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Submitted by Jean-Marc Boussard on

I mainly agree with the Jose Cuesta’s diagnostic : we are not turning any corner. Unless drastic changes occur in agricultural policies all over the world, food commodity prices will be unpredictably up and down in the future, as they have been in the past since the 90’s. At the same time, they will be very (and unnecessarily) high in average, for the despair of the poor – especially, the urban poor.
As indicated by Jose, the two facts are linked: high price volatility implies high price average, for the reasons he rightly develops…. This is an unfortunate side consequence of liberalisation, a side voluntarily neglected by the authors of the many economic models which, during the 80’s and the 90’s, were supporting it on the ground that, by a better use of comparative advantages, it will lower prices for the benefit of consumers. Unfortunately, actual markets are not always functioning as described in elementary textbooks, were price equates marginal cost ...
In this respect, many warnings such as those issued for instance by Boussard et al. “May the pro-poor impacts of trade liberalization vanish because of imperfect information ?” in Agricultural Economics 31,(2-3): 297-305 were neglected, or even more, denied publication. The responsibility of the economic profession as a whole is at stake here.

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