An anonymous comment from an anonymous student about an anonymous professor* in an anonymous class dealing with food economics at an anonymous institution of higher education:
I found it annoying how this class approached the topic of food strictly from an economics standpoint. The professor talked a lot about the benefits of large biotech corporations and increased fertilizer and GMO use, but did not spend time on the environmental and social impacts of these. I did not agree with the professors point of view so it made the class hard to enjoy. Farmers only getting $0.2 for every $1 is not a good thing in my mind, farmers should be earning a livable wage and should get paid more than agribusiness. As an [Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability] major, I value local and organic farming because that is what is best for the environment and communities, so it would have been nice to focus more on those points than praising agribusiness that pushes out small farmers and dominates the market. I thought the professors thinking was very corrupt.
Dear Anonymous Student: Here are a few thoughts and questions for you to consider (and hopefully they agree with your preconceived notions of how I should express my thoughts):
- Do you only enjoy classes where you agree with everything the professor says? Is learning new perspectives no longer valued in a college education?
- Part of taking classes in college is to show you that what you think is a good thing in your mind is not always a good thing.
- Could you please define a 'livable' wage for a farmer? To help you make your argument, here's a quote from the Congressional Research Service's U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2016:
"At the farm-household level, average farm household incomes have surged ahead of average U.S. household incomes since the late 1990s. In 2014 (the last year for which comparable data were available), the average farm household income (including off-farm income sources) of $131,754 was about 74% higher than the average U.S. household income of $75,738."
So can I assume that you believe that the threshold for a 'livable' wage is above $131,754 a year?
$64/hour minimum wage, or I can't survive!
- 'I value local and organic farming because that is what is best for the environment and communities." Um. No. I like bananas and coffee. Just not the local type. Ohio bananas are surprisingly hard to find.
- If you equate being an EEDS major to a particular way of thinking ("As an [Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability] major, I value...") , or a particular value system, then how can you disagree with the way of thinking of one of the professors who is teaching a class in that major? Your logic confuses me.
- This leaves the impression that the EEDS major is teaching you what to value. That is not the case. We teach students multiple ways to think about Sustainability issues: from environmental, social and economic perspectives. Local to community to city to state to regional to national to global.
- 'I thought the professors thinking was very corrupt.' Apparently economies of scale, productivity gains, yield improvements, and the potential benefits and costs of fertilizer and GMO's is now equated to corrupt thinking.
In summary (in case you missed the facetious tone of some of my comments), college is not for us to preach what you already believe. It is to challenge you to think beyond your own beliefs and consider alternative ways of thinking. If you already know what you believe, and refuse to consider that another perspective might hold some value, then why are you wasting your time in college? You already know the answers.
But I'm sure you think everyone should have access to a free college education.
As long as they teach you what you already believe.