Tom Philpott wonders whether America's cheap food is a product of its extreme economic inequality:
To me, cheap food underpins our highly inequitable income system. If we're going to have a large low-income class, a perpetually squeezed middle class, and a small caste of super-rich, then a cheap food system plays a vital role in keeping those at the bottom fed -- if under-nourished.
Wilkinson and Pickett's inequality work has provided me with a new way of looking at food-system reform. It may be that that a food system predicated on slashing costs -- at the expense of the environment, workers, animals, and public health -- is a symptom of a broader problem: an economic system that concentrates power and income at the top. It may well be that we can't really reform the food system until we reform the economy. That's an idea I'll be mulling and teasing out in the new year.