Donald L. Barlett and James B.
Steele collaborated as investigative journalists for than three decades. The
two authors published the article “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear” in 2008. This
article exposes the new trend that is occurring within agriculture which allows
corporations with large sums of revenue and power to monopolize certain aspects
of the agricultural industry. Throughout their article, Barlett and Steele
attempt to reveal the disturbing truth that lies in the business aspect of food
cultivation, and they address how these issues corrupt people’s ability to
makes choices regarding what they eat. This article by Barlett and Steel has
profoundly changed my perspective of the food industry.
Barlett and Steele structure their
writing almost as if to resemble a public service announcement. They fuel this by
establishing an assertive tone, consciously guiding the audience’s thoughts
toward one central conclusion. Along with that, the writers activate some level
of fear in order to drive the message home and ensure that their work is memorable.
The aim is to inform the population, incite rage, and direct action toward
progress or reform.
In this article, the authors imply
that the most vital issue does not rest in a monopoly’s effects on the capital
market, but rather it is the personal impact that large corporations make that
is the most disturbing. Barlett and Steele use the central example of the seed
distributor, Monsanto, to solidify their point regarding the corruption of the
agricultural industry. In this case, the article’s thesis is easily identified
in the claim that “the company now profoundly influences—and one day may
virtually control—what we put on our tables.” (Barlett and Steele 3). The
authors propose that the cause for concern is not so much embedded in the issue
of economic competition, but instead that the most crucial problem at hand is
the direct affect that this has on consumers.
Barlett and Steele reinforce their
claims by providing an inside look into the lives of agricultural laborers. By
shining light on the treatment that they have received under the supervision of
Monsanto, the authors support their allegations toward the company by assessing
primary evidence regarding the issue. The majority of the article consists of
the authors’ summaries of first-hand experiences that depict the harsh reality
of the modern food production industry along with the significant effects it
has on farmers and consumers.
The Next Battle Ground
To conclude, my perspective
regarding the food industry has drastically changed due to this article. I have
become more skeptical of the processes that occur within the food industry. Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele’s analysis
of the monopolization of agriculture use the tools of establishing tone,
strategic structure, and heavy amounts of primary evidence to make broad but
legitimate generalizations about the corruption of the modern food cultivation
industry. It is important to take their argument of how the those who provide
the world’s seeds controls the world’s food supply into consideration.
Barlett, Donald L. and Steele,
James B. “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.” Vanity Fair. May 2008: Online.