This thesis attempts to determine a preferred long term strategy for the Australian agricultural sector. Two central propositions are that such a determination can only be attempted if:-
(a) The economic and technical background, goals and selected theory are recognised as requiring selected theory are recognised as requiring explicit treatment.
(b) These phenomena, and particularly the background date, are considered in an international context.
An examination of major explanatory variables of global supply of food products reveals that there is much uncertainty as the whether the full food needs increased populations will be met. Some observers are pessimistic about the ability of technology to continue to provide innocations while others see no diminution in this process.
Whilst the questions of food aid has been clouded by memories of the surplus disposal programme of the U.S. in post-war years, it is argued that fundamental values and goals of most of the D.C.’s indicate an obligation for those countries to at least “harmonise: their agricultures with those of the L.D.C’s. Further then that an ‘instrumental’ role for food aid is suggested that, in turn, would imply a role for our agriculture beyond that of meeting commercial demands. It is emphasised, however, that such a strategy would have to be part of an overall package which incorporate both trade and aid as well.
A recurring theme in the thesis is that the economist’s role in proposing a strategy of this nature is two-fold. Firstly, he can assist the community in weighing up the cost and benefits of alternative combinations of goals and policies. Secondly he has every right, even if no special qualifications, to express preferences based on personal values and judgements. The latter, however, must be explicit.
Thus while a personal view is being proposed it is hopes that it is not a so idiosyncratic as to not command some reasonable measure of support. In addition it is hopes that the analysis has an heuristic value insofar as a framework is provided within which social debate about the long term nature of Australian agriculture might take place.