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Stolen Fruit
Peter Robbins
Price: $ 17.5

Fifty or more developing countries still depend mainly on the tropical commodities or minerals that they produce. Over the past half century, it has become abundantly clear that:

Encouraging so many countries to grow coffee, sugar, cotton and other crops has been a disaster.

Small farmers get only a tiny share of the final tag on these commodities on supermarket shelves in the North.

Prices have collapsed; terms of trade between North and South widened.

And in their wake, foreign exchange earnings, tax revenues, and economic growth in developing countries have plummeted.

This uptodate new investigation by one of the leading authorities on commodity trading examines the way in which this situation came about; how important primary commodities still are to so many developing countries; and current trading arrangements. Peter Robbins looks into the possible solutions being proffered - from ideas to exploit new niche markets and improve quality, to more radical notions like fair trade, and shows how they all fail to measure up to the scale of the disaster facing the Third World. Instead, he argues developing countries must take a leaf out of supply side economics, and themselves take the measures required to bring supply and demand into a better balance that will secure them far higher and more stable prices than today.

Here is a crisp analysis of one of the most important questions in international economics, and concrete proposals to establish a new supply management programme that, if acted upon by the South, could revolutionize their development prospects.

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