While the work on this book on agricultural subsidies was being completed in 2008, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its estimate of the 2007 total support from agricultural policies in OECD countries, amounting to $365 billion. It is hard to imagine a confluence more serendipitous for a publisher and it must have made the catchy title of the book inevitable. The book is, however, much more than a parade of data: it really does delve into the economics and to some extent the politics as the less catchy subtitle promises. The amount of $365 billion is of course large although after bailouts and stimulus packages it does not look nearly as enormous as it did in 2007.

The book introduces what it calls the problem of agricultural subsidies by way of contrasting agriculture and policy in the western African country of Benin against the agricultural subsidies...

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