Economics of Happiness In Food and Farming[1]

John Ikerd[2]

The twentieth century was the American Century – as is commonly conceded by historians. During the twentieth century, the United States replaced Great Britain as the dominant global economic power, and America’s corporate version of capitalism replaced socialism and competitive capitalism as the world’s dominant economic model. The U.S. came from behind to beat the Soviet Union to the moon and take leadership in space. The U.S. came from behind to pull ahead of Japan in electronics and communications technologies. And, America replaced the whole of Europe as the single dominant global military power.

The American Century was a time during which economics gained precedence over all else – including politics, society, and culture. America struggled economically, along with the rest of the world, during much of the first half of the century. But, America built the foundation for its modern industrial economy during World War II, used its post-war economy to help rebuild Europe and Japan, and afterward, never looked back. Research and development supported by economic growth allowed America to take world leadership in space and electronics. And, economic growth made possible the most powerful and dominant military force ever assembled in the history of humanity. America’s desire for maximum economic growth provided the motive for its corporatist economy, which eventually became the model for much of the rest of the world.

But, as we enter a new century, there are growing questions concerning the sustainability of the American economic engine of growth. Growing evidence of air and water pollution during the 1960s raised questions concerning the inherent negative environmental impacts of the industrial paradigm of economic development. The energy crisis of the 1970s raised concerns about the extractive nature of the “free market” economy, and its inherent reliance on limited supplies of non-renewable resources. The emergence of an economics of narrow, individual self-interest during the 1980s raised concerns about the growing economic gap between the “haves and have-nots.” And, when the “economic bubble” of the 1990s burst at the turn of the century, many more people began to question whether America’s economic growth is sustainable.

Until recently, the environment has been the focus of primary concern for sustainability. Relentless economic growth was depleting non-renewable resources and polluting the natural environment. Today, there are growing questions of social and cultural sustainability. Concerns are not limited to the exporting of American jobs to other countries. There is growing evidence that our relentless pursuit of economic prosperity is separating people within families, communities, and society as a whole and is destroying the social fabric of our country.

In our quest for global economic supremacy, the United States has become a splintered nation of disconnected people. Consequently, we live in an increasingly unhealthy society. The health of any society is reflected in the quality of relationships among its people – within families, communities, and society in general. During the latter half of the twentieth century, as American society has become increasingly disconnected, our relationships have become increasingly unhealthy and dysfunctional, and there is growing evidence that we live in an unsustainable society.

We Americans, in general, spend so much time and energy pursuing success that we have very little time left for other people, or even for ourselves. Those of us who succeed in achieving wealth or recognition from our peers, often sacrifice family, friends, and other personal relationships in the process of achieving. We focus so intently on the economic bottom line that we lose sight of the line that separates caring from carelessness and right from wrong. We trade personal relationships and ethical righteousness for material success.

Those few who achieve success soon discover that neither wealth nor fame can ensure happiness. Those who work and strive for success, eventually discover they can never have enough money, and enough recognition. Success is always fleeting; it simply doesn’t last. There is always someone wealthier or more famous to make us feel that we too need more – no matter how much we have achieved. However, most of us will never achieve wealth or fame, because both are defined by the few who achieve them and the many who do not. Most workers and strivers live their whole lives believing if only they could have been successful, they would have been happy – as Thoreau wrote, leading “lives of quiet desperation.”

I have seen this desperation in the lives of those who work both in corporate offices and on factory assembly lines. I have seen it in the halls of Congress and in City Hall, in the government bureaucracies of Washington, DC and in administration of our local schools, in civic organizations, nonprofit organizations, and even in our churches. I have also seen it among entrepreneurs who operate small businesses and among families who operate farms. In pursuing the economic and political values that bring fleeting success, we have lost sight of the enduring, lasting values that bring true happiness. In our pursuit of economic success, we Americans have lost sight of the real purpose of life’s journey, which is happiness.

Historically, happiness has been widely accepted as the motive of all purposeful human activity. The drafters of the Declaration of Independence, for example, listed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” among the inalienable rights of all people. Philosophers throughout the ages have spent a lot of time thinking about happiness. The hedonist philosophers equated happiness to sensory pleasures – to individual, personal experiences. However, another group of philosophers, including Aristotle, used the word eudaimonia for happiness. Eudaimonia is inherently social in nature – it is realized by individuals, but only within the context of family, friendships, community, or society. Aristotle’s happiness, social happiness, was a natural product of positive personal relationships.

Equally important, this social happiness was considered a by-product of actions taken not to achieve some sensory satisfaction, but instead, taken for their own sake – because they were intrinsically good. In essence, Aristotle and his followers believed that true happiness was not something to be pursued, but instead, was a natural consequence of righteous living. So, happiness is not about doing, it is about being; it is not about achieving, instead it is about relationships and righteousness.

In our pursuit of hedonistic economic success, we Americans have abandoned the social happiness of eudaimonia and we have suffered the inevitable consequences. For those who need statistical evidence, Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone[3] provides measure after measure verifying that America is becoming a nation of increasingly disconnected, unhappy people. For example, each decade since the 1960s, a smaller proportion of Americans have voted in elections, participated in civic, social, and professional organizations, participated in organized social activities, or even visited each other’s homes. Most such measures of social connectedness or social capital have dropped by 30-50 percent since the late 1950s. And, as Americans have become disconnected, we have become a more contentious and less civil society, as evidenced by our spending more per capita each decade for lawyers, courts, law enforcement, and prisons.

Putnam also points out that our increasingly dysfunctional personal relationships have been associated with deteriorating physical and mental health, with a ten-fold increase in mental illness and a tripling and quadrupling of suicides among young adults and adolescents respectively. Less serious, but far more common, incidents of “malaise” – headaches, indigestion, and sleeplessness – have shown patterns similar to those for mental illness. Between the late 1970s and late 1990s, those of each new generation, on average, are not only less healthy but also have indicated they are “less happy” than were those of previous generations.

Nowhere are the consequences of our self-centered, materialistic American lifestyle more evident than in the American food and farming system. Americans want their food to be quick, convenient, and cheap. We have accepted as an article of faith that our food should be cheap, and we boast that the average American spends just a bit more than a dime of each dollar of disposable income for food. In reality, we spend less than two cents of each dollar of income for food, because eight cents of each “food dime” goes to pay for processing, transportation, storage, packaging, advertising, etc. – not for food.

Eighty percent of the total value of food is value-added beyond the farm gate, but added value also requires added cost. And, the vast majority of these added costs are associated with the various functions that make food quicker and easier to prepare or otherwise more convenient for the consumer. Most of the rest, such as costs of advertising and packaging, are spent to convince us of the wisdom of our preference for convenience.

A growing American addiction to quick and convenient food is evident in the increasing share of our food dollar spent at restaurants and other eating establishments – a share approaching half of total food purchases. And, “fast food” places, such as McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, account for nearly half of all food consumed away from home. We want food eaten at home to be quick and easy to prepare, but increasingly we also want someone else to prepare it.

But, quick and easy food comes at a high cost – a cost far exceeding the dollar and cent cost we pay at the supermarket or eating establishment. Eric Schlosser, in his recent best seller, Fast Food Nation[4], addresses the cost of the American “love affair” with fast foods. He states, “fast food has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widening of the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad.” He documents how quick food has lured us into choosing diets deficient in nearly everything except calories, supporting practices deceptive in every aspect from advertising to flavoring, and systems that degrade nearly everyone and everything involved in the process.

Our addiction to convenience also is wresting control of the food system from consumers, placing it instead into the hands of a few giant, transnational corporations. A handful of giant agribusiness firms, allied by various business arrangements, to form giant “global food clusters[5]” now dominate food markets globally. By controlling the food system – the processing, storage, packaging, and distribution necessary to make food convenient for consumers – these firms are controlling the global food system. The market for food is no longer competitive, at least not in an economic sense, and thus, the food consumer is no longer king. The greatest cost of our addiction to convenience may well be the loss of control over our food supply.

The negative consequences of our quest for cheap food are seen most clearly in the demise of family farms and the decay of rural communities. A competitive marketplace forced farmers to specialize, standardize, and consolidate – to industrialize their farming operations – in order to reduce costs of production and bring down the costs of food. The most obvious social consequences have been larger farms, fewer farms, and thus, fewer farm families. The number of farmers in the U.S. dropped from more than six million in the 1930s, to less than two million in 2000. And, today’s farm families earn more than ninety percent of their total household income from off-farm sources, whereas farms in the 30s were mostly full-time family farms.

The demise of family farms has resulted in the decay of many rural communities. Fewer farm families have meant fewer people to buy clothes, shoes, and groceries on Main Street, but also, fewer farm families to help support local schools, churches, and civic organizations. In addition, large-scale farming operations often bypass local communities when marketing their products and purchasing inputs. As a result, many of the most economically depressed areas in the U.S. today are agriculturally dependent counties.[6] Today the corporatization of agriculture through contract production, the final stage of consolidation of control, is pitting neighbor against neighbor, turning farmers into corporate hired hands, and ripping what’s left of the rural social fabric to shreds.

The industrialization of agriculture has resulted in degradation of the rural environment. The consequences of mechanization, agri-chemicals, and large-scale, confinement animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have been excessive erosion of soils, pollution of streams and groundwater, and depletion of the soil organic matter and biological diversity upon which our food production ultimately must depend. Large-scale confinement animal operations have filled the air of many rural areas with a hazardous stench and turn livestock waste into a major point source of water pollution. Agriculture has become the number one non-point source of stream pollution in the US,[7] and a growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is attributed largely to agricultural pollution sources.[8]

Even those farmers who have survived economically have sacrificed the happiness of farming. Most conventional commercial farmers today will admit, “Farming just isn’t fun anymore.” It’s not just a matter of lack of profitability; it’s also their loss of a sense of being part of a community and the lack of integrity in their relationships with their animals and with the land. Most conventional farmers today, even so-called successful farmers, advise their children to leave the community and to get an education, so they can do something other than farming for a living. This is hardly indicative of happy farm families or expectations of a happy future in farming.

It’s time to stop and ask, “Is this the kind of agriculture we want?” “Is this the kind of society we want?” Is this what we want to be? If the hedonists were right, then Americans should be the happiest people on earth. We would have the most friendly, most civil, least contentious society in the world. We would be the happiest people in the world. Americans probably spend more money on themselves, for their own sensory pleasure, than has any people at any time in human history. But, our wealth has not brought happiness. The evidence continues to grow that lasting happiness is to be found in positive relationships, in family, community, and society, and in righteous living – in social happiness, not in the narrow pursuit of hedonistic self-interest. It’s time to stop and ask, “What kind of people do we really want to be?”

Most economists see nothing to be concerned about in current trends in the food system or in society. To economists it is just a matter of corporations responding to consumer demands, while minimizing their costs of production. American consumers obviously benefit from lower costs and greater convenience. Displaced American farmers will have to find other employment, doing something in which they can compete in a global labor market. Higher profits for corporate investors will more than offset losses in U.S. farm income, they say, leaving the American economy stronger than before.

To most economists, if the economy is growing, if it is getting bigger, then the economy is getting better, regardless of the consequences for social equity or environmental integrity. But, I simply don’t believe that a bigger economy necessarily results in a better society or that a more economically efficient agriculture is necessarily a better agriculture. I don’t believe the demise of family farms, the degradation of the rural environment, and the decay of rural communities can be so easily justified as simply declaring them the inevitable consequences of a free market economy.

But, why would anyone pay any attention to me? The agricultural establishment – the recognized experts on agriculture and economics – tell a completely different story. Those of us who are concerned about social and ecological consequences of the corporatization of American agriculture are simply out of touch with reality, they say. We are labeled as twenty-first century Luddites, who oppose all technological progress, or at least considered naively nostalgic for a return to farming of the past. So, why should anyone pay any attention to me?

First, I am an economist, and have been one for more than thirty-five years. I have been a professor of agricultural economics at the major state agricultural universities in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Missouri. I grew up as a farmer – on a small dairy farm in Southwest Missouri. But, I also operated a small business during my high school years and I worked in management for three years for a major meat packing company – Wilson Foods – after graduating from college. Perhaps most important, I spent three-fourths of my life and half of my professional career believing and teaching the very things that the agricultural establishment is extolling today. I know where these folks “are coming from” because I have “been there.”

I used to tell farmers that they were going to have to either “get bigger or get out.” I told them they were going to have to become sharp financial managers, smart personnel managers, and astute marketers, because the only farmers with the future were those who saw farming as a business, rather than as a way of life. I cautioned farmers to separate farm business from family business, and not allow family matters be an economic drag of the farm. I believed the family farm was of the past, not of the future.

However, during the farm financial crisis of the 1980s, I began to feel that something was terribly wrong in American agriculture. Many farmers had borrowed heavily at record high interest rates to expand production to meet booming export demand during the 1970s, only to see exports dry up, commodity prices plummet, and record farm profits turn into disastrous farm losses. The agricultural establishment at the time chastised these farmers as poor managers who should have known better than to borrow so much, or at least should have known how to survive the inevitable hard times of farming. However, I discovered that the farmers who were in the biggest financial difficulty were those who had been doing the things that the agricultural establishment – including me, and my economic colleagues – had been telling them they should do. It would have been easier to deny it, and many did, but I came to realize that I had been much more a part of the farm problem than a part of the solution.

Many farmers I talked with had not followed the advice of us so-called experts. They were not overly specialized; they had maintained some diversity of enterprises, and some enterprises were still profitable. They had minimized their dependence on costly chemical inputs and farm equipment, so their cost-price squeeze wasn’t quite so tight. They had not bought land to expand their operations, so their debts were more manageable. The farmers we economists had branded as laggards – resisters of new technologies and new ideas – were at least coping with one of the most severe economic farm crises of the century.

I eventually concluded that we economists, and other agriculturalists, were simply out of touch with reality. We had been trying to transform farming into something that it was not and could not be. We had treated the farm as if it were simply a factory without a roof and fields and feedlots as if they were biological assembly lines. We had encouraged farmers to specialize, standardize, and consolidate, as if farming were a manufacturing process, simply transforming inputs into outputs. However, I was beginning to understand that a farm is not a factory, plant and animal production are not mechanical processes, and thus, real farming is fundamentally different from working on an assembly line or managing a factory. Farming isn’t just about minimizing costs or maximizing profits; it’s about nurturing and caring for living things – plants, animals, people, and even the wild things of the fields and forests and living things in the soil. The family nurtures the farm and the farm nurtures the family, and the family nurtures, and is nurtured by, the biological and social community.

Luckily, at about this time, something called sustainable agriculture was making its way onto the national agricultural scene. The more I learned about sustainable agriculture, the more I realized that it might answer my growing questions concerning why the agriculture I had been promoting wasn’t working. But more important, in sustainable agriculture, I felt I might find a reason to believe again in the future of farming.

I returned to Missouri, my home state in late 1988, to work with farmers interested in this new kind of farming. My first understanding of sustainable agriculture was that of a balanced approach to farming. Missouri had a highly successful extension program back in the 1950s that focused on balancing farm profitability, soil conservation, and family living; it had been called the Balanced Farming program. The program had been driven by the need to increase farm income, but without degrading the land or the quality of family life. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, was being driven more by the environmental concerns being raised by a profit-driven, industrialization of agriculture. But, the needs for farm income and for a desirable quality of farm and rural life were still there.

People were beginning to understand that an agriculture that degraded the land and polluted the natural environment simply could not sustain its productivity over time. People were also beginning to understand that an agriculture that couldn’t meet the needs of society – not just as consumers, but as farmers, rural residents, and people in general – would not be supported by society, and thus, was not sustainable. And, everyone still understood that agriculture had to be profitable, at least periodically, if farmers were to survive financially. So, farming sustainably was about finding balance and harmony among the ecological, economic, and social aspects of farming. Certainly, it was about meeting the needs of the present while leaving opportunities for the future, but to me, it was more just a common sense way to farm.

Through my work with a new breed of farmers, I rediscovered the happiness in farming. Most of these new farmers have smaller farming operations than do their conventional, industrial counterparts. Their farms also tend to be more diverse, often integrating crop and livestock production. Many of these farmers market directly to local customers, through farmers markets, community supported agricultural organizations (CSAs), roadside stands, and on-farm sales – often to loyal customers whom they know personally. The new crop producers label their products as organic, natural, biodynamic, holistic, ecological, or simply rely on being local as a market advantage. Producers of meat, milk, and eggs may further distinguish their products as humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free, free-range, or grass-fed. These new farmers are set apart from commodity producers, not so much by size, or products, or markets, as by their philosophy of farming and their philosophy of life. The size, products, and markets are simply a reflection of their philosophy. They are farming not just for profits; they are farming for better overall quality of life, for happiness – and many are finding it.

Over the past five years, I have had the privilege of speaking at 35-40 different venues a year, and most of those were conferences attended by what I call sustainable farmers. In truth, we never know for sure whether a farming system is or isn’t sustainable, but these farmers balance economic, ecological, and social considerations in their decisions. These conferences range in size from a few dozen people to a few thousand, but there are at least six conferences in North America that average over 1200 attendees a year. The larger of these conferences tend to draw a very high proportion of farmers. Several of these conferences draw 500-600 people and the number with 100 or more are too numerous to count. I never pass up an opportunity to visit with farmers wherever I go and most of what I know about sustainable farming today, I have learned from farmers.

The new farmers I have met along the way are very different from the farmers I had worked with previously. First, the new farmers are much more diverse, with respect to age, gender, education, and income. Second, more families, including children, attend sustainable agriculture conferences, and the whole family participates, often as presenters and well as attendees. Third, these new farmers willingly share ideas and information; they are trying to help each other succeed. Perhaps because of the other differences, these farmers tend to be much more hopeful, if not optimistic, about the future than are their conventional counterparts.

Sustainable farmers are on a new frontier of farming, and life is rarely easy for the pioneers on any frontier. They face many frustrations, and some failures, along the way, because no one really knows how to do what they are doing. But, more and more of these new farmers are finding ways to succeed. These new farmers define success not just in terms of profit, but also in terms of their overall economic, social, and spiritual quality of life. They are putting the fun back in farming; they are finding happiness in farming.

I am not trying to shove the idea of sustainable agriculture down anyone’s throat. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. As long as it’s sustainable, it will result in a more desirable quality of life. You can call it practical farming, balanced farming, true family farming, or common sense farming, if you don’t like the ecological or sustainable labels. Perhaps, the basic ideas would be more acceptable in today’s society if we referred to it as farming for the triple bottom line.

The business concept of a triple bottom line first came to widespread attention in corporate management circles in the late 1990s and has since gained in popularity among businesses of all types.[9] Managing for a triple bottom line suggests managing for balance among the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of business performance, rather than maximizing profits or growth. Triple bottom line managers recognize that businesses lacking social and ecological integrity are not economically viable over the long run; their costs eventually increase and customer loyalty declines. So they focus on conserving non-renewable resources and protecting the environment, and on being a good neighbor and good corporate citizen, as a means of maintaining long run profitability.

In many situations, they find that by paying more attention to social and ecological performance, they can actually improve economic performance, even in the short run. They may find ways to transform wastes into economic inputs and to increase production while using fewer costly, non-renewable resources.[10] They may also find ways to reduce labor costs and create new markets by developing and maintaining better relationships with their workers, their customers, and others in the communities in which they operate.[11] In general, they improve their efficiency in converting ecological and social resources into economic advantages.

However, triple bottom line management has its legitimate skeptics. Businesses have always claimed to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens, but such claims have rarely been allowed to take precedence over maximizing corporate profits.[12] Even Monsanto and DuPont, for example, have “sustainable agriculture” programs. In such cases, the triple bottom line becomes little more than a public relations strategy. On the other hand, Ray Anderson, of Interface, Inc., a large carpet manufacturer, is a well-known exception to this strategy of deception. Anderson travels the country proclaiming the benefits of triple bottom line management and provides his corporate financial records as compelling evidence that even a large publicly owned corporation can be profitable as well as socially and ecologically responsible.[13] In the food business, Paul Dolan, former CEO of Fetzer, the sixth largest winery in the U.S., is a prime example of a triple bottom line manager.[14] New Season Markets in Portland, OR, a locally owned, five-store modern supermarket chain managed by Brian Rother, provides another example of a food business managed for triple-bottom-line.[15]

At first, a business strategy based on the right relationships may seem a bit naïve or idealistic, but on further thought, it is not. Our first thought may be that our highest priority should be on economics, but further thought will reveal that economics is but a means to a greater end, in business and in life. Even the classical economists accepted the proposition that living was about the pursuit of happiness, not just the pursuit of wealth. Wealth, at most, was only a means to finding happiness. Our Founding Fathers were so bold as to identify the pursuit of happiness among the inalienable rights of all people. In fact, it’s only within the past century that economics has abandoned the pursuit of happiness for the pursuit of wealth.

Early nineteenth century economists, including notables such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo, considered happiness to be the ultimate goal of all economic activity. Smith wrote of self-interests but he also wrote, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” [16] Ricardo, the father of free trade theory, defended the importance of trade as being important to the “happiness of mankind.”[17] Neither assumed that greater wealth was synonymous with greater happiness.

However, at the turn of the twentieth century, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian, set about to free economics from the subjectivity of sociology and psychology, by focusing on what he called “revealed preferences” rather than “happiness.”[18] Obviously, rational persons would make rational choices, thus revealing their preferences for the things they want and need. Economists should focus on consumer choices, he suggested, and let the sociologists and psychologists worry about whether such choices actually make people happier. Pareto’s theories eventually were adopted by other economists, primarily because it allowed economics to focus on observable and measurable human behavior, rather than some intangible concept of human happiness.

In the early 1900s, another noted economist, Alfred Marshall, conceded that economics no longer dealt directly with human “well-being,” his term for happiness, but rather with the “material requisites” of it.[19] Later twentieth-century economists, including England’s John Hicks and America’s Paul Samuelson, however, made little distinction between wealth and happiness.[20] They needed objective, quantifiable economic variables to accommodate their mathematical and statistical models. Maximizing profit, income, or wealth became equivalent to maximizing satisfaction or happiness, as far as these neoclassical economists were concerned.

Regardless of what neoclassical economics suggests, our common sense tells us that wealth does not bring happiness, because happiness requires more than having lots of money to buy lots of stuff. Managing for the single economic bottom line reflects a hedonistic philosophy of happiness. Managing for the triple bottom line is consistent with the belief of Aristotle and others, that personal happiness, and thus personal success, is a natural consequence of right relationships. Over the long run, success must be reconciled with the pursuit of happiness. How can a business possibly sustain its profitability over the long run by any other means than contributing to the happiness of people? How can a family farm possibly be sustained by any other means other than contributing to the happiness of people? Managing for the triple bottom is managing for sustainability, is managing for lasting happiness.

Over the years, I have come to believe that the new sustainable American farmers are lighting the path back to happiness for the rest of us. In the happiness I see in the eyes of these new farm families, I see hope for the future of America. As a nation, we have been working harder, making more money, and buying more stuff, but in the process, we have become a nation of increasingly disconnected, unhappy people. To regain our lost sense of happiness, we must make time in our busy lives to restore broken relationships and to explore the purpose and meaning of our lives. We must search for happiness within the context of caring families and communities, in a sense of rightness in our relationships with other people and with the rest of creation.

But first, we must have the courage to challenge conventional economic thinking that “pursuit of wealth” means “pursuit of happiness.” Perhaps, as Marshall said, economics is best viewed as being about acquiring some of “material requisites” for happiness, but not about happiness. Next, we must realize that happiness, in any sense other than hedonistic sensory pleasure, depends on the quality of our personal relationships. Finally, we must understand that happiness is a “by-product” of “right relationships” – not something that we pursue, but instead something that comes to us when we find the courage to do what we know in our heart to be the right and good thing to do.

Working and living sustainably does not require that we live a life of self-sacrifice, but instead, that we live a life of quality – a life of happiness. It is not a sacrifice to care for each other or to care for the earth, these things reflect rightness in our relationships with each other and with the earth, and thus, are necessary for our happiness. Sustainability is not about sacrifice, but instead about happiness. Neither is sustainability about becoming wealthy; instead, it is about living a good life – about being happy. As the new sustainable farmers find ways to make a decent living, while caring for the land and caring for other people, not only are they leading the way to a new sustainable food system, they are also showing the way for the rest of society to a new economics of happiness.


[1] Prepared for presentation at Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH, October, 2007.

[2] John Ikerd is Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO – USA. E-mail: , website:

[3] Robert Putnam. 2000. Bowling Alone. Simon and Schuster, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, and Singapore.

[4] Erick Schlosser. 2001. Fast Food Nation. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, NY.

[5] For summaries of global food consolidation studies, see articles by Mary Hendrickson and William Heffernan, in Small Farm Today Magazine, April 1999 and July 2001, also available on the Internet at and

[6] Economic Research Service, USDA. 2004. Rural Income, Poverty, and Welfare: High Poverty Counties. Available at

[7] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2004. Managing Non-Point Source Pollution from Agriculture. Available at also see USDA National Resources Inventory. Natural Resources Conservation Service Report.

[8] Donald M. Anderson. 1989. “Toxic Algal Blooms and Red Tides: A Global Perspective.” Red Tides: Biology, Environmental Science, and Toxicology. Ed. Tomotoshi Okaichi et al. New York: Elsevier. 11-16.

Also, Elizabeth Carlisle. accessed on internet, 2004. “The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and Red Tide,”

[9] John Elkington. 1998. Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. New Society Publishers. Stony Creek, CT.

[10] Hawken, Paul, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. 1999. Natural Capitalism. Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.

[11] Bob Willard. 2002. The Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of Triple Bottom Line. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC.

[12] Wayne Norman and Chris MacDonald. April 2004. Business Ethics Quarterly.

[13] Ray Anderson. 1998. Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The Interface Model. Chelsea Green Publishers, White River Junction, VT.

[14] The Fetzer Environmental philosophy at

[15] New Seasons Market website,

[16] Adam Smith. 1776. The Wealth of Nations, Great Mind Series edition, 1991. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY (p. 83).

[17] David Ricarco. 1951-55. The Works and Correspondence. Edited by Piero Sraffa, British Royal

Society, Cambridge, England (Vol. I, p 132).

[18] Vilfredo Pareto. 1906. Manual of Political Economy. Reprinted in 1971 by Kelly, New York, NY.

[19] Alfred Marshall. 1946 (1890). Principles of Economics. Macmillan, London. (p. 27).

[20] John Hicks and R.G.D. Allen. 1934. “A Reconsideration of the Theory of Value,” Economica Vol. (pp. 52-76).