棉花国王的专制统治

美国人喜欢认为只要贫困国家开放本国市场,经济繁荣就会接踵而至。令人遗憾的是,只要涉及到农业问题,这只能是一种夸夸其谈。美国对自由市场原则的支持仅限于说说而已,而一事当前还是站在要求恰好相反的华盛顿说客和竞选赞助者们一边。实际上,至少到目前为止,恰恰是美国自己的农业补贴在扼杀所谓的多哈发展回合贸易谈判中起到了重要作用,而多哈谈判原本的目的是为贫困国家发展经济创造全新的机会。

补助会增加农产品的产量,压低全球价格,从而对发展中国家的农民造成伤害。摆出一副致力于全球自由市场姿态的布什政府却在实际上把美国的农业补贴数额几乎翻了一番。

棉花就很能说明问题。如果没有补贴,美国人种棉花根本得不偿失。而有了补贴,美国就成了全世界最大的棉花出口国。25,000名富得流油的美国棉农把高达30到40亿美元的补贴瓜分殆尽,这笔财富的绝大部分流入了一小部分人的腰包。增加的产量压低了棉花的价格,仅在非洲撒哈拉沙漠以南地区就有1000万棉农受到影响。

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