Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



G. D. Lynne, Metaeconomics, Palgrave Advances in Behavioral Economics,


© The Author 2020


Everyone needs to eat, and eat well, as it is essential to the process of slowing down the pace to and time of our death, the point of maximum entropy for each person. As a result, it is perhaps the best example of the need to seek one’s Self-interest. It also puts us in the position, however, to more easily Empathize, walk-in-the-shoes of someone who may not have enough food, or the best kind of food, and help in forming a shared Other-interest, too. As a result, we might choose to support, with our tax money, some kind of a Government program like the US Food and Drug Administration to ensure food safety; the US Department of Agriculture (as well as fund public research, teaching and extension services, associated with the public US Land Grant Universities), to help keep the supermarkets full, through a strong scientific base for food production; and, the US Natural Resource Conservation Service to help sustain soil, water, and other Spaceship Earth Systems working in the background of the food production and supply system, to list a few.

The shared Other-interest in food might also result in seeing the need to provide background support for the profitability of agricultural producers, to ensure that food supplies are forthcoming and stable over time. It is in our shared Other-interest with the farmers to ensure a viable, stable agricultural production system. There has been a long history in the US, starting especially in the 1930s, about the extent to which Government is to be involved in the agricultural Market system, reflecting the shared Other-interest in food. We now explore several of the different kinds of shared Other-interest; it becomes clear that food production is about far more than just the Self-interest represented in the payoff from producing and eating it.