Thursday, January 25, 2018

Citing a Century of Intensive Regulation as an Argument Against Intensive Regulation


From an interesting piece at The Heartland Institute -- "Today's Food: A Modern Agricultural Miracle," by Steve Goreham:


Agriculture is under attack. Environmentalists label modern farming as unsustainable, blaming farming for polluting the planet and destroying the climate. But today’s food is abundant and nutritious — a modern agricultural miracle.

...

An astounding improvement in agricultural yields provides rising output without the need for additional land. Gains in US corn yield are a remarkable example. US land employed to harvest corn peaked in 1918. Today, US farmers produce five times more corn on 11 percent less area than 100 years ago.

Hmm. Since 1918. That is, since right before the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act, 1922 Capper–Volstead Act, the 1922 Grain Futures Act, the 1929 Agricultural Marketing Act, the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act and, basically, a century of increaingly intensive government regulation (and subsidy) of every aspect of agriculture.

Don't get me wrong. I oppose both regulation and subsidy. But "hey, look how much things improved over the course of an era of unprecedented regulation and subsidy, those guys who advocate more regulation and subsidy must be wrong" doesn't strike me as the soundest argument.

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