Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 125

ON POLITICAL BOOKS Made from Concentrate Four companies decide what meat you eat, two choose what milk you buy, and soon only one will determine what beer you drink. Are we all fine with that? By Leah Douglas I Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? by Philip H. Howard Bloomsbury Academic, 216 pp. n the age of farm-to-table restaurants and the mainstreaming of organic foods, transparency has become an increasingly valuable commodity in food production. Nearly every day, more companies are committing to sourcing cage-free eggs, labeling genetically modified ingredients, and reducing antibiotic use in livestock production. One might take these changes as signs of a healthy, resilient food system. But in fact, these consumer-oriented nods to sustainability can reveal only so much about the opaque power structure that lurks behind the scenes of food production, distribution, and retail. With Concentration and Power in the Food System, Philip Howard, of Michigan State University, poses a simple question: Who controls what we eat? This question has animated Howard's decade's worth of research on the food system. Howard's work investigates the corporate power web that forms the food industry's structure, and helps us understand how and why we eat what we do. This slim book takes the reader through the history and importance of economic consolidation using a political economy lens. Howard seeks to demonstrate the negative effects of "fewer and fewer people [having] the power to make important decisions, such as what is produced, how it is produced, and who has access to these products." In Howard's analysis, a consolidated food landscape has negative effects on producers, consumers, and workers. Farmers have fewer and less-competitive markets in which to sell their hogs or corn. Shoppers consider thousands of goods at the grocery store, but many of them are produced by the same few food processors. And mega-retailers like Walmart set standards of low wages that are copied by competitors. The outcomes of these realities "tend to disproportionately affect the disadvantaged-such as women, young children, recent immigrants, members of minority ethnic groups, and those of lower socioeconomic status." By looking at the interactions between regulation and corporations, Howard is able to more fully understand the political context in which consolidation has flourished. Other commentators on the food system, such as Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, and Mark Bittman, have encouraged changes in consumer habits (such as "voting with your fork") or to public health policies (such as taxing sodas) to address supply chain issues. But Howard focuses on the specific effects that deregulation and growth of corporate power have had on the food system. With this book, he demonstrates that some of the greatest woes of our food industry-the decreasing number of farms, subsidies that primarily benefit large-scale producers, lowering of farm income, poor access to healthy food in some regions-can be traced to lower enforcement of antitrust policy and the unchecked influence of corporations. Howard briefly discusses how, in prior decades, the U.S. more strongly monitored corporate power. Populist and progressive political movements effected antitrust regulaWashington Monthly 125

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2016

Contents
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 1
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 2
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 3
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 4
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 5
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 6
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 7
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 8
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Contents
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 10
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 11
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 12
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 13
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 14
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 15
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 16
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 17
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 18
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 19
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 20
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 21
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 22
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 23
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 24
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 25
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 26
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 27
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 28
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 29
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 30
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 31
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 32
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 33
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 34
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 35
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 36
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 37
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 38
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 39
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 40
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 41
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 42
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 43
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 44
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 45
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 46
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 47
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 48
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 49
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 50
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 51
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 52
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 53
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 54
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 55
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 56
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 57
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 58
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 59
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 60
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 61
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 62
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 63
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 64
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 65
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 66
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 67
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 68
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 69
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 70
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 71
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 72
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 73
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 74
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 75
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 76
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 77
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 78
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 79
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 80
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 81
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 82
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 83
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 84
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 85
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 86
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 87
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 88
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 89
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 90
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 91
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 92
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 93
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 94
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 95
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 96
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 97
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 98
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 99
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 100
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 101
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 102
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 103
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 104
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 105
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 106
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 107
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 108
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 109
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 110
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 111
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 112
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 113
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 114
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 115
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 116
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 117
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 118
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 119
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 120
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 121
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 122
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 123
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 124
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 125
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 126
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 127
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 128
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover3
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20190910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20180910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20160910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20150910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20140910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20120910
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com