The Omnivore's Dilemma essay

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a book written by Michael Pollan that was published in 2006. In the book, the author seeks to address the dilemma people are faced with in selecting food to eat. In other words, humans are known to be omnivores, that is, the most non-selective eaters. Additionally, they are faced with the dilemma each and every day trying to figure out what to pick from a variety of food choices. To understand more about the choices made in selecting these daily meals, Pollan follows up on the food chain, and as a result, come up with an American way of eating. Corn is being used in everything around our lives, and food industries are over producing it to make more money. They are making cheap corn products called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Today, HFCS and processed foods are intimidating our health. The food companies are making unhealthy products because of their own profits. It is unbelievable that this happens in today's society. We consumers should not be fooled by greasily packing of the bad-food products. What is the biggest problem in America today? Is it drugs, abortion or alcohol? No, the grandest problem of present America is obesity.

Pollan uses a strategy of tracing different foods from their source, which is corn. For instance, burgers are traced from corn; on the other hand, cooking oil is refined from the same source and sweeteners, such as soda. He states that over 45000 items in supermarkets and shopping stores are manufactured from corn. This implies that corn is the main source of fast foods and snacks. In addition, Americans are used to fast foods due to their culture of time consciousness. To begin with, Pollan explores food production systems where most Americans derive their food. In his quest to complete the food chain, Pollan finds out that corn is largely based on America’s food production. He also says that con is ingested directly, processed to chemical sugars such as fructose and ethanol, or fed to livestock. Through this, he explains how the corn plant was introduced to America due to the combination of political, biological and cultural factors, and how it has dominated the American society. In his book, Pollan mainly focuses on corn and its role in changing the American society (Michael 57). Over the past years, Americans have got accustomed to corn-based products, making them part of their lifestyle. Corn is an energy-giving food, and as such produces a lot of calories when eaten. This means that there should be an adjustment of one’s lifestyle so as to enjoy its taste and stay fit. In other words, people exercise to burn calories produced by corn-based products, creating another culture of living a healthy life.

In his book, Pollan has posed direct questions that reflect on the dilemma people are faced with when selecting meals. Unlike animals, humans have a variety of food choices to select from depending on their taste and other preference factors. Moreover, this becomes the challenging part since they are unable to identify what exactly they want due to their nature of dissatisfaction. In his writing, one can see how he investigates and traces the origins of anything he consumes. He continues by saying that if people knew the source of their foods, where it was derived, how it reached them, its true cost, and what it was people would understand that they eat by the grace of nature and not that of industry. In relation to corn, Pollan also outlines the role of petroleum in transportation and cultivation of American-food supply. In detailed form, Pollan analyzes food chain and says that corn is the sole provider for almost each producer. In addition to this, corn connects with other foods in the food chain, in its different forms. Different people from different backgrounds and cultures are known to have different taste and food preferences, and by doing these producers have been able to produce a variety of corn-based products that can suite everyone’s preferences.

It is clearly evident that corn has played a vital role in shaping American culture, and how it has turned Americans into industrial eaters. America created international markets for selling their products made from corn, and as a result, established globalization. Globalization refers to the process through which diverse cultures, regions, economies and societies are integrated through a global network.  The impact of globalization on the world is pervasive. It thus leads to the emergence of new political, social and business models. The new global economic order requires the company to incorporate changes in its management. Therefore, a global mindset can be termed as a state that enables someone to understand a business, a market or a company on a global basis. To make sure this happens, organizations have to teach their staff to focus on the commonality across many markets when looking at different territories rather than focus on the differences that exist among the territories or countries (Pollan 29).

America’s economy is recorded as one of the strongest and fastest growing economy in the world. In the last two decades, the economy has recorded a fall in unemployment and economic growth. With the economy engaging in vigorous policy and structural reforms, the economy has turned out to be resilient, flexible and well integrated with worldwide markets. In the recent years, the economy has been able to overcome both internal and external milestones, such as a housing boom, substantial drought and the economic and financial crisis that had hardly hit the American community. The country is endowed with resources and a diverse primary sector based economy. The main exports are products from corn, machinery equipment and wheat. These exports have continued to spur the economic growth since 1788. The gross domestic product has continuously grown with it approximating to $ 1 trillion in the year 2007. Unemployment rate, on the other hand, has declined from 11 percent in the year 1995 to less than 5 per cent in the year 2008. The service sector leads with an employment rate of seventy five percent followed by the industrial sector with 21.1 percent, and finally agriculture with 3.6 percent (Pollan 56).

America has a well-functioning economy with its GDP per capita equivalent to that of four leading Western European economies. Stressing on policy and structural reforms, near to the ground persistent rise in price, a housing boom in the market and growing strong relations with China forms the basis of the economic expansion that America has recorded over the past fifteen years. Until the recent 2008 worldwide financial crises, the above mentioned factors have been significantly contributing to economic growth. Consumer and industry confidence and soaring export prices for primary agricultural products and raw materials accelerated the economy to a high growth rate level in the recent years. Shortage of rain, strong currency and a strong import demand raised the trade deficit, as the infrastructure holdups and a rigid labor market reduced the number of export and stirred up inflation up to the year 2008. However, America has succeeded in its efforts in developing the world economically. Currently, the United States is among the top countries that own successful companies locally and in different nations.

Modernization of infrastructure is one of the achievements and standards America has set. They say that a nation that does not starve is a growing nation. As we know, America is a country with a rich culture. America has now developed a new culture of agricultural production becoming the top producer in the international markets. It is now able to sufficiently provide food to its people, as well as earn foreign income for exporting its high quality products. Through the new technological techniques, America has been able to deal with the severe weather condition, and is capable of supplying food even during the worst climatic conditions. Over the past years, industrialization in America has increased substantially. In 2003, the US ranked among the top nations worldwide which had the largest exporting economy. Researchers have also reported that the United States of America has become a competitor in the world’s economy due to its high growth rate in industrialization and gross domestic products (Michael 71).

It is clearly evident that corn has dominated American society and has shaped its culture. The different forms of corn have become part of America’s lifestyle creating a dilemma on what to choose. Additionally, this has also come with a price whereby obesity has dominated the American society just like corn has. In other words, change in lifestyle in this case means exercising and healthily eating for a healthy life. However, the role played by corn in shaping American culture is aided by America’s trend of embracing cultures.

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