Topic: Theorizing Agriculture-society Tensions: An Ordonomic Approach to the Agrarian Vision
Keywords: Agrarian Vision, Industrial Vision, Business Ethics, CSR
Agriculture is increasingly becoming the subject of public moral concerns. Some the moral controversies between agricultural industry and the public eye constitute the subject matter of the debate between the so-called “agrarian vision” and “industrial vision”. At a first glance it seems that the farmers’ side adheres to the ideals of the “industrial vision”, whereas the public adheres to ideals of the “agrarian vision”. Yet, the “agrarian vision” can fall prey to instrumentalization from both sides: farmers may use it as a moral narrative in order to legitimate rent-seeking activities, while some activists may appeal to it in order to press for an excessive ecologization of agriculture. To overcome this conflict in a sustainable manner, we propose a reorientation from a win-lose towards a win-win conceptualization. In this line of thought both vision no longer contradict each other, but rather relate to each other in a means-ends relationship. On the societal level, the industrial vision is a means to reach agrarian ideals because efficient production can help reducing environmental impacts and enables farmers to be profitable and independent from subsidies. On the firm level, the agrarian vision can be used to reach industrial goals by doing business in a way that is sensitive to stakeholder interests. This new approach to analyzing tensions between agriculture and society can lead to a better mutual understanding among the parties involved and thus can enable good governance.