In the WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005, the member states agreed to phase out all their agricultural export subsidies by the end of 2013. Are we beginning to see the effects of this with high rice prices and rioting in Asia? You know the conventional wisdom... Subsidies keep supply artificially high, and prices artificially low. I recall being very alarmed when I heard about this agreement. I never could understand how a surplus of food could be considered a bad thing, artificial or not. Bad for local farmers maybe, but when you're talking about global economic policy, you have to look at the big picture.