Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May Day in Miami. It was quiet in Downtown Miami yesterday, and less traffic. My cousin Ken is in town on a business trip, and he, Carol, and I went to Havana Harry's last night in the Gables. The food was OK, but the service was terrible, and we speculated that the restaurant was having personnel problems related to the "boycott". Gloria Estefan, we understand, closed her Miami restaurants, showing solidarity with the Movement. This seems a little precious to me, as if people in Miami are xenophobic and need to be taught something. I thought all of the people who need to be taught something left during the 1970s and 1980s.

On NPR this morning I heard interviews with growers in California, and they expressed support for the Movement. Well of course they do.

A connected event that no one in the media seems to be connecting is the WTO's Doha talks, which, according to an opinion piece yesterday in the WSJ, missed another deadline recently. Those talks are largely about lifting agricultural trade barriers and eliminating farm subsidies. "The World Bank estimates that full liberalization would boost the incomes of developing countries, which comprise two-thirds of the WTO membership, by up to $259 billion by 2015."

So, let's see. The US puts up agricultural trade barriers and subsidizes farming so that developing countries suffer in the one area in which they might otherwise compete with us. That makes people in those countries want to go somewhere else to improve economically, maybe to the US, legally or illegally. We are then called upon to liberalize our immigration laws and continue our lax enforcement, so that the protected industries can get cheap labor. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Sorry, Gloria.

(In fairness to the US, let me note that we seem to be on the side of the angels in the Doha talks, but why can't we just liberalize our agricultural policy unilaterally?)

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