The real market price of cotton isnâ€™t great, but government subsidies of almost 20 cents a pound have turned cotton into a gold mine for about 20,000 farmers in the South who make, on average, $125,000 a year.
The problem lies in the fact that overproduction of cotton in America lowers the global price of the product, hurting the livelihoods of millions of African cotton growers who earn roughly a dollar a day with which to support their families.
The World Trade Organization has found the subsidies to be illegal, yet congressional agricultural policy continues to widen the margins of global inequality.
Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, â€œThe cost to America of reforming cotton subsidies is low — a mite from a billionaire. The benefit to the worldâ€™s poorest people is great. As is often the case, bad economics turns out to be bad morality.â€
Posted by Kristin Mehler
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