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The French, the Dutch and the CAP


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One of the big stumbling blocks in helping the third world, and transatlantic relations is the common agricultural policy. And the people who object to it mostly are the French. I think this might have something to do with the fact that in the past there, the big hypermarches have destroyed many small businesses and left citycentres dead. (Correct me if I'm wrong, of course.) They're afraid something similar will happen to the small farmers when their subsidies disappear. Well, yes and no. Back in Holland, we've already done it. Farmers have long been encouraged to scale up and the government has used the several disease crises of the late 1990s to buy out farmers. Does this mean the countryside has gone industrial? Nope. The practices of smalltime farming are being kept alive by huge numbers of hobbyfarmers. People who like to keep a few chickens, some pigs, a pony, etc. just for fun. For the kids, maybe. You can watch trends in stacking hay each year, when another tradition gets rediscovered. This has even gone so far that people have started complaining about the 'horsification' of the countryside (thank you Anky!). So there's nothing to fear in giving up your subsidies. Hey, maybe you can get the Brits to give up their rebate in return?

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