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Unformatted text preview: Throughout the Cold War, America’s decentralized system of agriculture, relying upon millions of independent producers, was depicted as
the most productive system in the world, as proof of capitalism’s inherent superiority. The perennial crop failures in the Soviet Union were
attributed to a highly centralized system run by distant bureaucrats. Today the handful of agribusiness firms that dominate American food
production are championing another centralized system of production, one in which livestock and farmland are viewed purely as
commodities, farmers are reduced to the status of employees, and crop decisions are made by executives far away from the fields. Although
competition between the large processors has indeed led to lower costs for consumers, price fixing and collusion have devastated
independent ranchers and farmers. The antitrust laws outlawing such behavior need to be vigorously enforced. More than a century ago,
during the congressional debate on the Sherman Antitrust Act, Henry M. Teller, a Republican senator from Colorado, dismissed the argument
that lower consumer prices justified the ruthless exercise of monopoly power. “I do not believe,” Teller argued,...
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- Spring '08