Coase, Pigou and the Potato: Whither Farmers'
|Bertacchini, E. E. (2008):
Coase, Pigou and the
Potato: Whither Farmers' Rights?
Ecological Economics, available
online 17 March 2008
This article explores the
realization of farmers' rights in order to reward farming communities for their
contribution in conserving and developing crop genetic resources. Current
proposals to realize farmers' rights follow both Coasean and Pigouvian
approaches, which try to solve the public good dilemma generated by traditional
farmers in supplying agrobiodiversity. However, this article claims that both
these solutions not only may be difficult to realize but also provide
incomplete incentives to traditional farmers in enhancing in situ genetic
diversity. In analogy with emerging open source models in the digital
information economy, the author contends that traditional farming systems, with
the customary practices of seed saving and exchange, must be regarded as a
commons based peer organization for germplasmproduction and distribution. For
this reason, new options for implementing farmers' rights should be devised in
order to strengthen farmers' practices to use and exchange seeds within the
traditional seed systems.
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