By Roger E. Meiners
This booklet pulls again the wrappings that cloak U.S. agriculture and explains how and why politics has affected the normal stewardship position performed by way of agriculture.
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Extra resources for Agricultural Policy and the Environment
This Page Intentionally Left Blank Agricultural Commons Problems and Responses: Sick Hogs at the Trough Roger E. Meiners and Andrew P. Morriss Over the centuries, as humans struggle to raise cattle and other domesticated animals, the spread of disease among livestock has been a major threat. Consider the following instances-spread out over many years and in different places-that illustrate the problem. Bison leaving Yellowstone National Park in search of food in the winter of 199697 are discovered to be carrying brucellosis, a deadly disease that also exists in cattle.
Separation of powers). Second, governments must be monitored to ensure that they restrict their actions to public purposes-in other words, that they are not captured by special interests. Because the prize of cheap coercion control is so attractive, special interests will invest in gaining that prize. Third, once the machinery of government is in place, a special interest-the bureaucracy-is born that will lobby for continuation of programs beyond their useful life. All these costs, moreover, are not borne wholly by those initiating government action.
The practicality of such spraying is coupled with the need to reduce the problem of free riding. That is, some farmers might choose not to spray as long as their neighbors spray, so the nonsprayers may get most of the benefits of the spray without bearing the costs. Similarly, foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, in which the spread is quite rapid, or mad cow disease, in which the consequences to innocent purchasers of the product are severe, are also areas in which public action is presumed to be necessary to avoid catastrophic losses.
Agricultural Policy and the Environment by Roger E. Meiners