Wednesday, January 13, 2010


(click on images to enlarge)

The article begins:

Why, one may wonder, is the Department of Justice launching an antitrust investigation against some of U.S. food system's major players at a time when Americans are enjoying a widening array of food choices and spending less and less of their disposable income to do so?

The article has all the depth of a mirror - merely reflecting another person's thoughts. The argument is simple, everyone is getting cheap food. However, there is cause for concern about the powerful, even if the food is nearly free.

But, as an academic, the writer fails intellectually. Food may appear to be cheap but, that is only so when you look at the average income. People do not generally receive average income (see above table by Saez).

Food at retail is rising virtually at the same rate as everything. If your income is at the top 1% level life is good. For most workers, including farmers, life continues to be a struggle.

I would worry if I had a child receiving part of an education from Sykuta.

Michael Sykuta is an associate professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri at Columbia and director of the Contracting and Organizations Research Institute. Readers may write to him at University of Missouri, 135 Mumford Hall, Columbia, Mo. 65211-6200 or e-mail him at sykutam@missouri,edu.


  1. My thinking is that this guy was hired by the big dogs being investigated in the antitrust case. By putting out possible defense stategies and "testing the water" to see what kind of arguments they get back, the attorneys for the big dogs can better prepare a defense.

    If the response opens up new dialogue which disproves their theory (defense argument), then the attorneys must go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategy.

  2. I would encourage everyone to read Sykuta's article. It is easy to understand how little the "thinkers" understand the plight of the farmer. Plundering is acceptable as long as the wealthy get cheap food. Did anyone note the reference to fear of enforcement being responsible for slowing ag research and holding back technology. I guess it never crossed his mind that if we have no more farmers research is useless and that unless we receive fair compensation for our products, we can't afford any new technology. If we had enforcement, we wouldn't be in such bad shape.