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Agricultural subsidies? In the 19th Century? – #1443

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This is going to be another one of those research projects. I just know it…

The easy bit: “Reul“. A narrow passage between buildings, with its origin in the Latin “rivulus”. Worked that out with Frau Prof Doc a couple of years back.

But “Butterberg” has me stumped.

This is a narrow passage between buildings (tick..) in Gonsenheim and the only geographical or historical reference I can find is to hills and mountains of the same name in northern and eastern Germany. This alleyway slopes gently down towards the Gonsbachtal, but it’s neither high nor steep enough to qualify.

The only “Butterberg” that rings a bell is the demonstrated failure of the EU Common Agricultural Policy from the 1950s through to the 1980s when farmers were incented to grow and produce as much as they could (which resulted in falling prices…duh…) and created massive overproduction that the EU bought up and stored.

With my tax money.

At its peak, they had 1.3 million tons stored away (the “Butterberg” – butter mountain) before they introduced milk quotas and got rid of the rancid stuff on the poor folk in the USSR.

And don’t get me started on the “milk sea” or the “wine lake”.

Of course, you can’t discuss this with one of the local farmers. Nice lad, but he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer at the best of times and when he launches into his “ifitwasn’tformeyou’dallbestarving” foaming-at-the-mouth-rant, I want to break out the straitjacket.

He tends to forget that he gets €40k a year JUST FOR BEING A FARMER (the EU required the Ministry of Ag to put it all online – was he ever p$%#ed off…) and he gets to profit from booming commodity prices, so his losses are socialised and his profits are privatised.

Which p$%#es me off.

Not that I eat sugar beets and my bread consumption is maybe half a loaf a week

Now barley’s a different matter….

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This entry was published on 6 September, 2011 at 08:00. It’s filed under History, Mainz and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Agricultural subsidies? In the 19th Century? – #1443

  1. Did you know… that in Oppenheim they have even smaller Reuls called “Reulchen”!?

  2. You also have a Butterberg closer to home in Spiesen – maybe their puzzle also awaits your solution?

    I might share a dislike of subsidies, but not a belief in the invisible hand of the markets.

  3. I fully agree – subsidies distort markets real bad. Local farmers haven’t got enough words to say how angry they are with EU’s PAC (politique agricole commune). They do benefit from it more than they care to say. but I agree with them on one point, it must be bloody frustrating to see your life ruled by white collars in Brussels who have never been on a tractor in their lives and who one year tell you to plant peach trees and pay you for it and three years later tell you to uproot them and again for it. Even if you get paid good money it can’t make for a happy life.

    Having said that, what else can butterberg mean?

  4. jb,, Would you please tell me how your REALLY feel about farm subsidies?! I like the idea of your new research project; keeps you busy and out of trouble.

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