Graduation Year

2021

Date of Submission

11-2020

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy

Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2020 Will J Carter

Abstract

How food is produced has dramatic consequences on how we live, our world’s justice, and the future of our planet. In a world increasingly driven by neoliberalism, agricultural markets have been incentivized to industrialize, globalize, and consolidate. This has resulted in the global dominance of a new type of agriculture, industrial agriculture, driven by the market logic of lowering costs and raising profits. Industrial agriculture has undoubtedly generated the profound benefit of cheaper, more plentiful food in much of the world. These favorable innovations lead many scholars to argue that free markets produce the most just and efficient arrangements for agriculture. Yet, critics of industrial agriculture point to the harmful societal and environmental effects of industrial agriculture as evidence of grave injustice. Both groups feel strongly about their positions and warn of apocalyptic effects if the ideals of the other group are adopted by the agriculture industry or regulative bodies.

In this thesis, I assess the strength of the major arguments given by both parties. I use a combination of philosophical reasoning, empirical data, and the realities of industrial agriculture to evaluate these differing standards of justice. After analyzing these arguments, I sketch my own conception of agricultural justice. Ultimately, my standards of justice seek to reconcile efficiency with fairness. In today’s world, participation in agricultural markets is obligatory. The justice of these markets influences the justice of every human life. Therefore, it is pertinent that agricultural justice is assessed with the strictest scrutiny. The following thesis is that scrutiny.

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