Kevin Watkins

Let me get this straight.

Kevin Watkins is director of the UN\’s Human Development Report Office.


Thomas Malthus, the 18th-century cleric, must be chuckling in his grave. As world leaders gather in Rome for the UN summit on hunger, his grim prediction that humanity faced a future of rising food prices and mounting malnutrition has finally arrived at the centre of the international agenda.

We\’ve got a Malthusian in such a position?

Putting in place a WTO agreement that stops rich countries dumping surpluses, opens up their agricultural markets and allows poor countries to protect their producers is a vital ingredient for any viable long-term recovery strategy.

One who says that tariff protection in poor countries is going to be to the benefit of the people in those poor countries?

No wonder the international world order is so fucked.

Reduced self-reliance is driven by many factors. The neglect of smallholder agriculture by national governments and aid agencies is one factor, reflected in the shocking state of transport and marketing in poor rural areas.

He\’s actually arguing for more peasant agriculture? When, as Paul Collier has so wonderfully pointed out, what we want is more commercial agriculture in such places?

We\’ve actually got an example to point to as well. Zimbabwe.

Twenty years ago the commercial farms in that country meant that it was a large nett exporter of maize. Their replacement by peasant farming has meant the country is starving.

I despair, I really do, when we\’ve got such people arguing in favour of "self-reliance". No, twat, what we want is greater interconnection, more globalisation!

Might I quote Dani Rodrik here?

If developing countries had all kept their import protection, the global supply of food would have been lower today, not higher. (That is because import protection would have led global production to be reallocated from efficient exporters to inefficient importers.)

If that was true then, then it\’s true now and looking into the future. So Our Kevin is actually arguing for  policies which will reduce the global supply of food into the future.

As I said, no wonder the system is fucked with idiots like this running it.

3 thoughts on “Kevin Watkins”

  1. Self-reliant smallholder agriculture was such a resounding success in Ireland in the 19th century, eh? Idiot.

  2. Maybe the U.N. is like a university? Basically a secure holding place for over-educated idiots where they cannot really effect the real world, although breakouts sometimes happen.

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