Agricultural economics has prompted a lively online discussion on Steven Dubner's New York Times blog "Freakonomics." As of this morning, 71 comments had been posted, which combined with a lengthy Q & A add up to more than 13,000 words, some heated.
This post had its beginnings a week or so ago when Dubner invited his blog readers to send questions for the director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, Dan Sumner. The blog post included 23 questions and answers touching on such hot topics as organic agriculture, local food production, obesity and farm subsidies. Dubner titled the discussion, "The Illogic of Farm Subsidies, and Other Agricultural Truths."
The blog post and comments provide a wealth of information and opinions. They also exemplify the growing popular interest in economics, for which partial credit goes to the book "Freakonomics," which Dubner co-wrote with University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt. Levitt was the substance, and Dubner the style. The book peaked at No. 2 on the New York Times best seller list.
With the popularity of agricultural economics in the Freakonomics blog, perhaps Sumner will become something of a regular.