The Fallacy of 'Competition' in Agriculture
Michael E. Sykuta
University of Missouri at Columbia - Contracting and Organizations Research Institute (CORI); University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences
February 13, 2012
The Ethics and Economics of Agrifood Competition, Harvey S. James, Jr., ed., Springer, 2013
CORI Working Paper No. 2012-01
Agriculture has long been viewed by economists as the best example of an industry characterized by perfect competition. However, the history of modern agriculture is marked with differences about just how competitive the industry is and whether competition is in fact a desirable thing. Present debates about competition in agriculture rally discontent with the competitive environment around the mantra of “free and fair competition.” But this populist ideal presents problems of its own. First, what is the economic meaning of “free and fair” competition? Second, how does the argument about the need for free and fair competition meet with the facts of how the agricultural industry behaves? And finally, what are the ethical implications of arguments for government intervention in the agricultural economy?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: competition, free and fair competition, ethics, agriculture
JEL Classification: D41, L11, Q10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 14, 2012 ; Last revised: April 7, 2013
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