Systemic constraints to ecological well-being: The case of the 1985 food security act

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Although the conservation title of the 1985 Food Security Act was hailed by many as revolutionary in its attempts to control soil erosion, it has failed to live up to its billing. A theory is used that asserts that the state's systemic commitment to promoting capitalist growth constrains it from establishing and implementing policies that accomplish anything more than displacing one environmental problem onto others. The-theory is tested through a discourse analysis of the hearings surrounding the Federal government's attempt to control soil erosion through the 1985 Food Security Act, which revealed that policy recommendations challenging the drive to maximize efficiency and production were declared flawed and unacceptable. Hence, the hearings were systematically distorted in favor of the dominant instrumental rationality. It is concluded that government policy initiatives alone are insufficient and that creating alternative social organizations of production is necessary to promote ecological wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-157
Number of pages25
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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