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022_ Interview: brought to you by the U.S. sugar cartel

25 April, 2021 - 3 min read

022_ Interview: brought to you by the U.S. sugar cartel

Why hello there, this episode of _bandwidth: coast to coast, is brought to you by the United States sugar cartel.

Well, no, not really, only part of that is really true.

The US sugar cartel hasn’t openly started making podcast sponsorships, but they very much do exist, and is the focus of this episode’s interview.

Cartels, as you may recall from episode 020 with Ioan Grillo, is when a group of actors band together to fix the price or supply within a given industry.

We typically hear about cartels when it comes to organized crime, especially since the incredible uptick in violence south of the border has increased the word’s use.

The truth is though, that many cartels are operating right now, in the open, in above board industries.

Some are starting to question if several companies in Tech are acting together as a cartel, internet service providers have been accused multiple times of monopolies and cartel like behaviors.

But the focus of this episode, is what emerges when the government controls an entire industry.

So, how did it come to be, that there’s a coordinated effort involving many actors within our government, to fix the price, supply and trade of sugar within the borders of the United States?

In short, it’s a story of seemingly good intentions, in long, well, you’ll just have to hear it for yourself.

I do want to leave you with a thought.

No matter what one’s stance is on capitalism, government intervention or any sliding scale of either, it’s worth studying and keeping in mind what can emerge when an entity has absolute control of a basic resource.

Just think, if one entity controls all that comes and goes, wouldn’t the best course of action for those within that control, attempt to influence that main entity?

Should that strategy prove winning, wouldn’t everyone within that circle fight like hell to maintain the status quo? Even if the change would overwhelmingly benefit those they serve?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Well, if it doesn’t, come back to it in about 90 minutes.

My interview today is with Colin Gabrow, Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute. Who’s work focuses on domestic forms of trade protectionism.

Colin has studied the sugar cartel in the US extensively, and shares his knowledge of how it got started, what this ends up meaning for consumers and industry, as well as the political situation that’s formed this and continues to keep it in place.

The whole thing honestly sounds like a script for a movie based on monopoly.

With characters named the fan joule brothers, who meddle in government affairs from behind the scenes, occasionally interrupting the president of the united states while they’re having an affair with an intern.

Or senators from Florida claiming that if we don’t continue fixing the price of American sugar, we will be overrun by strip malls.

The truth is most often stranger than fiction.

Welcome, to US sugar.

-J.R.

This was an excerpt from the intro essay to _bandwidth: coast to coast

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