In his piece “Globalism’s Discontent,” Joseph Stiglitz writes about how the unfair trade-liberalization agenda has put developing countries at a disadvantage when competing against superpowers such as the U.S. and Europe. More specifically, highly subsidized American and European agriculture has left developing countries with very little room to compete. According to the National Center for Policy Analyisis, “farm subsidies cost developing countries about $24 billion in lost agricultural income” every year. In a place such as Burkina Faso in West Africa, 85% of the population relies heavily on cotton production, but with the U.S. subsidizing American cotton, Burkina Faso lost 1% of its GDP and had a 12% decline in exports from 2001-2002 (NCPA). This loss in income can be extremely devastating, especially in countries where a large population is already living in poverty. Instead of helping developing countries with their markets, as globalization is “supposed” to promote, we have stifled many countrys’ opportunities for growth and development.
Not only are agricultural subsidies adversely affecting the markets of developing countries, but they are also promoting the use of pesticides and fertilizers in order to increase production output. While it might seem economically advantageous to use these products, what we are left with is the contamination of soil, water, and surrounding vegetation, as well as direct and indirect harmful effects to human health.
More on Burkina Faso: http://in.reuters.com/article/foundation-food-subsidies-idINKCN0HV1U620141006
NCPA Article: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba547