu Shanab
Section VII Conclusions and recommendations
Annex Accounts



Link to PDF version (154KB): http://tinyurl.com/SLUTSKYMM or http://www.box.net/shared/626e67lznn

Abstract; JEL reference A12, B13, B21, D11 and D61

Key words: Compensated demand function; Consumer’s surplus; Slutsky.

The neo-classic revolution of the XIXth century seventies applied the Newtonian Physics Algebra to economics and in so-doing was soon confronted with the ever-present problem of the value of money. From these days onwards several solutions to circumvent rather than to solve the issue were devised. The utility indifference and the functional approaches are shown not to be more realistic than the original Marshallian one. The most known solution to the problem is the "Slutsky Matrix", obtained through a device called "compensated demand function". In the present paper the compensation operation is shown - in analytic and experimental terms - to have no scientific support; the problem is restated in basic differential calculus language equating the central role of the value of money.

segunda-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2010

Resposta da Assembleia da Republica

Resposta A.R.

Carta de resposta da Assembleia da Republica realativa ao assunto tratado nos posts:

Jornalismo de encomenda
Ao Director do Correio da Manhã
Ao Presidente da Assembleia da República

Accidental Farmer’s Remarks Bulletin (V) Olive oil

"Acidental farmer" at http://capreform.eu/

Accidental Farmer’s Remarks Bulletin
(V) Olive oil

You will understand that – minor as it might seem – the point that got most of my attention in the paper presented today by the Presidency of the European Council on Agriculture was the one on olive oil.
After all, as an olive-oil farmer I have a vested interest on the issue, and therefore I was taken by surprise by reading that the Presidency considers “the authorisation of the private storage of olive oil in 2009, which contributed to a recovery in prices and subsequent market stabilisation” as an example of the success of the existing market control mechanisms.

domingo, 21 de fevereiro de 2010

Accidental Farmer's Remarks Bulletin (IV) Controlling Markets

Accidental Farmer’s Remarks Bulletin
(IV) Controlling Markets

This morning, the European Ministers for Agriculture will gather in Brussels mainly for “an exchange of views on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy as regards market management measures in the years after 2013.” As last week press agenda also informs “The Presidency will present a paper on this issue.”
The subject has been hotly discussed in and out of the official corridors of the European institutions and now Ministers will be called into expressing their views on whether they think the future CAP should be more or less driven by the market.