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Michael Smith
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This is a nearly worthless item. It categorizes prior failures in policy making and market actions. So what? We know both can fail. An early question to be answered is how to provide incentives to decision makers in DC, Ottawa (a huge grain producer), Moscow, Delhi, and Beijing, to make good decisions in both long and short terms. The bigger question is how to send food now to many very hungry children in Africa and Asia. People who make decisions listen to the two of you. Please be careful and do your best. Our national interest -- and more importantly many hungry stomachs -- may depend on what you say. Hints: The long run is of interest, in the long run. Urge policy makers to support building sustainable local food supplies, especially where population is high and growing. Reject long term solutions depending on long distance transportation of food. In the meantime, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick.
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There is some drivel in here, and it is dangerous drivel -- for example, ignoring the cartelization of markets for food. A careful review suggests that other factors pushing prices up are less important than cartelization and similar upward pressures on prices that reflect inefficient markets. But the most serious flaw in this piece is the suggestion that GMOs are a fix for limited diversity of crops. If crops grown from the seeds sold by oligopolists are insufficiently diverse to protect against hardship, why are GMO crops from the same sellers any better? These crops are likely to have less genetic diversity, not more. Pretending to notice some dangers does not adequately recognize the inherent weakness in this approach. Finally, I really hope that both Posner has better in him than throw away phrases like "the future is uncertain."
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Nov 21, 2010