The Corner

Sugar, Corner, and Politics

From a reader, answering a question I posted earlier:

“A lot of soft drinks are sweetened with a corn-derived sugar, fructose, I believe. This is uneconomical in competition with sugar, unless the price of sugar is raised by a tariff. So corn growers and processors tend to support sugar tariffs.”

A friend who knows a lot about the sugar business–and the politics of sugar–confirms this. He adds, though, that support for sugar restrictions (which take the form of quotas rather than tariffs, by the way) scarcely registers among corn farmers. It’s the gigantic corn processors who tend to play the political game, lobbying against sugar imports. Why? To protect their enormous capital investments in the plants that turn corn into corn syrup.

On Haiti, by the way, a last little rejoinder to Derb: Namely, that mocking the free trade position because it would fail to transform Haiti, overnight, into a model nation is not, really, a form of argument. Get rid of the sugar quotas and you’d improve life, perhaps dramatically, in half a dozen or so Caribbean nations. Haiti would probably be one. And improvement is, well, improvement, is it not?

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