Food, Inc. is one means by which the American food economic system is analyzed. This documentary film shows how American food economic system follows the idea of capitalism and how it affects the food industry. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. A free market economy is based on supply and demand with little or no government control. In Food, Inc. it shows a high number of supplies because of the increase in demand. It also shows how the government itself should enforce certain laws to regulate American food system. Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council says in the film, “In a way, we’re not producing chickens, we’re producing food. ” Lobb’s statement is in fact very true. Chicken producers are no longer producing chicken but are producing food for the Americans. Because of the high demand in chicken’s white meat, chickens are being raised differently. Chickens are now bigger in size and heavier in weight than it was ten years ago.
Since there is a change in how much food the chicken can produce, there has also been a price change in recent years. This is an example of Alfred Marshall’s economic theory. Marshall popularized the use of supply and demand functions as tools of price determination. In Food, Inc. , union organizer Eduardo Pena says, “We want to pay the cheapest price for our food. We don’t understand that it comes at a price. ” A family who never has time to cook was interviewed in this film. Because they leave their house at 6 in the morning and return 10 at night, they would just go to fast food restaurants and buy most of their meals from there.
However, on weekends when they go to the supermarket, they compare the price of the healthy foods and think to themselves “we can get two or more hamburgers with this price”. This shows that people are buying and consuming more unhealthy products because its price is a lot cheaper than healthy products at the supermarket. Government should restructure supermarkets so that junk food and less healthy products aren’t a lot less cheap than the healthy products. This way, more people would want to buy the cheaper item, which would be a healthy food, rather than consuming more expensive item, which would be the unhealthy food.
John Stuart Mill’s “greatest-happiness principle” holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This is why fast foods are a lot cheaper than healthy foods. Majority of Americans are always busy and have no time to cook. Therefore, they would choose the easiest way they can access food at a short amount of time. Majority of Americans also want to save money. Therefore, in order to keep their pockets happy, they’d buy the less expensive food to consume. Food, Inc. is a documentary film that examines the industrial production of meat and how it is economically unsustainable.
Capitalism affects the food industry discussed in Food, Inc. by altering supplies and demand of meat products and prices of healthy and unhealthy food. This film generates extensive controversy and was heavily criticized by large American corporations engaged in industrial food production. Food, Inc. educates viewers and shows them the secrets behind meat and vegetable productions as well as the hidden costs and reasons on how and why all this is happening. Food, Inc. answers many people’s questions and presents them in an effective and influential way.