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There are many unsettled questions as one attempts to address the subject of this paper. The obvious ones are “What is Reaganomics?” and “What is rural development?” Back of those are many questions having to do with whether policy as it is now being enacted and implemented is actually Reagonomics, or whether it is the end product of the usual leavening process that takes place as political rhetoric is translated into political action and programs. Similarly, public programs at the local level are an amalgam of actions by local, state, and Federal governments. How does one sort out the effects of one of these when all are going through a transition?
G. Edward Schuh, Professor of International Economic Policy, University of Minnesota and Orville; Professor of International Trade and Investment Policy Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
This essay discusses the interests of developing countries in World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural policies. Kym Anderson (1999) recently noted that “The potential gains from further liberalizing agricultural markets are huge, both absolutely and relative to gains from liberalizing textiles or other manufacturing, according to recent GTAP modeling results.” That should not surprise us, since, as will be noted below, much of the world's agricultural output is produced in the wrong places. Anderson goes on to note that “The prospective new millennium round offers the best opportunity yet for developing countries to be pro-active in seeking faster reform of farm (and textile) trade by OECD countries. In return, the developing countries will need to offer to open their own economies more. Fortuitously, that too is in the economic interests of rural people in poor countries.”
My essay is divided into four parts. First, I will provide the background on events that have led to our present situation. I will of necessity paint with a broad brush in doing this, but the background is important to indicate why we are where we are, and to understand some of the issues that will have to be overcome to move forward. Second, I will discuss a couple of conundrums in international trade negotiations that continue to be a puzzle. Third, I will discuss some of the specific issues on the current international trade agenda that need to be addressed if we are to make more efficient use of the world's agricultural resources and to address the serious problems of poverty in the developing countries.
The United States has for long had the world's premier system of higher education. No other country has anything that comes close to our major research universities (whether they be private or public), and that includes our international competitors, Germany and Japan. Our society expects a lot of our universities, and much more than other countries expect of theirs. For example, we were the only country in the world that turned to our universities (and especially to our land grants) to deliver an important part of our foreign policy in the form of economic and technical assistance to the developing countries.
Three excellent papers addressing the future of commodity programs were presented at the SAEA Annual Meeting in February 1980. Each has some very important strengths. “Commodity Policy Issues for the 1980s” by Erickson and Johnson is almost encyclopedic in its coverage, while at the same time being issue-oriented and presenting some very pertinent data. Pasour's “A Critique of Federal Agricultural Programs” is an effective assessment of commodity programs as they existed in the past. Goodwin and his colleagues do yeoman's work in attempting to defend current programs in “The Future of Federal Programs for Southern Commodities.” I assume the contrast between that paper and Pasour's was intentional. Certainly the two of them together help to focus the issues.