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EU Proposal: Shift Farming Subsidies To Science

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the agribusiness-displeased dept.

Government 154

smitty777 writes "There is a proposal in the EU budget which would provide a 45% increase in technology and innovation spending for the 2014-2020 time period. Interestingly, some of the increase from $79B to $114B would come from the controversial farm subsidies program, the Common Agricultural Policy. The article states ... 'While some scientists and observers feel optimistic that the proposal will pass, one stated that "it is extremely unlikely that the member states will agree to anything exceeding this, so we should regard it as a ceiling" on the eventual research budget.'"

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Do this in the US as well! (0, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36681996)


I only wish they would do this in the USA with the corn subsidy program. It's crazy that a huge amount of our tax money goes to making ethanol, starch and deadly high fructose corn syrop.

It would be ironic as all heck to have money from the corn mafia to be uses for something I've dreamed of for years. Roughly laid out, here's the idea that's been in my head since the dangers of HFCS have come to light:

- have a large clinic set up with 101 beds and 101 Chiropractors.
- Have 101 people show up.
- Ask them about their consumption of HFCS products (especially soda which is double bad with all that CO2).
- Have each Chiropractors inspect each patient's spine in utmost detail, taking note of each and every subluxation, even minor ones which have yet to cause health issues.
- Yes, that means 101 inspections per patient with a different doctor, but some Docs may miss things.
- Cross reference the numbers & severity with the HFCS consumption.
- If and when (yes WHEN) the numbers are in and HFCS is shown to promote subluxation growth, publish the results in a journal such as Nature so the general public will learn of the dangers.

Of course setting up such a vast and detailed study would cost lots of money, that's why we need government funding for such sweeping science.

Take care,
Bob

Re:Do this in the US as well! (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682046)

You write as if what you do is science.

It's not.

Quack.

--
BMO

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682238)

You write as if he's serious and not just trolling.

He isn't.

Re:Do this in the US as well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682392)

Not sure. Have you seen his Facebook profile? [facebook.com] Lots of other chiro and alt-med nuts sharing his KoolAid.

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682272)

He's got a point on wasting money on ethanol subsidies though. That crap needs to stop. I found a station near me that sells pure gasoline and my fuel economy jumped about 3% after switching. Not much, I know, but over the course of a work week that's worked out to an extra day of driving before I have to fill up.

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682926)

He's got a point on wasting money on ethanol subsidies though. That crap needs to stop. I found a station near me that sells pure gasoline and my fuel economy jumped about 3% after switching. Not much, I know, but over the course of a work week that's worked out to an extra day of driving before I have to fill up.

And you're giving money to those Godless heathens in the Middle East (or Norway, whatever) instead of paying to support American farmers.

Why do you hate America?

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683246)

He's got a point on wasting money on ethanol subsidies though. That crap needs to stop. I found a station near me that sells pure gasoline and my fuel economy jumped about 3% after switching. Not much, I know, but over the course of a work week that's worked out to an extra day of driving before I have to fill up.

And you're giving money to those Godless heathens in the Middle East (or Norway, whatever) instead of paying to support American farmers. Why do you hate America?

Sarah? Is that you or did you give Michelle your user id and pw again?

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

wwfarch (1451799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683806)

3% is WELL within the range where slight differences in driving behavior or traffic patterns will overshadow the fuel efficiency increase. Also, how does a 3% increase in fuel efficiency lead to (roughly) 20% more driving before filling up?

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682880)

- have a large clinic set up with 101 beds and 101 Chiropractors.
- Have 101 people show up.

...why do I get the feeling that ol' Bob here is relating the beginnings of his idea of the ultimate porn flick?

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682942)

...why do I get the feeling that ol' Bob here is relating the beginnings of his idea of the ultimate porn flick?

Because that's about the only thing on your mind, perhaps?

Re:Do this in the US as well! (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683290)

It would be ironic as all heck to have money from the corn mafia to be uses for something I've dreamed of for years. Roughly laid out, here's the idea that's been in my head since the dangers of HFCS have come to light: - have a large clinic set up with 101 beds and 101 Chiropractors. - Have 101 people show up. - Ask them about their consumption of HFCS products (especially soda which is double bad with all that CO2). - Have each Chiropractors inspect each patient's spine in utmost detail, taking note of each and every subluxation, even minor ones which have yet to cause health issues. - Yes, that means 101 inspections per patient with a different doctor, but some Docs may miss things. - Cross reference the numbers & severity with the HFCS consumption. - If and when (yes WHEN) the numbers are in and HFCS is shown to promote subluxation growth, publish the results in a journal such as Nature so the general public will learn of the dangers. Of course setting up such a vast and detailed study would cost lots of money, that's why we need government funding for such sweeping science. Take care, Bob

Actually, what you describe isn't remotely related to science; but a simple and often made error in statistical analysis. You don't even have to add in Chiropractic to make it bad science.

This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682082)

No really.

The common agricultural policy should simply be stopped. Taxes refunded and reduced.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (2)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682144)

What ever happened to the concept of just ending a subsidy? Period. There will always be hands out for free money. Science, space, the arts, whatever. Why don't we just say, "We're ending the farming subsidy and we're aren't going to give anybody else this money. We're just going to pay down some national debt with it. Or maybe just give the money back to the taxpayers in the form of a tax reduction for the lower classes."

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682192)

I was under the impression that farm subsidies allow us to export crops. Without them we wouldn't be able to compete. Basically it comes down to "all the other guys subsidize, so we do too." Is this not the case?

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682354)

Not if you account for the ridiculous amount of food we bury in the ground (yes, really) to keep prices up.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682770)

food we bury in the ground (yes, really)

That's a good policy. We should always produce extra food and then bury the extra.

That way, when there's a drought, you just bury less food and no one starves, and prices stay relatively stable.

Food stability has to be balanced against food efficiency - not everything should be thrown to the free market.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683690)

Except that there IS a drought at the moment, in eastern Africa... I'm sure those folk would really appreciate all that food you're burying. Thanks.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684238)

Except that there IS a drought at the moment, in eastern Africa... I'm sure those folk would really appreciate all that food you're burying. Thanks.

They certainly would, but then this is not really germane to the conversation. If you take away the subsidy, there would be no food to bury. In short, they'd be in exactly the same situation.

Perhaps there is some way in which you could distribute excess food without crashing food prices, but that's another discussion entirely.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684358)

Good luck getting the food to the "people" and not the local warlord/junta/dictator without boots-on-the-ground military interdiction.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682934)

No, we export crops in order to have a market to keep farmers in employment. Just taking the crops and burning them or pouring them down the drain has got too obvious for the public to accept, so we basically pay other people to take them. The problem is that the farming lobby has got a stranglehold over the political system at least as strong as any other industry (defence, banking...).

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683176)

it comes down to "all the other guys subsidize, so we do too." Is this not the case?

Not so much, I was under the impression that all the other guys (where other guys are third world) can't get a market started in some places because euro and american farmers are subsidised out the wazoo.

Oh sure, both of these huge economic blocks love to talk about free markets, but when it comes to farming, we're just not willing to compete fairly in our internal or external markets.

Part of this is because France would just grind to a halt as farmers went into open revolt, and part of it is that you'd never get both parties (EU and US) to stop subsidising farmers at the same time. Especially if it looked like the other one was about to.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683380)

This is pretty complex. One part of the equation is that you need to keep a strong food production capacity in your own country and not become dependent on "foreign wheat" or "foreign corn". You can't have some lower paid third world country controlling your food supply, right?

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683476)

True, my previous comment was rather one-sided. You can't have food production in europe grinding to a complete halt in case the worst happens.

I don't know where the line is exactly.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683586)

The "other guys" i was referring to were the Europeans and other first world countries. Third world countries don't need to subsidize. They already work for peanuts.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683826)

What's unfair about subsidies? That's the problem with so many people, they set up arbitrary rules based upon their own personal beliefs and then call anything outside of that unfair. Happens all the time, especially with "human rights". Just as most people here feel "Nationalism" is as evil as "Capitalism". But that's just an opinion I share with the majority. Those who hate both a fore mentioned items will not be happy until America fails.

It's like the death penalty. One side, the side against the death penalty, argues we need more and more safeguards to make sure an innocent isn't killed by mistake. They keep doing this until it takes 25 years, what with appeals and all, to get someone executed. After they get all those road blocks in place then then harp that it is cheaper to keep a person in jail for life than it is to execute them. I am not saying that innocent people (of the crime they were convicted for) have not been executed. But one, they were not good people to start with (still not OK to execute them though) and two, more people have died at the hands of people released from jail who were convicted of murder than all the innocents killed by the state. Think of it as a vaccine. In some cases kids who would not have died from the disease will die from the vaccine. Less kids will die over all so it is a mandated trade off. Yes, some innocent people (but not good people) may be executed wrongly, but over all more lives will be saved.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684202)

France will be an interesting one to watch as time goes on: On the one hand, they adore the CAP money-trough that allows their oh-so-picturesque agricultural to do assorted economically absurd but picturesque 'cultural' things. On the other hand, with EU membership showing signs of expanding eastward into some of the former Warsaw Pact nations, which are substantially poorer than France; but also have lots of picturesque and inefficient farmers who would be happy to claim to be culturally valuable in exchange for sweet, sweet, cash, France may end up having to come up with some relatively tactful way of either killing CAP without getting crucified at home, or er, capping CAP so that it can continue to serve its purpose of subsidizing French farmers, rather than being applied evenly across a broader EU, which would involve dangerously expensive engagements in eastern Europe....

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683980)

Ending these subsidies won't put a penny back in the hands of taxpayers, it'll just go back to the treasuries of the member states.

The EU has the same problem as any level of government that doesn't raise its own taxes, in that if they lower their budget one year when the money isn't needed, it'll be nigh on impossible for the to raise it again later when it is needed. So while I don't necessarily like the situation, I understand why the EU wouldn't want to just hand the money back.

Local councils in the UK have this problem. They raise a proportion of their income through Council Tax, but the majority comes from central or devolved government. They will waste an inordinate amount of money in order to justify the maintenance of their budget.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682398)

But governments like to hold onto power. Remember, you're always about 9 meals away from a revolution. As Juvenal noted, it's all about bread and circuses. Agricultural subsidies can help insure food supply and stabilize prices. As with all government subsidies (housing, education), the rich game the system, but without them you would see a lot more instability in food prices.

Re:This is like a patent troll subsidy (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683338)

You say that as though a desire to avoid mass hunger was some kind of evil conspiracy.

Making sure that the people who elected you don't risk starvation is pretty high up the list of priorities for a decent and competent politician.

Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682098)

The farming lobby is one of the strongest in Congress. You'll have every midwestern senator and his brother screaming holy bloody murder before debate even begins. And that's not to mentioned that Archer Daniels Midland [wikipedia.org] (ADM) basically owns half of them (you think they're just going to roll over and give up billion of $ in subsidies to a bunch of eggheads without a nasty fight?).

You'd have better luck getting cuts to oil subsidies through Texas's and Alaska's objections. And even that is nigh impossible.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682130)

The "farming lobby" is more about large megacorps than it is about real farmers. That's the real problem here. If you cut out the farm subsidies then some very large corporations will be hammered right in the pocketbook. They aren't going to take that lying down. Neither will Republicans.

This is all about "big business". Using the word "farm" to refer to any of this is a huge and misleading misnomer.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682276)

Farm subsidies in the US aren't a Republican or Democrat thing. The recent vote in the US senate to end ethanol subsidies [usatoday.com] shows it is more rural farm region versus coastal urban region thing. I blame Iowa for this since they have the first primary and all presidential candidates fall all over themselves to promise more corn, ethanol, and farm subsidies.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (5, Insightful)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682460)

Really? You live in the city, right?

I sure know a lot of family owned farms here in east central Illinois that take the subsidy programs.

But, what do I know. I just hang out with farmers and own farmland of my own. I assure you I'm hardly a megacorp.

Yes, the large corporations like ADM and many others do large lobbying pushes, but they don't directly vote. In farm states (you probably call them fly-over states), the congress-critters often rely on the farm vote to keep their jobs.

Whether it should be that way is a different discussion, but the simple picture you paint is misleading at best.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682482)

Damn those US farmers, coming over here and stealing our EU farming subsidies.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682964)

Yeah, some serious reading fail going on here today, you'd think 'EU proposal' in the title or 'EU budget' in the first line of the summary would be a hint as to where this story is about.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684328)

This is Slashdot. It's not like we were expected to read the fucking title.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682936)

The EU has a republican party?!?! I must of missed that. Stupid mods.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682146)

The farming lobby is one of the strongest in Congress.

Good thing they're not elected to decide things about the EU then (although the farming lobby is quite strong here too).

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682376)

I was meaning to reply to the post above referring to trying this in the U.S. I think I hit the wrong reply button and ended up in a new thread.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682148)

The farming lobby is one of the strongest in Congress. You'll have every midwestern senator and his brother screaming holy bloody murder before debate even begins. And that's not to mentioned that Archer Daniels Midland [wikipedia.org] (ADM) basically owns half of them (you think they're just going to roll over and give up billion of $ in subsidies to a bunch of eggheads without a nasty fight?).

You'd have better luck getting cuts to oil subsidies through Texas's and Alaska's objections. And even that is nigh impossible.

Suprisingly the US Congress and midwestern senators and the like have very little say in the EU.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682150)

And this has to do with the EU how?

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682198)

could have been a reply fail intended for the first post which is titled "Do this in the US as well!"

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682154)

This is to do with Europe, not the United States.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682178)

They probably have their own versions of ADM and Con Agra.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682294)

It doesn't have to be their own version of those companies. It is probably the same companies (or their EU subsidiaries). Also you missed one of the other big ones Monsanto who is now big into the GM crops.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682408)

I think the EU would have a hard time cutting any US subsidies. WTF? You can't even get past the first word of the subject line of the article?

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682516)

And don't forget that agricultural research in Europe has a tendency to find itself on the wrong side of an angry [expatica.com] desrtuctive [google.com] mob. [redgreenandblue.org] Food producers won't like the lost subsidies, and lot of people in Europe just don't want science in their food so I can't imagine they'll support more research either.

Re:Ha, yeah, good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683564)

Good thing we in the EU (where this is being proposed) don't have to pay any heed to the US congress isn't it?

The biggest problem we face is when the farmers decide to protest by getting all their tractors onto the roads at the same time - watch the European continent grind to a halt in the form of one massive traffic jam :S

E.U != U.S. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683814)

The farming lobby is one of the strongest in Congress. You'll have every midwestern senator and his brother screaming holy bloody murder before debate even begins.

I'm actually pretty sure that most of Congress, and particularly midwestern Senators that are plugged in to US agricultural interests, would be quite happy with the European Union ending farm subsidies; the E.U. (unlike the EE.UU.) isn't the U.S.

We could do this in the USA (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682106)

... as soon as scientists spend as much on think tanks, lobbying, and campaign subsidies as agribusiness does.

Re:We could do this in the USA (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683840)

It would also help if your country switched to an election system with proportional representation. As I understand your election system the states with low population density have much more power per citizen than the high density states. And low population density means more farmers.
Proportional representation would not only change that, but also allow smaller parties to get elected. Oh well, it is easy to suggest that changes from outside I guess. Obviously the parties currently in power would not be interested in that change.

You FAIL it.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682116)

= 1400 netBSD Windows, SUN or

Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682124)

Imagine what we could get done if we weren't spending billions per month on war.

Our problems with the budget have nothing to do with unemployment, welfare, SSI, or unions, or whatever monster that the Republicans say is hiding under the bed. It has everything to do with the fact that we're pissing money away on wars that we /did not and are not paying for/. (Cut taxes while fighting a war? Just who the fuck is claiming fiscal responsibility here?)

We give science short shrift here when it is /undisputed/ by people on both sides of the aisle (except for nutcases like Palin) that basic and applied science give valuable dividends to society as a whole.

And don't tell me that the "free market" and companies will take up the slack. PARC no longer exists and neither does Bell Labs. R&D has been the first thing to be cut by bean counters in the last 30 years.

--
BMO

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682168)

Don't let your mindless Republican bashing get in the way of this being a story about the EU.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682544)

Republicanism is morally and fiscally bankrupt.

Deal with it.

--
BMO

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (0)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682896)

My kingdom for a mod point....

Most insightful thing anyone has ever said to a republican.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683244)

"Republicanism is morally and fiscally bankrupt.

Deal with it."

Don't forget Republicanism's intellectual bankruptcy.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683942)

Wow brno, hate much? And if I recall correctly, President Obama started this last war, and President Obama isn't bringing home all the troops from Iraq, and President Obama increased the troops in Afghanistan and President Obama is trying to find away to bypass Congress on his debt ceiling. Here I thought we elected a Democrat for president, the Dems morally and fiscally sound and all, then I guess Obama has to be a Republican.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682190)

Yup.

Got multiple wars going on... can't balance the budget... I know lets cut the space program. [rolls eyes]

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682218)

To illustrate directly: each JDAM costs $35,000 - $70,000 [wikipedia.org] . We might as well ship out crates of luxury automobiles and push them out the back of transport planes.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683886)

no but you could give each Afgani (?) a online store card with a $15000 limit each year that can only be spent at American suppliers and ship them the product by the planes instead.

capitalism is war cant win hearts and minds by violence? Buy 'em instead

The war machine backs up the US dollar (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682814)

The US dollar funnels the world's wealth to the USA and allows the US to effectively tax the rest of the world through inflation.

The 40% of government spending which goes on the military is to keep americans fat and happy. Without the dollar siphoning off the wealth from the rest of the world, American lifestyles would be far more difficult to maintain.

Re:Subsidies are a drop in the bucket. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682892)

I agree with a lot of what you're saying on this one. Spending the money on 5 or more wars is the real reason for the budget and economic problems we are experiencing in this country. But Republicans and Democrats are both in it together on this one. Though the Dems were against it when Bush was in office, now they back Obama on staying there. As a Senator, Obama said it was unconstitutional to go to war without consulting Congress and would get us out of war when he got in office. Now he's added a war and starts it without consulting congress with Libya. In my opinion, both parties are about the same and just as bad. The only difference is the Republicans will typically choose to overspend on Militarism and foreign policy. The Democrats will prefer to overspend on Social programs and welfarism. Both do wealth redistribution to the super wealthy - just in different ways. how do we get out of it? Not sure. IMO, we should first write our representatives about turning things around and not raising the debt ceiling. But maybe even better, we also should write STATE representatives about Nullification of Federal Laws (look it up) that are lousy. As far as Presidential candidates go, vote for Obama or one of the plastic Republican Candidates if you want four more years of the same lame thing. But if you want to vote for someone who has actually voted against every deficit budget, vote for Ron Paul. Though his party is Republican, He's the only candidate who has consistently voted the way he said he would. He also very much into adhering to the constitution and not trying to be King. Sorry if that last part seemed like an advertisement. I'd just like this country to get back on track. I want to see the best, but I think it prudent (economically) to be prepared for the worst. If we have more of the same and good men do nothing, expect finances and rights to continue diminishing.

Will they pay scientists not to research? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682132)

If we let too much new knowledge get created it will become too cheap.

America should do the same (3, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682160)

Seriously, far far better to spend money on R&D rather than providing subsidies that push planting corn, while having other subsidies that says to take fields out of production. Makes zero sense. We would be better doing the R&D and then keeping the companies local rather than selling them to Chinese companies (that makes ZERO sense).

Re:America should do the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682500)

It is better to sell and fill the pockets with money than having all the trouble of managing a company.

Do the same here. (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682182)

We should do the same here. Off the top of my head my quick list of subsidies that should be cut:
  • 1. Corn
  • 2. Ethanol
  • 3. Cotton
  • 4. Oil

Even with my strong libertarian leaning I realize there is a social benefit to perusing real science and innovation.

Re:Do the same here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682422)

Even with my strong libertarian leaning, I will capriciously favor things that I value above things other people value.

Re:Do the same here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683162)

My father is a farmer, and he barely eeks out a living even with government help. This is the reason you have access to large quantities of affordable food, without which there would be starving and a gnashing of teeth. Agriculture is a finely tuned ecosystem, for example; humans eat cows, cows eat corn, farmers grow corn, in order to grow sufficient quantities they need to fertilize, fertilizer is made from oil. You take any of those government subsidies out of the equation and prices will go up substantially and people will starve. And, all your liberal / libertarian don't eat animals / don't subsidize corn / fund "science!" / etc. won't mean a thing. Agriculture is a science too, and an important one. Much more important than exploring space or making computers, sorry. And, I can say that, I'm a computer scientist. Instead we should be trying to figure out how to feed the world, that's where this money should go.

Re:Do the same here. (1)

obi (118631) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684330)

Stopping all farming subsidies seems to have worked in New-Zealand, *in spite* of them having to compete on very heavily subsidized global stage.

Re:Do the same here. (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683474)

We should do the same here. Off the top of my head my quick list of subsidies that should be cut:

  • 1. Corn
  • 2. Ethanol
  • 3. Cotton
  • 4. Oil

Even with my strong libertarian leaning I realize there is a social benefit to perusing real science and innovation.

You guys subsidies oil?
In most European countries there's high energy taxes on oil... In Denmark 8 USD/gallon is quite normal...

Re:Do the same here. (1)

SpanglerIsAGod (2052716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683810)

In the US we are concerned that gas might reach 4 USD/gallon.

Re:Do the same here. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683962)

These subsidies are in the form of tax breaks specifically for the oil companies. There are probably some here on /. that would claim that that isn't a subsidy, but functionally it is the same. I lump tariffs, subsidies, and tax breaks for specific industries in the same category as they are all designed to do the same thing.

Re:Do the same here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36684286)

You guys subsidies oil?
In most European countries there's high energy taxes on oil... In Denmark 8 USD/gallon is quite normal.

No, we subsidize oil companies: the "producers" (what few of them there are in the US) and the middlemen. We invade and secure overseas oilfields so that our companies can pump in peace. We deregulate speculators with no capacity for or intention of ever taking delivery of the oil itself so they can drive the price up by playing hot-potato with oil futures contracts.

We tax the consumer who buys the oil. We don't tax the hell out of him yet, like they do in Denmark, but we tax the consumer and churn those taxes into subsidies for the companies who sold him his gas.

Captcha: spirally

The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good idea (5, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682196)

The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good idea. The EU are very bad at publicising the true aim of the CAP, which is food security. Most people seem to think it is just some sort of political back-hander to farmers, but the truth is that without it European farmers could not compete on an open market. This would result on reliance on countries in Africa, Asia, etc. for most of our food. When scarcities occur these countries may well impose a cap on exports. China and India have both limited rice exports in the past. Also if countries know that we are dependent on them it becomes a political weapon. It is worth spending some money to ensure that we are not totally reliant on outside sources for food.

Now if they want to save money on inefficiencies in the implementation of the CAP and spend it on science I am 100% behind that, but if they want to rely on the world market for our food supply I think that is a dangerous idea.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682538)

And is there an argument for why a tariff on imported food wouldn't serve this purpose more effectively? It seems like the US and EU are both poster children for the damage done by farm subsidies.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (2)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682568)

but the truth is that without it European farmers could not compete on an open market

So why does Britain still have agriculture - we don't get much in subsidies, It's mainly the French who get the lions share of the subsidies - that's the whole reason why Britain gets the big rebate and we all argue about all of this every budget.

I don't support a penny more to the EU - they tried to take over the military and have and extreme military expansionist policy last time they (and who is they?) wrote the so called 'constitution' - constitution my arse, corporate wet dream more like.

EU is a bad idea, it's not democratic, no-one has any idea who chooses and writes the laws, one MEP to millions of people is extremely undemocratic and unrepresentative and allows for corporate lobbyists to have more clout than ordinary citezens. Some laws have even been written in part by corporations on behalf of the unelected Commission who chose the laws. MEPs only get to vote on them and they are snowed under by a Commission with a law writing addiction out of control.

Citizens of Europe don't understand that their local gov'ts only decide on prison sentances and local taxation, everything else is decided by faceless unelected bureaucrats.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682856)

but the truth is that without it European farmers could not compete on an open market

So why does Britain still have agriculture - we don't get much in subsidies, It's mainly the French who get the lions share of the subsidies.

France gets almost 2.5 times the subsidies of the UK. They have slightly less than twice [wikipedia.org] the area of agricultural land that the UK has. It obviously is unfair, but not to the gross level that some people seem to think. After the rebate it is about even.

that's the whole reason why Britain gets the big rebate and we all argue about all of this every budget.

I don't support a penny more to the EU - they tried to take over the military and have and extreme military expansionist policy last time they (and who is they?) wrote the so called 'constitution' - constitution my arse, corporate wet dream more like.

EU is a bad idea, it's not democratic, no-one has any idea who chooses and writes the laws, one MEP to millions of people is extremely undemocratic and unrepresentative and allows for corporate lobbyists to have more clout than ordinary citezens. Some laws have even been written in part by corporations on behalf of the unelected Commission who chose the laws. MEPs only get to vote on them and they are snowed under by a Commission with a law writing addiction out of control.

Citizens of Europe don't understand that their local gov'ts only decide on prison sentances and local taxation, everything else is decided by faceless unelected bureaucrats.

OK so you are against the EU in general. This probably means that you are happy with the UK relying on the open market for 40% of its food needs. I think that in future as populations increase world wide this will be a disastrous move.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683262)

Right. The EP is undemocratic. Says a Brit whose system of vote is first-past-the post (you vote is not diluted, it just doesn't count) and a house of lords. There are 500 000 000 citizens of the EU. They all count.

Also "no-one has any idea who chooses and writes the laws" is not just a stupid argument. It is the ultimate "I am entitled to my ignorance and my point of view" point which completely invalidates anything you might say. Go read WP or something. It is just not that complicated.

Finally, please, do yourself (and the rest of us) a favour. Don't drink and post.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683524)

I don't like first past the post either, but at least in Britain you can talk to your MP and make a difference.

"no-one has any idea who chooses and writes the laws" is not an argument at all, it is an observation of fact - the fact that Europeans are clueless about how European government works and that can't be good for democracy.

WP?

The European Commission is as democratic as the house of lords. The difference is the house of lords strikes down bad laws whilst the Commission creates them.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684098)

The European Commission is as democratic as the house of lords. The difference is the house of lords strikes down bad laws whilst the Commission creates them.

How would you know? The media in the UK ignores the EU completely unless they're bashing them. The BBC has good coverage of European politics on specialist programmes on the news channel at odd times of the day, but you will never see mature coverage of EU policy on any mainstream news programme or in any mainstream newspaper in the UK, even the scarce, relatively pro-Europe ones.

The truth is that people in the UK have no idea what the EU does, and wouldn't know how to engage with it if they even wanted to. And would probably miss it immensely if we were to leave.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684306)

How would you know?

I agree, UK media sucks bad, I know how the EU works because I went out of my way to find out, Wikipedia was useless - it does not document the workings of EU governance well.

Media doesn't cover the EU because British people are apathetic about real politics much like Americans - they'd rather be talking about football or 'stars in their eyes'. Hundreds of years of political struggle seem to be going down the drain because people are too lazy to think for themselves and have succumbed to the corporate message of greed is good.

http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/basicfacts/index_en.htm#leg [europa.eu]

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683622)

French and Germans like subsidies!

Disclaimer: My reserach project (not mine but, I am part of it) touches several of the points discussed in this article. It is an FP7 project about Policy analysis in Rural development.

The fact is that agriculture is shrinking, and farm owners are looking for alternative ways of earning money. That is why you see a lot of diversification activities among farmers. The nice thing about Brits is that they seem to engage in diversified activities *only* if it is business.

We interviewed a UK ex-farmer who was doing something else now; his wife was in charge of the farm. When we asked what subsidies did he used for his new enterprise he said that he did not believed in "subsidies" and that if a business was really business then it does not need subsidies.

On the other hand, the general concensus of farmers we interviewed in Germany doing "bio-energy" was that the only reason they are doing it is because of the government subsidies. Otherwise they would never try (because it is not profitable).

I think the general spirit of the idea described in the article is good but only if the research is *very* focused on improving the quality of agriculture and rural areas in general.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

obi (118631) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684582)

> faceless unelected bureaucrats

Right. Sure.
- the European Parliament's MEPs are directly elected by the citizens
- the European Council is made up of heads of state, like, say David Cameron, who (I hope) is elected by the citizens.
- the European Commision is indeed not directly elected, but has to be approved by the Parliament, and put in office by the Council - seems like there's still some democratic checks there.

Just because you don't know these "foreign" people, doesn't mean they haven't been elected.

But yeah, people don't seem to give a shit about EU elections, even when it directly affects them.

You _can_ write your MEP, and directly influence them as citizens. Corporate lobbyists have clout, but ordinary citizens _can_ get themselves organised and lobby too. But for that you actually have to:
a) know what's going on
b) care

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36684810)

Britain doesn't elect it's head of state - the Queen, it also doesn't elect it's Prime Minister - the main party in parliament's leader becomes Prime Minister.

MEPs don't make most of the decisions, the decisions that count are made by the Commission and their and others bureaucrats.

Just because you don't know these "foreign" people, doesn't mean they haven't been elected.

Why are you trying to put racists words in to my mouth, they certainly don't belong there. And what makes you think I'm not one of 'these "foreign" people' as *you* put it.

You can right to your MEP all you like - they don't make the laws so it's a bit futile.

In the UK the laws are chosen by the people we vote for.
In the EU they are not.

So to re-cap:
1. MEPs - elected but not much power.
2. European Council, not directly elected.
3. Commission, most powerful, not elected.
Looks crap to me.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682686)

Making Europeans pay higher prices for food and preventing third-world farmers form making money on growing anything other than drugs is horrible security policy. Horrible policy period.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

fezzzz (1774514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682828)

And in this way you keep African farmers unable to compete in a fair market which in turns prevent them from utilizing their farm land. So you have overseas companies extracting oil from Africa, subsidizing farmers in their home countries, bribing African officials to prevent them from nationalizing their resources and the poor remain poor.

Re:The CAP is badly run, inefficient, but a good i (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683566)

I've heard that the EU has a huge stock pile of food rotting away... So a small reduction is the production is probably not a bad idea...

Iit will never happen (4, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682214)

The Common Agriculture Policy [wikipedia.org] (CAP) was devised as a way to keep a strategic asset, the ability to produce food without depending on foreign powers, in spite of any economic pressure that could force farmers to abandon farming altogether and therefore squander the food production potential of the EU members. This is mainly achieved by a series of agricultural subsidies devised to keep farms afloat even when their production, in today's market, is far more expensive than any import food, particularly in the third world.

Knowing this, reducing CAP subsidies so that the money is directed elsewhere represents the destruction of europe's agricultural potential and the abandon of europe's objective of being self-dependent in terms of food production. Although investing in science and technology is always a good thing, doing it at the expense of being able to guarantee europe's basic needs isn't a smart move. It's literally betting the farm on the expectation that a boom in tertiary and quaternary industries will be enough to compensate the dependence on third-world countries, some of whom are run by despots, for the ability to get a meal. Just to put it in perspective, just think of a OPEC [wikipedia.org] formed to control europe's food imports, and imagine the effect of a speculation attack on the price of food. It would be suicide.

And I don't even mention the lobbying for the agroindustry.

So no, don't expect this shift to occur. The CAP subsidies will keep on being directed to the farmers and science will be forced to get it's funding from somewhere else.

Re:Iit will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682496)

It's sad that I had to scroll so far down the page before I found someone with sense in the sea of "ZOMG SCIENCE!" posts.

Re:Iit will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682760)

There's a bit more to it, since the subsidies are currently not so much about maintaining the indenpence in food production for the whole of Europe, but instead uphold the production independence of the individual member states. If the nationalistic tendencies within the union subside and it moves more toward a unified state, where the production indepence would be upheld purely on a EU-wide base, there would certainly be room for cuts in the subsidies, since they could be redirected to the regions where the cost of agriculture is minimal. As it stands now, much of the subsidies go to growing crops in my native Finland, which for most purposes is the hardest and thus most expensive place to practice agriculture. However, the point made about strong opposition most certainly is a correct one, but it is from the individual nations in EU where the strongest opposition will most likely come from.

Re:Iit will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36683004)

Why Europe should be self-sufficient in food production? Those consumers who want to buy food produced in Europe, the market will provide them. Those consumers who want food produced outside Europe, the market will provide them.

Let the consumers choose. Europe pays farmers to produce "self-sufficiency" wine, and then pays factories to convert the wine to gasoline because a bureaucrat had "overestimated" the demand for the wine.

Re:Iit will never happen (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683486)

Why Europe should be self-sufficient in food production?

How stupid a statement can you make?

Argicultural land doesn't just exist, it's argicultural land because it's actively being maintained as Agricultural land and would revert to natural habit very quickly. Much more than a decade out of use and you couldn't turn it back into Argicultural land without major effort (cutting trees, plowing over grass land etc) before you could even sow and even then the yields in the first few years are going to be very low.

Any civilisation is one bad harvest away from chaos.

CAP isn't without it's problems, it's directly responsible for making African farms uneconomical, for example, but it's a fundamental to any countries security that they are close to being self-sufficent.

Re:Iit will never happen (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683950)

Yeah, listen to the captain.
What do you do if and when the market tanks? Faith in the market to provide all is deeply troubling and naive approach to running a government. In some cases, indeed most, the free market works best. But it needs competition. Where there are natural monopolies, or monopolies through consolidation, or simply an oligarch of the old-boys club, then the free market has failed. And some things are too vitial to leave to the free market. Military security, nuclear production, and feeding the masses.

Now, we don't need a crazy system where the state owns both your cows, it can simply regulate it with a couple of simple rules. Like, keep enough farms running to feed ourselves in a pinch.

American version (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682258)

In a related study, the US Congress has decided to repurpose health and education subsidies to a scientific program designed to determine which bombs Jesus would have used against which foreigners.

Good. Screw those hick farmers. (1)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682302)

I want to see them suffer while the rest of us dine on Replicator synthesized gourmet cooking.

Better idea... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682344)

If they're going to finally make cuts to the farm budget, why not cut the overall EU budget? Those f*****rs are increasing the size of their budget when most of the member states are slashing spending and imposing painful austerity measures. They're so out of touch; it's so offensive. What value are they bringing? That's right: none, other than some more expensive unnecessary buildings [guardian.co.uk]

Scientists don't riot. (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36682452)

Scientists generally don't stage mass protests, obstruct traffic, riot etc.

All of which commonly occurs in Europe whenever the agricultural sector there feels threatened.

Re:Scientists don't riot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36682726)

No time to riot when there's science to do

Here's an idea ... (1)

Boona (1795684) | more than 3 years ago | (#36683454)

Instead of shifting those dollars over why don't you just lower the tax burden on your citizens to help stimulate the economy and get out of your financial mess?
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