This is a new column by conservationist George Wuerthner. His argument is the classic economic explanation that the price of food does not reflect the full costs of production, because negative side-effects, called “externalities” by economists, are passed onto unwilling by-standers and the degredation of the natural environment.

As a result of the failure to pay for the negative externalities, “cheap food” is really pretty expensive.

America Is Paying A Steep Price For Cheap Food. Column in New West. By George Wuerthner.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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February 2007


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey