Drawbacks of our Capitalist Food System

Capitalism has a large and lasting effect in the organization our food system, negative outcomes in health and sustainability have arisen due to the role of subsidies on the production of certain foods. Robert Albritton described the changes  kicked off by subsidies organized in the early 70’s that were given to large farms which produced high yields. These firms got the upper hand and began to outcompete their smaller competitors, the system evolved with new technology and became the monocultures expanses and feeding yards that exist today. The huge farms are capital intensive and in need of petroleum based fertilizers in order to maintain production. The process of large scale farming seems unsustainable yet subsidies continue to prop up the industry. While feed yards concentrate pollution from the meat production industry into small areas creating a range of problems associated with large amounts of feces. while striving for efficiency in the industry of meat production capitalistic tendencies created environmental injustice.

The subsidies have created large scale production of sugar, meat, and corn  and firms take advantage of there large supplies by keeping low prices on these foods and controlling the food market. This has huge implications on what we as consumers choose to eat, our capitalist mind set gives most Americans the inclination to buy the cheapest goods and the goods that will most satisfy our hunger and most end up turning to fast food or junk foods that are cheap. Unfortunately they are full of trans fats, sodium, sugar and gluten consuming excessive amounts of anything can become harmful, when its sugar and trans fat that are abused diabetes and obesity are results.  An unhealthy mix of junk food and fast food may fulfill a persons calorie  requirement but doesn’t nearly fulfill ones nutrient requirement. Unfortunately the capitalism in our food system gave rise to junk food is connected to the high rate of obesity and diabetes in America. Soda and fast foods are marketed at a largely child audience, Albritton points out that firms stand to make the largest  profits off food that has been subsidized because it is cheap, high in calories and also allows more room for  marketing and branding in a budget.  Due to the fact subsidies were given to sugar, corn and meat in the context the capitalist economy  the food system migrated to supply subsidized foods and market them to consumers.  Who in turn, began to buy fast foods and junk foods because not only did they fill our stomachs but because it seemed the cheapest option. Diet is crucial when considering the factors of ones health and an unbalanced diet where sugar and fats are consumed to much, results in a degrading  health and the rise of the number on our scales. Their are so many social and environmental drawbacks associated with the subsidies and the climate they create with in the food system that it worth considering whether or not the profits are worth the cost to health care and the environment are worth it.