Regenerative Agriculture and the Denial of Comparative Advantage, part 2

Source: EconLog
by Pierre Desrochers

“Writing in 1770, the French economist and statesman Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot observed that there were two ways to deal with a price spike that followed a bad harvest. The first was to transport ‘grain from provinces where the harvest is good to those where it is bad.’ The other was to ‘store it up in abundant years for use in famine years.’ Turgot wrote that the ‘two methods entail costs, and free trade will always choose that which, all told, entails the least cost.’ He added, that ‘barring special circum­stances,’ transportation was usually preferable since ‘the return of the funds is speedier’ and the ‘waste product is less considerable, the grain being consumed the sooner.’ Very often though, governments placed ‘obstacles in the way of transportation’ and tipped the balance in favor of storage. In the two centuries and a half since Turgot wrote these lines, debates about food security have essentially been along similar lines.” (01/12/22)