Should we fear?
By Amy Willis
Should we fear the influence of technology on our food supply? If not, can we still celebrate the role of technology while still eating unpalatable test-tube burgers? In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts chats with agricultural economist Jayson Lusk about his newest book, Unnaturally Delicious: How Science and Technology are Serving Up Superfoods to Save the World.
We all eat, and we all think about what we eat…So let’s hear your thoughts. What drives your decisions about what to eat? What do you worry about when you think about the food you consume? Use the prompts below…or pose your own questions…And let’s keep the conversation going offline!
1. What foods do you not eat, and why? Are your reasons based on morality? Religion? Concern for the environment? Health and wellness? 2. In their discussion of the use of fertilizer, as in other places, Lusk acknowledges that there are some problems…But rather than regulate or outlaw their use, his approach, he says, is to ask, “How can we cut back in a responsible way?” What criteria does he use to adjudicate what is “responsible,” and to what extent are you persuaded by his approach?
3. Roberts points to Nassim Taleb as an exemplar of a sort of intermediary position on the relationship between food and technology (and GMOs in particular.) Revisit this past episode with Taleb. How does he use the precautionary principle to justify his own opposition to GMOs. How palatable do you think Lusk’s approach would be to Taleb, and why?
4. What should be the primary concern of people in regard to their food supply? Food safety? The potential for environmental degradation? Taste and flavor? Efficiency (caloric, agricultural, or otherwise)? Something else? Explain.