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February, 2010

Ethical Paralysis

The state of ethical paralysis caused by conflicting food books.
I quite liked the following description of the state we're all left in by the glut of food books on the market at the moment (from an otherwise unremarkable Lunch with the FT with Jonathan Safran Foer):
I suggest that the effect of all these books could be to provoke a kind of ethical paralysis. A couple of years ago writers such as Barbara Kingsolver, Alisa Smith and JB MacKinnon argued for local food because of the ecological cost of transportation - which made sense to me until I read Professor James McWilliams' Just Food (2009), which argues cogently against this locavore approach. Pollan has praised producers such as Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, known for its sustainable farming methods; Foer interviews another farmer, who thinks Polyface is "horrible" because it produces "industrial" rather than "vintage" birds. One side gives us permission to eat something; another denies it, so we end up walking out of the supermarket with no food.
I know it's not new, but it's nicely described and ethical paralysis is a good name for the situation.
February 27, 2010
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