After posting my comments about Minnesota State Senator Doug Magnus‘s proposed legislation to outlaw filming farming operations without permission, I thought it might be useful to watch again Food, Inc, a documentary about the food industry in the United States. I am happy I did and I strongly encourage others, especially anyone who has not yet seen that film, to watch it, too.
The film covers more than the current status of corporate food production in the United States. The subject serves as an excellent model showing what is wrong with corporate economic and political influence in the United States today.
There’s even a nice little jab at Clarence Thomas who now sits mutely on our country’s Supreme Court earning a tax payer-subsidized public sector job for life serving commercial interests over the interests of the people…
But there are more important people featured in this film, people whose lives are changed and damaged because they do not have the economic means to fight corporate bullying. Unfortunately they do not have the support they need from their government, either.
(cf. Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion that favored corporate seed interests by defending plant and seed patents in a way that has been successfully used by companies like Monsanto to place a burden on farmers to prove that they did not violate a patent when patented plants naturally cross-breed with non-patented plants. Got that? Thomas was once a lawyer for Monsanto.)
We see real examples of corporations abusing the laws, such as the seed and plant patent ruling, to intimidate and out-lawyer non-complying outliers and essentially get them to comply or go out of business.
In fact there are several examples of law protecting corporate interests over individual. Want to know what is happening to family farm? Part of the answer is here.
We also see the real tragedy of illegal workers in the United States. They are fine as long as they produce profits, doing work that most Americans will not do and in the process helping sustain an affordable high standard of living here, but expendable in symbolic raids meant to show that hypocritical corporations mean business when it comes to cracking down on illegal workers. The workers get punished, the execs who seek and recruit them do not.
Overall the film serves as a sort of allegory for what is not working in the consolidation of power, especially corporate power and its political influence, in this country. It also gives you an eye-opening look at where most of your food comes from.
Of course there are two sides to every story. There even is a side of the debate offered that shows how doing business with Wal-Mart might be good for the organic food movement. Perhaps in a way it is. Take a look. Overall, however, this film effectively covers the troubling signs of how sheer size and consolidation has changed our food supply change in unsavory ways.
You might not agree with everything, but it doesn’t hurt to think. Highly recommended.