Many issues in food and agriculture are portrayed as increasingly polarized. These include industrial vs. sustainable agriculture, conventional vs. organic production methods, and global vs. local food sourcing, to name only three. This book addresses the origins, validity, consequences, and potential resolution of these and other divergences.
Political and legal actions have resulted in significant monetary and psycho-social costs for groups on both sides of these divides. Rhetoric on many issues has caused misinformation and confusion among consumers, who are unsure about the impact of their food choices on nutrition, health, the environment, animal welfare, and hunger. In some cases distrust has intensified to embitterment on both sides of many issues, and even to violence. The book uses economic principles to help readers better understand the divisiveness that prevails in the agricultural production, food processing and food retailing industries.
The authors propose solutions to promote resolution and depolarization between advocates with seemingly irreconcilable differences. A multifaceted, diverse, but targeted approach to food production and consumption is suggested to promote social well-being, and reduce or eliminate misinformation, anxiety, transaction costs and hunger.
About the Author
Andrew Barkley is Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University, USA. Andrew teaches courses in the economics of agriculture and public policy. His research includes assessment of teaching and learning methods and the economic evaluation of the wheat industry.
Paul W. Barkley is Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural Economics, Washington State University and Adjunct Professor, Applied Economics Department at Oregon State University, USA. Paul has made major contributions to the fields of rural (community) development and environmental economics. He is a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Industrialization and De-Industrialization of Agriculture
2. A Concise History of Agriculture: The Advent of Polarization
3. Markets and Polarization
4. Food Markets and Polarization
5. Creative Destruction and the Cycle of Polarization
6. Industrial Agriculture and Economies of Scale
7. Externalities, Public Goods and Agricultural Subsidies
8. Product Bundling: Bringing Together Divergent Consumers
9. Trade, Globalization and Localism
10. Negotiating Resolution: Game Theory
11. The Future of Food Polarization