29 April 2012
Bullying and it’s relation to the tactics of the Food Industry
Bullying, as we know it in society today, directly correlates to the Food Industry’s business strategy and special agenda; these tactics that they use tend to have detrimental effects on certain aspects within the Food Industry and Agribusiness alike. This all begins with the economic policy which is motivated by their interest in only profit and lack of concern for any other factors. The other factors include the farmers and workers in the Food Industry and Agriculture business plus the mistreatment and abuse of animals which leads to the adverse effects on the environment. Last but not least are the consumers as a world population who are ultimately affected through this trickle-down effect. Now, bullying is someone or a group of people who coerce, terrorize, tyrannize or habitually intimidate smaller or weaker people (Dictionary.com). The basic principle for their motivation to treat others this way is their thirst for power and taking advantage of those who simply cannot defend themselves. This demeanor is reflected in the way that they carry out their business. For example, much of the world today suffers from hunger, yet the leaders who control the corn, rice, wheat or potato market remain million and billionaires. Try and picture this, a bully in school running around the cafeteria taking everybody’s lunch money and food right off their plates. While he sits back on the swing nice and stuffed and happy and rich, all the others are hurt, poor and scrounging for food and despite their large numbers they have trouble standing up to this one or even a group of bullies. The few or the boy is big business and the many or all the other school children are the farmers, the environment, the animals and the world population who suffer through this inhumane treatment.
Amongst all of the policies that the food industry employs, there is only one that lays at heart of their business strategy and how it affects those who work and produce food for the company. Frances Moore Lappe calls this ‘one-rule economics’. She defines this as “Economic decisions driven by the highest return to existing wealth (shareholders, corporate chiefs). Wealth and power is then concentrated to serve the best interests of the Agribusinesses and Food Industry’ (Lappe 115). This all sounds unfair but what are they doing to cause issues to the farmers and how does this policy come to affect the aforementioned issues? These farmers are having trouble competing in the world food market, and even more so in the poorer nations. The larger businesses that own the seed stock, pesticides, fertilizers and other farming machinery have very high costs so many farmers are unable to afford these supplies. So for the poorer nations, when these farmers cannot produce the food they need for themselves, they begin to rely on importing from other countries to feed the country. Even in the countries that are economically more stable, farmers must work harder to meet the demanding prices. ‘When the price of corn dropped in half between 1980 and 2001, farmers had to produce even more to keep up with consumption’(Lappe 117). So, to continue their standard of living and feed their country or community they have to produce double just to continue to supply the demand at the growing rate. Now how is this bullying? These larger companies that the farmers work for literally squeeze them to a point where they have to submit because this is how they make their living and have no choice but to pay their high rates for supplies and work long hours to produce the food.
The meat and dairy industry can also be considered bullies for the way that they carry out their business, specifically the abuse and mistreatment of animals. Men and women who go to the grocery store to buy their milk and eggs and beef are often very uninformed about the process that happened...