The latest figures from the OECD show that the amount its thirty members spent on domestic agriculture in 2005 was almost unchanged from 2004 at $279.8bn (€221bn, £152bn). Subsidies accounted for almost one-third of farm incomes across the rich world.
EU aid to its farmers fell marginally from $136.1bn to $133.8bn while Japanese and Swiss farmers remained among the most protected. The producer subsidy equivalent, which measures the cost to taxpayers of subsidies and consumers of tariff barriers, was 32 per cent in the EU, 56 per cent in Japan and 68 per cent in Switzerland. The $42.7bn US support represented 16 per cent of receipts.
In very simple terms, a concentrated interest deriving benefits from intervention prevails over the diffuse interests of consumers and taxpayers.