That being said, I can understand why some consumers and businessmen might be supportive of free trade. The prospect of cheaper food must be attractive to many Japanese consumers. But what about the family farmers? Are they worth fighting for? If the United States had a system similar to Japan's, perhaps freer trade might be warranted. But the U.S. is home to big agribusinesses that will likely use their state subsidies and other state-derived weapons to leverage economies of scale and scope against little producers like Atsushi Kono, our friend from Hokkaido mentioned in the article. Is this fair? Is it fair that the big players are allowed to use their state benefits to destroy their smaller rivals? Is it so wrong for the little fellows to ask for protection from the government when they face unfair competition?
Populists ought to emphasize how globalization and "free" trade are rigged in favor of the powerful. Call the corporations out on their hypocrisy. If Atsushi Kono must give up his help from the state, then Monsanto should do the same. Markets work best when they are composed of many different players, roughly equal in strength. The current system of globalization is fast enslaving the world to a handful of super corporations, with their government toadies helping pave the way. The only way forward is to reject the current free trade orthodoxy and insist on an economic system that puts people ahead of profits.