Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The War on Asparagus?

From the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

"The law of unintended consequences is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or "unintended." Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians have largely ignored it."

Example: The War on Drugs, aka as the War on U.S. Asparagus.

The asparagus industry in Washington state has been decimated by a U.S. drug policy designed to encourage Peruvian coca-leaf growers to switch to asparagus. Passed in 1990, the Andean Trade Preferences and Drugs Eradication Act permits certain products from Peru and Colombia, including asparagus, to be imported to the United States tariff-free.

The National Drug Control Policy Web site currently notes that the Peruvian coca acreage, mostly in the highlands, is the highest it has been in eight years.

On the other hand, Peru has become a powerhouse in asparagus production along its Pacific Coast lowlands. Peruvian asparagus production has multiplied 18-fold. The industry has developed a vigorous market and attracted sizable capital investment.

Meanwhile, the Washington asparagus industry is disappearing. Acreage has been cut by 71 percent to just 9,000 acres. In 2005, Seneca Foods closed the world's largest cannery in Washington, and shipped its state-of-the-art equipment to — no surprise — Peru. So did Del Monte, when it also closed its Washington plant.


At 1/09/2007 10:12 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/09/2007 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I figured it out! I'll comment tomorrow.

At 1/09/2007 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Peru has two strong export goods. Si se puede! If we eliminate the citizenship requirements for congressmen, then we could import cheaper politicians too.

At 1/10/2007 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shopping in the grocery store I noticed there sure is a lot of good looking asparagus, so abundant that there is more asparagus than other vegetables to choose from and the price is good as it is on sale also, so the sign states. I do not know who has won the war on asparagus, but I plan to read the labels next time I am in the store. Muy bien!

At 1/11/2007 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought some asparagus on the way home tonight and the purple rubber band aroung the bundle states, "PLU 4080 PRODUCE OF PERU".


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