the politics of sugar
Hello fellow beekeeping enthusiasts (I presume),
I haven't been on this forum in a few months, but I thought I'd revisit to initiate a small dialogue on the current U.S. regulation of sugar prices and its subsequent affect on us who tend the honeybees. I've been a beekeeper for only two years or so, not very long, but I have noticed how important sugar can be to beekeepers, hobbyists and commercial beekeepers alike. Yes, there are a million theories out there, and some think sugar is not good to feed the bees; give them their honey. I'm not writing for that group of people.
If this topic has already been discussed, I would not be surprised, but I'd like to at least share my experience.
I'm a senior at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. I'm majoring in political science. In my class entitled US National Security, my professor (who grew up in Michigan) began talking about sugar beets (some of which are grown and processed in Michigan) and how big business relates to national security. My ears really perked up when he showed us the graph comparing US sugar prices compared to the world average. Apparently, the sugar industry in the US has artifically floated the price of sugar many times over the global price. I may be able to provide the chart later on.
My professor explained that the sugar companies have political security which keeps the prices so incredibly high. The theory goes, it is extremely difficult to get a 10 million people mobilized over a .25 cents per pound of sugar or what have you. But ten people will get mobilized over a million dollars. This is basically what the sugar company has done. They know people won't throw a fit over the price exaggeration, so they raise the price well beyond its actual value.
A dollar here or there doesn't matter much to the average US citizen. For a beekeeper however, who is buying sugar in bulk, the price can begin to really make a dent. The way to address the problem is to enact legislation that would bring the price of sugar back down to its actual value. Of course there enters semantics on what "value" means, but that's beside the point. I don't want to get into a battle with the sugar industry either, but I do think the sugar industry should at least give a break to beekeepers.
Do any of you have any thoughts regarding this matter?