The Guardian carries a long piece about Brexit, tariffs, beet and cane sugar and so on. Should we continue to protect beet growers? Should we just abolish the tariffs and let cane rule?
Our answer is obvious, abolish the protections and see what happens. Not all agree:
Even then, its farmers claim the burden of living in a high-wage economy means it is unfair to pit them against surplus cane that is dumped on the world market below the average cost of production by developing economies.
“If we are living in a higher-cost economy than Brazil, and as a society we value things that those higher costs support, then a degree of tariff protection to make that sustainable is legitimate,” argues Martin. “In an ideal world run by rational people, that is what tariff barriers used sensibly can help to balance out.”
Actually, that's the argument for cutting tariffs entirely and the heck with it. Because that very fact that we are a high wage economy is precisely why we should not be doing low value add things. We should only be doing things which add a lot of value - wages do after all reflect the value being added in the economy.
If there are people out there willing to grow sugar for $300 a month while we would need £3,000 a month to do it then we should be buying from them and not producing ourselves. We should be off doing something which adds more than £3,000 a month to justify those wages.
Again, the fact that we're a high wage economy isn't an argument to build protection around it, it's the very argument that we shouldn't be doing the low value things that poorer people in other places could be.