A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
Point of view

Liberalization without Regulation? Like a Democracy without Laws!


The WOAgri editorial


The argument that the unregulated liberalization of agricultural markets would drive development is founded on an ideology ill-adapted to the specific characteristics of agriculture.

For the WTO negotiations, agriculture has been presented as the market that should be liberalized first in order to breathe new life into world trade.
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy furthermore believes that liberalizing the agricultural markets would drive development in the least developed countries, for they could consequently export more and import at lower cost. This explains why the Doha Round is also referred to as the Development Round. This theory, which rests on the belief that multilateralism and Ricardo's theory are the answer to the future of mankind, is both unfounded and dangerous. Why?

First, because as the WOAGRI model demonstrates, agricultural price volatility will increase the more that market is liberalized without regulation.

This will create a continuous state of insecurity for farmers, will destroy traditional agriculture and lead to a concentration of production within a few large "world farms." It will promote speculation and facilitate social and environmental dumping practices. Unregulated liberalization will therefore expose the agricultural markets to a “kangaroo effect" while tending to exacerbate that effect.

It is often said that the best way to cure these fluctuations would be to liberalize the market as much as possible,

a strategy purported to spread out risk and stabilize prices. This is a preconceived notion that does not hold up against the facts. The WOAGRI model proves that in such a scenario, agricultural raw materials prices are even more volatile and the risks for mankind therefore even greater. Who comes out on top in such a context? Those countries that adopt protectionist regulations in disguise. That is just what the United States is now doing. Free trade is essential, but only if the international community defines rules to prevent such excesses.

The agricultural markets must be managed like a great democracy that spans the entire globe.

Rules must be established to contain the behaviors rising out of extreme price volatility. Blindly liberalizing trade without taking into account the unique characteristics of agriculture would be akin to prescribing a cure that has nothing to do with the illness at hand - much like the bloodletting practices once used to cure patients of all ills, but that often instead proved fatal. Today we know that a proper medical exam can inform the best treatment option. The time has come for us to leave behind the cures of the 19th century and turn our attention to those of the 21st century. Now that the WOAGRI model exists, we have no excuse, for we now have access to some of the necessary diagnostic instruments. This speaks to the very purpose driving WOAgri: to help build suitable methods of regulation and define what will enable all of the world's countries to find the best paths to international cooperation for a sector as specific and as strategic as agriculture.

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Paris, 10 December 2018