The Ethics of Constrained Choice: How the Industrialization of Agriculture Impacts Farming and Farmer Behavior
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The industrialization of agriculture not only alters the ways in which agricultural production occurs, but also impacts the decisions farmers make in important ways. First, constraints created by the economic environment of farming limit what options a farmer has available to him. Second, because of the industrialization of agriculture and the resulting economic pressures it creates for farmers, the fact that decisions are constrained creates new ethical challenges for farmers. Having fewer options when faced with severe economic pressures is a very different situation for farmers than having many options available. We discuss the implications of constrained choice and show that it increases the likelihood that farmers will consider unethical behavior.