Business, College of


Date of this Version

June 2004


Published in the Journal of Economic Issues Volume XXXVIII, No. 2, June 2004. Copyright © 2004, Journal of Economic Issues. Used by permission.


Humans have been in a symbiotic relationship with hogs since the time humans became a species. That relationship evolved into a set of transactional (as defined by instrumentalists) processes beginning with the hunter-gatherer tribes. The network of relationships has continued to become more numerous, intense, and complex. Hogs have served in social systems with humans as societal symbols for prowess for numerous groups (with wild boars, for example, on coats of arms in Europe), as religious symbols (both positive and negative), as a source of human disease in the hog-chicken-human cycle for generating flu in Asia, and, more recently, as a source of organs to be transplanted into humans. We usually think of the hog as a proven converter of waste material and low-cost crops into human food and leather. That use of hogs—which has become an inefficient system—is the area of concern here.

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