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Doesn't the fact that they're subsidized to keep them from collapsing due to low prices mean the opposite of it being easy and cheap?

If the subsidies were removed, the farmers/etc would need to raise their prices to pay for whatever the subsidies paid. That new higher price would reflect the real cost of production. The subsidies are there to keep prices low and accessible despite a higher cost of production.




Well if you take corn for instance, we use a large portion of that to create high fructose corn syrup. The government subsidizes it to keep prices low, so that it's cheap enough to stick in everything from soft drinks to salad dressing to bread. We don't actually need all that sugar; it's keeping Americans fat and unhealthy. But I'll leave you to draw the obvious conclusions about what a fat sugar-addicted population does for revenue.


We also turn the corn into ethanol and force everyone to add it to their auto fuel, and they want to increase that amount. Which is, in essence, forcing everyone to burn corn.


Is it really that much of an evil scheme? Isn't it just dating back to sugar tariffs? Wasn't sugar the first tariff in the history of the US?

It seems more like it's just an entrenched industry. Corn especially now that it's tied up in gassoline and Trump's trade war.


> Is it really that much of an evil scheme ... seems more like it's just an entrenched industry

Same thing, really. Entrenched industries usually find themselves a nice feedback loop and dig in. The nature of capitalism allows them to ignore any negative externalities of their product. They ship out corn-sugar and dollars roll in. They don't deal with the realities of diabetes and heart disease caused by their products. Heart disease is the #1 killer in this country. Diabetes is #7. If we want any hope at combating this, we need less sugar in this country. But big sugar is indifferent to this, and that's where the evil comes in. In fact, they know this is happening, but the calculus is clear.


Thats not an example of an economic externality. Externalities are about effects on third parties not involved in the trade.

The problem here quite simply is that people kove sugar. Arguble some historical regulatory mistakes made suger consumtion too high but the primary reason is people demand.


An externality is a cost someone incurs that they didn't consciously choose. They can absolutely be involved in the trade. For one thing, excessive sugar intake is a blight on children. Childhood obesity is an epidemic on this country fueled by the corn industry. Excessive HFCS is in everything from applesauce to bread to juice boxes. It's hard to argue children are actively involved in the trade.

But it applies to adults too who purchase the goods. Most people if you ask them don't realize how much sugar is in the food they consume, and they don't understand the connection between sugar consumption and heart disease. No one chooses heart disease.

People can read a percentage or a gram count on the packaging, sure, but the nature of sugar is that of addiction. It's not just that people like sugar, it's that we are wired to want to consume it, and Big Sugar takes advantage of that by loading a surprising amount of our food with too much of it. Many people are surprised to learn their bread has sugar in it. Even with soda they are surprised just how much is in a can if you measure it out physically on the table in front of them. People aren't well-informed about what they are consuming and the long term health related effects, and even if they are they are too addicted to stop. Big Sugar knows this and takes full advantage, because millions of people dying every year does not affect their bottom line (and they can easily replace their old, dead customers with new, young ones)


Yep, but small nit. Farmers don’t really “raise their prices”. With commodities you can’t really raise your prices. You either sell at the market price or sit on it. And sitting on it is really dangerous with perishable commodities.

Look at mines, oil companies, etc for other examples of industries with participants lacking the ability to raise their prices.


Yes, that's why the subsidies are there, to keep them from collapsing. Raising their prices when the subsidies are removed is a hypothetical scenario to highlight what the real cost of production probably is. In reality, they'd probably realize that it's hopeless to even try.




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