Launch of E-learning CAP course

For those interested in learning more about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, a new online learning course on the CAP has just been launched by Groupe de Bruges in association with Associazione Alessandro Bartola/Agriregionieuropa and SPERA (Interuniversity Center on Rural, Environmental, Economic Policies) led from the University of Ancona. The course consists of eight modules and participation is free [Disclaimer: I have contributed one of the modules on the CAP in an international context]. Each module consists of one or two powerpoint lessons lasting around 40 minutes, and there are short entry and exit tests to help students assess their knowledge. Financial support for the development of the course was provided by the European Commission and the Swiss Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrés de l’Homme.

Already in the first month around 200 people from 30 countries had registered to take the course. This thread is open for comments and feedback from anyone who has registered and participated in the course.

This post was written by Alan Matthews

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3 Replies to “Launch of E-learning CAP course”

  1. Just a plea. Can you please keep your comments section open on the more contentious blogs by your contributors. It is sad that the majority of replies are actually by your own inhouse contributors. Hardly a democracy is it . You complain about others exclusivity but your own version of it is also apparent.

    Your experience, knowledge and understanding is limited to your academic office based approach, various profiles noted. Fortunately those that role up their sleeves and actually work on the land know better than to speak from such a weak position as yours. It is they who have the very difficult job of feeding a growing population who need to be listened to. As for industrial subsidies from government this happens by each nation to support that industry which is crucial to the states economic well being – See Germany and Siemans also Britain and Bombadier. Perhaps the academic comfort group would prefer riots in Europe as a preference to stability.

    In that case I would have thought food production did a little more than ensure a states economic well being. It is such a pity that a small group of academics miss this point entirely. Perhaps they still think that their food comes from plastic packages in supermarkets.

    They certainly do need some practical education on land management and food production. Maybe and only maybe after being in possession of such skills they could then tell others how to proceed. Until they achieve some skills they must not be surprised when they encounter such ridicule from other stakeholders.

    Deborah Mallender
    BA Hons International Relations, MA Research Methods,PGCE Business Education, LANTRA (Land & Stock Management), CPE Law (pt Qual)

    1. @Deborah

      Posts are open for comment for over one month. As of today, for example, you can comment on any of the posts on this blog going back to 3rd December 2011.

      Regarding your point justifying subsidies to support industries deemed necessary for a country’s economic well-being, the point about subsidies is that they are not costless. They have to be paid for by somebody. Subsidies to one industry thus imply higher taxes on other sectors, destroying jobs in these other industries. They also may destroy jobs in other countries, and if these other countries retaliate by introducing their own subsidies (as was the case with agricultural subsidies, for example) then further jobs will be lost. Because subsidies have a cost, it is very important to make sure that they do produce something of value to justify this cost. Economists have shown that, in general, targeted subsidies are likely to be more effective than blanket subsidies, although this depends on the transactions costs of providing targeted subsidies. Thus, the comparative advantage of our profession is to raise questions such as: what is the subsidy intended to achieve? is it needed? is it effective? if needed, could support be provided in a more cost effective way? The posts on this blog make clear that, in many cases, subsidies paid under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy do not meet these criteria.

  2. Hello

    Unfortunately your general limited industrial experience fails to notice that it would be very costly to proceed in such a way as you describe. Just one example of this is the overheads each state has through its own legislation. Overheads which are not only peculiar to that state but changes from business to business. It is this grass roots level that is missed by those who use banks of statistics. Banks of statistics often used or is it misused by certain individuals professing knowledge of economics. We would never for example assume that the average wage in Britain was the figure stated, reasoning being that huge executive bonuses inflate that figure. Such statements of average would cause any country to steer off course economically, as indeed it has.

    However coming to subsidies from the public purse again. What is the current subsidy of the university sector? What is the current value of projects and programmes funded by the EU in the University sector and particularly in economics departments?

    Can we see the data on this and extrapolate the benefit of each programme or project. This indeed may be an appropriate starting point for you, instead of firing toxic bullets at an industry which has a clear social benefit each and every day to every taxpayer.

    Do we see farmers doing the arrogant negative behaviour seen by certain ‘economics’ professionals (not all may I add) or are they too busy being positive putting food on everyones table. Perhaps then it is time for the arrogant ‘economics professionals’ entirely reliant on the public purse to be challenged themselves. Are they worth the public money spent on them? Why do we need the number we have acquired? What qualifications do they have in the industies they make comment on? What is this country’s deficit in grounded industrial knowledge?

    Perhaps it is these questions which are crucial to a country’s economic health and would certainly begin to appease the democratic deficit found in the current closed atmosphere of a university office.

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