Given that the academic year is about to start, permit me to supply you with a short course on what is new in agricultural economics. Consider reading this piece by NCSU’s Michael Roberts. You will see a touch of Malthus here as he analyzes food production in the face of climate change. While rising food prices in the developing world will raise farmer incomes, he is concerned about the urban poor’s quality of life.
How can this group be protected? Global carbon mitigation would be great but don’t count on it. A more feasible “solution” is more free trade. If the urban poor can find jobs in export industries, then their incomes will rise. National population growth slows in urbanizing nations because of women’s labor market opportunities in the market place. Reducing world poverty and slowing world population growth will reduce the poor’s exposure to climate shocks. International free trade in agricultural goods lowers the price of food for importing nations and this raises the standard of living of the LDC urban poor. International migration (another free trade policy) will also offer another margin of adjustment.