It is no surprise that the world trade talks have collapsed.  Rich countries tried to retain some protections of their agricultural markets despite their own evident wealth.  Their rationale is support of farmers and even talk of “food security” – this is of course ridiculous in today’s world. We in rich countries benefit from what is tantamount to free (slave) labour in developing economies where our clothes, tools, and many other consumables are made for very little (because of cheap labour)  – we continue to demand more for less.  Until farmers in rich countries wean themselves, by choice or force, from protection, there will be little opportunity for the poor of the world to obtain the minimum lifestyle that we expect for ourselves.

Farmers in rich countries, who benefit from subsidies (eg CAP) and trade barriers, are relieved. This is purely selfish.  They have little incentive to improve their methods, unlike players other industries.  Their subsidies consume over 2/5 of the EU budget.  This mentality has supported monoculture and GMO which are destroying nature and understanding of biological production processes.  For example, farmers no longer grow their own vegetables but rely on the supermarket.  Any connection with the earth has been lost, except in small holding production.

In order for humanity to demonstrate equity it is justifiable only to give some protections to poor countries, who are in a weaker position relative to rich countries in terms of industry, technology and trade.

Unfortunately all this melodrama will exacerbate the economic challenges facing global markets because protectionism is likely to rise and thereby reduce the efficiencies of free trade.