January 19th 2014 Post

In her article “Why Do We Overeat?” Margaret Mead identifies a seemingly transparent relation between a society’s quantity of food and its wealth. She writes, “Daily abundance of food is one of the main characteristics of our very affluent society” (Mead 2012:19). The line strikes the reader as obvious, yet the concept is still foreign. Generally, Americans tend to measure their opulence by his or her bank account, assets (like cars, homes, and boats), and even dress. But food is the heart of a society’s collective wealth because it is the most basic and desired asset available. Besides water and air–which are generally more obtainable–food is essential to survival. It seems that the luxuries listed before are all results of people having the resources to ensure daily food supply. Without mutton, there would be no Mercedes; which might prompt one to ask what would happen if American food supplies disappeared. Clearly, an epidemic like that wouldn’t happen overnight, but Americans ought to at least consider the ramifications. The relationship between our society’s flourishing and its supply of food is undeniable. Basically without the one (a daily supply of food), there is no other (society’s flourishing).

Food at a Market

-Tom Champion