Religion has nothing to do with this, but I can’t help but ask myself, are we playing God? There is a natural order to the world. There are patterns and cycles that have been in motion since long before agrarian societies were established and animals were domesticated. There is also something called capitalism and profit and these (for some) are just as important in the natural order of the world. Populations have expanded greatly and this has become an age when everything that a person could want can be brought to their doorstep, yesterday. Everything is fast and what the consumers want they get, but at what price?
I have always believed that when it comes to large corporations, it’s all about making money. Some corporations may be ruthless in their tactics to achieve this goal while others may be more ethical. However, for agribusiness and especially for the business of growing corn, it seems to be a delicate and overwhelming situation. Corn has been modified to withstand pests, disease, and other factors detrimental to producing a high yield. Corn is cheap and can be found in everything from sweeteners to plastics, meats, and even our fuel. Corn is king in America, as the aptly named film King Corn explains.
It would seem that this high production of commodity corn would be beneficial because it results in cheap food, which means Americans across the country have a well stocked pantry — a chicken in every pot, so to speak. Easy, cheap production of corn may also be an opportunity for us to help other countries. China and India are rising fast on a global level and they have to support their populations in whatever way necessary. But if corn seems to be the answer and it is in everything, then why do we have these issues that are connected to corn production such as health problems and pollution?
I return to the idea of the total costs of how we treat corn, from growing it to processing it for its many uses. The world is always changing, but all of it isn’t for the better. Companies use corn because it’s cheap, but farmers (big and small) are struggling to grow a crop that doesn’t benefit them in the long run. Small farmers are disappearing and health issues due to obesity are becoming the norm. We as human beings are omnivores, but our bodies can only take so much of something. Like corn is fed to cattle to fatten them up faster, the same is happening to us. All of these issues are in some way linked. Agribusiness can only make so much money, and the costs may be much more monumental.
Finding a solution to these issues means dealing with multiple factors. America has the idea that cheap food is more cost-effective. Companies want to keep their costs low as possible while making a high profit. From government to corporation to farmer, the parts of the cycle are all connected. Changing the way people think is a lot easier said then done. I believe that the people high up should find out what their priority really is, but in any revolution, the people, not the government, are usually the catalysts. Long-term thinking is necessary right now because no amount of corn will help us in the future.