You’ve probably heard lots of the reasons to dislike factory farms. They’re huge, unwieldy and spew pollution. They use tons of pesticides and quickly deplete the soil. Not to mention that the seeds coming out of genetic research companies like Monsanto reduce genetic diversity and leave us painfully vulnerable to food shortages.
But in his new, mind bending book, An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies, Tyler Cowen has an alternate way to look at things. Fitting nicely into our era of rogue economists finding provacative ways to explore boring issues, Cowen, an economist and professor at George Mason University, has a compelling counter view. To wit, from our friends at GOOD Magazine:
But Cowen also defends agribusiness on environmental grounds: its efficiency has kept more land free of agricultural development, he argues, and makes feeding cities possible. He thinks that countries where hunger is still a problem need to adopt similar systems, including GMO crops, and that, on balance, chemical fertilizers have both advantages and disadvantages.
“I think in trade-offs more than most foodies and non-economists,” he says. “Whether we like it or not, people want cheap food.”
What do YOU think?