By Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson: You say you see similarities between agribusiness and the housing crisis and the global financial meltdown. How so?
Ramin Bahrani: Big industrial farming is based on economy of scale, so the larger you are, the more power you have, meaning the better prices you can negotiate with Monsanto on fees, the better prices you can get on fertilizers like Roundup Ready, the better deals you can get on large machinery like tractors, combines, planters and sprayers which can farm massive acreage quickly and efficiently. All these things work in the same way Walmart works when it shows up on Main Street. How are you going to compete when they can sell everything for so much less? The same thing happens in large banking institutions. When you graduate people out of MIT who have no interest any more in making discoveries and inventing things and solving problems of the world—instead they’re creating financial systems none of us can comprehend. This is yet another way to make massive amounts of money at everyone’s expense. When you make that much money, you also have power. Then you have people running regulatory agencies who are in positions or were in positions of great financial power in that industry. It just doesn’t make any sense. (MORE)