1st November, 2002
In the second part of our adaptation of Fatal Harvest’s iconoclastic analysis of agribusiness propaganda, The Ecologist reveals the real cost of industrial food.
--Myth number 2: Industrial food is cheap--
Politicians, business leaders and the media continue to reassure US consumers that their food is the cheapest in the world. They repeat their mantra that the more that chemicals and technology are applied to agriculture, the more food will be produced and the lower the price will be for the consumer.
This myth of cheap food is routinely used by agribusiness as a kind of economic blackmail against any who point out the devastating impacts of modern food production. Get rid of the industrial system, people are told, and they won’t be able to afford food. Using this ‘big lie’, the industry has even succeeded in portraying supporters of organic food production as wealthy elitists who don’t care about how much the poor will have to pay for food.
Under closer analysis, the US’s supposedly cheap food supply becomes monumentally expensive. The myth of cheapness completely ignores the staggering externalised costs of the food, costs that do not appear on supermarket checkout receipts. Conventional analyses of the cost of food completely ignore the exponentially increasing social and environmental costs customers are...
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