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The Fallacy of 'Competition' in Agriculture

The Ethics and Economics of Agrifood Competition, Harvey S. James, Jr., ed., Springer, 2013

CORI Working Paper No. 2012-01

26 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2012 Last revised: 7 Apr 2013

Michael E. Sykuta

University of Missouri at Columbia - Contracting and Organizations Research Institute (CORI); University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Date Written: February 13, 2012

Abstract

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?

Keywords: competition, free and fair competition, ethics, agriculture

JEL Classification: D41, L11, Q10

Suggested Citation

Sykuta, Michael E., The Fallacy of 'Competition' in Agriculture (February 13, 2012). The Ethics and Economics of Agrifood Competition, Harvey S. James, Jr., ed., Springer, 2013; CORI Working Paper No. 2012-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2004578

Michael E. Sykuta (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Columbia - Contracting and Organizations Research Institute (CORI) ( email )

135 Mumford Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-1738 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cori.missouri.edu

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

135 Mumford Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

HOME PAGE: http://michaelsykuta.com

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