From a Professor in the Agricultural Economics Department at OSU Comes a New Book: "The Food Police"
On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Jayson Lusk, who holds the Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Agricultural Economics Department at Oklahoma State University. Lusk has a new book out called "The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate." Here are a few sentences from the book's opening pages: "A catastrophe is looming. Farmers are raping the land and torturing animals. Food is riddled with deadly pesticides, hormones, and foreign DNA. Corporate farms are wallowing in government subsidies. Meatpackers and fast-food restaurants are exploiting workers and tainting the food supply. And Paula Deen has diabetes. Something must be done. Or so you would believe if you listened to the hysterics of an emerging elite who claim to know better what we should eat. I call them the food police to be polite, but a more accurate term might be food fascists or food socialists. They are totalitarians when it comes to food, and they seek control over your refrigerator, by governmental regulation when they can or by moralizing and guilt when they can't. They play on fears and prejudices while claiming the high mantle of science and impartial journalism. And their dirty little secret is that they embrace an ideological agenda that seeks to control your dinner table and your wallet...." Sounds rather polemical, no? And yet Lusk has some interesting and worthwhile points to make about our food, our farms, our economy, and our environment --- and about the crossroads of all of the above. (And for the record, as we hear on today's program, Lusk maintains that he's got nothing against local foods per se --- "locally grown food tastes better, as everyone knows," he says --- he simply has a problem when governments try to force people into buying/eating/growing such foods....)