The production and consumption of food occupy a major share of the general concern brought about by the world crisis. The growth of both elements continues nevertheless in keeping with the same capital-intensive and labour-saving standards of the previous expansionary phase. But the new context of world inflation, instability and recession imposes a burden with regard to the reproduction costs of food Systems in all of the OECD countries. Indeed, three trends are evolving simultaneously : the increase in the price of land; the instability of domestic price Systems; and, the new influence of international markets.
Agricultural products are the source of 75 % of 'New Zealand's export eanings. During the 1970 's, the decline in New Zealand's terms of trade (prices of exports of wool, meat and dairy products having risen more slowly than those of manufactured imports), the loss of access to the British market, the rise of protectionism (notably in the EEC of which Great Britain is a member) have posed serious adjustment problems for New Zealand agriculture. However, the "Marshallien entrepreneur" that is the New Zealand farmer, backed up by the State (which centralises control of exports and credit), has risen to the challenge : as a result, production is being diversified and this has facilitated a re-orientation of exports toward countries outside the OECD area. It is the view of the author that such a policy in conformity with the concept of free-trade, permits a more optimistic outlook for the 1980 's.
The present article begins by describing the institutionnal framework of Australian agriculture, recent aspects of evolution in agricultural production, exports, costs and in comes. Ii shows how since 1967 agricultural policy is becoming more and more selective, while at the same time its influence on economic policy is decreasing. This change is attributed to industrialization of the country and to the growing participation of agriculture in the international market. This new form of growth, even less than the old one, cannot solve the issue of rural poverty in Australia nor that of hunger in the world.
During the high economic growth years (1955-1973), Japan became heavily dependant on food, foodstuff and lumber imports. This evolution was due partly to general contraints (narrowness of land, rise in living standards, etc), partly to the structural transformations of Japanese agriculture (development of stock raising, shrinking of winter crops, etc). Custom barriers have been lowered in many cases. Nevertheless, agricultural and food prices remain very high, and the present policy is to stimulate the productions which, during the high growth era, had been given up to international concurrence. Priority is now given to maintaining or raising self-sufficiency ratios which had dangerously subsided during the sixties.
Confronted with economic crisis, american agricultural policy since 1970 has been dominated by one priority : the solution of problems associated with other sectors, by saving public agricultural expenses as well as by using exports as a « food weapon ». But this policy does no more than shift the contradictions of american society : it doesn't stop the food/wage spiral and it re-activates the internal tensions of agricultural production. A longer term logic dominates this short term policy: to safeguard the functions of agriculture within the accumulation process. The study emphasizes the function of supplier of labor for other sectors of agriculture. It shows how the american food model, by consuming an irrational amount of ressources, ensures that the labor's supply grows more rapidly than its demande.
The author distinguishes three periods in the analysis of growth of american agriculture for the last hundred years: 1860-1900, expansion based on the conquest of new lands; recession during the twenties and the thirties; since the fourties, new expansion by developping the agro-industrial complex on the basis of soya bean and new highly productive breeding technics. The export of this new model open enlarged solvent markets in and outside the country for american feedgrains and oleaginous. However, just as the USA now attempt to use food as a weapon, american agriculture is confronted with new conditions by intensification of production (increasing costs), saturation of external markets and emergence of new competitors.
The development of Canadian agriculture was founded (similarly to that of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay) on the basis of an economy with dominion-wide referents. To begin, this article ascertains the general characteristics of that System. It then considers the System 's evolution in Canada since 1970. The increase in the world prices of energy (of which Canada is a net exporter) and the reorganization of the national transportation network are altering the roles of the different provinces with regard to agricultural production and are leading to a dismantling of the Boards, which were until now the only intermediary with foreign markets. Ultimately these trends point to an overall reorganization of the Canadian agricultural System.
The need to substitute capital for labor-force and the augmentation of internal demand explain the forms of expansion of spanish agriculture for the last 20 years: growth of production and changes in its composition, progression of productivity, intense mecanization, increase of imports more rapidly than exports. To day several factors disturbe this model of growth, the main ones being the slow-down or rural depopulation, the inequality on land distribution, the persistent weakness of breeding. In the crisis ' cycle, we may doubt that government and agricultors can reach, beyond their short term accommodation, a new long term compromise.
The brief historical review which opens the article shows that evolutions of the 70''s have les s affected agriculture - already very capitalistic and highly productive - than agricultural policies. The country's entry into the EEC and the need to adapt its agricultural policies to european norms are the main cause of his change. They are at the same time at the center of national debates and form the core of this article which also analyses land, fiscal and marketing policies.
Since 1970 the government brings differrenciated pressure to bear on production prices but this policy goes with the emergence of France as a big world food exporter. However since 1974 the instability of external trade and the sensible drop in agricultural income has led, 20 years after the i960's laws, to a new agricultural policy. Despite the large current debates, the definition of this new policy seems to have to await the post-crisis phase.
The paper attempts to describe and explain developments in European Community agricultural policy in the last decade in the light of the political considerations underlying national and supra-national behaviour. Suggestions for reforms are made, but the main emphasis is on the need for the real objectives and hopes of the Community's members to be made explicit and then reconciled.