Sunday, June 23, 2013

We Need Full Liberation, not Full Control, of the Food Industry

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of an anti-capitalist outfit called Food and Water Watch and author of "Foodopoly," seeks centralized government control over the food industry in the name of "fighting monopoly." She writes:

We, the people, must reclaim our democracy. We must reestablish strong antitrust laws to begin the work of fixing our broken, corporate-controlled food system. Our food system should work for consumers and farmers, not big agricultural, processing, retail, and chemical conglomerates.

It's obvious Hauter has no idea what a monopoly is or how markets work--about the relationship between producers and consumers--and evades the crucial distinction between political and economic power.

A monopoly can only be created and sustained by government force, because only a government can legally bar competition. The food industry is not monopolized. It will be if the government takes full control.

Political power is the power of physical force. Economic power is the power of production. When Hauter says her organization "tries to fight back against the corporate control of our food system," she attacks the inalienable rights to freedom of production and trade, and calls instead for government control. She apparently forgot about the hunger and food shortages that plagued Soviet Russia despite vastly greater quantities of fertile farmland than we have in America. What does Ms. Hauter mean by "fight back against the corporate control of our food system?" She means to replace the "market power" of productive individuals working cooperatively, which derives from the voluntary choices of consumers, with political power, which is government force derived from a gun.

When Hauter proclaims "We, the people, must reclaim our democracy," she means the government must take control away from actual individuals. She wants to replace market democracy with political democracy. It must be remembered that political democracy is a form of tyranny; essentially a system of rotating elected dictators. Market democracy is true freedom, because it involves consumers "voting" with their wallets; which is the way in which consumer choice determines the success or failure, and the size, of companies. The food "giants" Hauter so fears are granted their size by consumers.

The heroic, incredibly productive companies that Hauter wants to assault--the companies that provide us with an abundance of cheap, wide varieties of quality foods--lobby the government because of the government's regulatory control over their industry. Of course the productive people who own and manage these companies want to influence the government: The politicians and bureaucrats have the power to write "food policy." But silencing free speech is not the answer. Want to end the industry lobbying without trashing the First Amendment? Do it right: Liberate the industry and the market from the unjust, tyrannical antitrust laws and the government's power to regulate and control.

The interests of food producers and consumers do not conflict. The interests both producers and consumers conflict with those who want to violate their rights to freedom of production and trade, not to mention First Amendment rights--with government as the hired gun.

The "very economic system" Hauter mentions is not a free economy. We have a mixed economy of government controls and increasingly limited freedom. Do we want to create a food crisis similar to the increasingly frequent economic crises that government control over money and banking already causes?

Hauter, obsessed over size and "consolidation," imagines a "broken food system" to advance a statist agenda. Do we want a food crisis similar to the "increasingly frequent economic crises" that government control over money and banking already causes? If Hauter can do better, then let her produce and market food and show us how it's done. That's the moral workings of a free market. But, she should stay the hell out of our food pantry. We, the people, as individuals--not government bureaucrats and not her--have the right to decide what food to buy and from whom.

Related Reading:

The First Amendment vs. Antitrust

The Abolition of Antitrust by Gary Hull

A Brief History of U.S. Farm Policy and the Need for Free Market Agriculture by Monica Hughes

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