In AEI Panel Appearance, Keep Food Legal Pushes Back Against Crony Capitalism in Food and Agriculture
Last week Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin took part in a lively panel discussion on crony capitalism in food and agriculture at the American Enterprise Institute.
As Linnekin defines the term, crony capitalism means that a food business’s success is often wrongly contingent upon the business maintaining a close relationship with legislators and regulators.
The panel was moderated by Washington Examiner columnist and AEI visiting fellow Tim Carney, and served as the inaugural event for AEI’s new Culture of Competition Project.
In addition to Linnekin, the panel featured fellow panelists (and fellow attorneys) Doug Povich, co-owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound food truck in Washington, DC, and Emily Broad Leib, who leads Harvard Law School’s great Food Law and Policy Clinic in Cambridge, MA.
"I’d previously sat on respective panels with Povich and Broad Leib," says Linnekin, "and greatly admire their respective work to defend and strengthen the rights of small food entrepreneurs."
Carney, likewise, was very pleased with the panel.
"I think the panel addressed a swath of issues where government intervention diminishes freedom, choice, and competition in the world of food," he says.
In Linnekin's remarks, which he called America’s Cronycopia, he discussed the frequent difficulties that exist in definitively identifying the phenomenon—which, after all, is hidden and often the result of phone calls and backroom dealings of which journalists and the public have little or no direct knowledge.
Linnekin's talk focused largely on farm subsidies—including new data he presented on how Red (GOP) states receive an inordinate share of these USDA handouts—which should be abolished in all forms immediately (regardless of whether they’re doled out proportionately, or whether Red or Blue states benefit most, or which food producers benefit or don't benefit from them).
You can read Linnekin's account of the panel in his latest Reason column.
We are excited to report that Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin has accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Chicago School of Law next weekend as part of an Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship symposium on street food, mobile food vending, and food trucks. The IJ Clinic, a joint project of the Institute for Justice and The University of Chicago Law School, is hosting the one-day symposium as part of its campaign to ensure that regulations permit a vibrant street food scene in Chicago, where rules currently place needless burdens on mobile vendors at a time when demand for street food has exploded in the city.
Linnekin will sit on a regulatory-reform panel at the Saturday, Apr. 14 conference, My Streets, My Eats: Chicago Mobile Food Symposium & Meet Up. He will discuss mobile-food vending regulations and highlight his forthcoming law-journal article on mobile-food advocacy, which he co-authored with Jeff Dermer of Dermer Behrendt and Matt Geller of SoCalMFVA.
Nationally known IJ Clinic symposium panelists include Gregg Kettles, currently with the Los Angeles mayor's office, who wrote one of the earliest law-review articles on regulating street vending; food journalist Heather Shouse of Timeout Chicago, author of the book Food Trucks; and Sean Basinski, of New York City's excellent Street Vendor Project. To learn more and to register for the free symposium--which will feature food served by various Windy City trucks--go here.
In related news, Linnekin will teach an undergraduate-level course on food entrepreneurship and social media at American University in Washington, DC in fall 2012. Course registration for students in the Washington, DC area is now open.
On Satuday, Mar. 10 Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin will present his research on the great impact of social media on America's food scene as a panelist at the 2012 meeting of the Chesapeake American Studies Association (CHASA). Linnekin's talk is based on an undergraduate food studies course that he developed and will be teaching in fall 2012 in the American Studies Program at American University in Washington, DC, which is incidentally the site of this year's CHASA meeting.
Linnekin argues that the promises delivered by Web 2.0--perhaps best illustrated by the increasing ubiquity of social media tools like Twitter that allow users to sift, shape, and share news and ideas in ways meaningful to themselves and others--has helped usher in an entirely new era of foodways, which he calls Foodways 2.0. As Linnekin states in his CHASA topic proposal:
Foodways 2.0: Social Media, #FoodTrucks, Pop-Ups, & Underground Foods
Since 2008, social-media tools like Twitter have revolutionized many ways Americans buy and sell food. Social media has made possible mobile-food vending in areas (like parts of Washington, DC) where it was previously difficult or illegal. Social media also facilitates other legal food transactions (i.e., by helping draw customers to pop-up restaurants), makes possible illicit food transactions (i.e., by directing customers to underground restaurants, markets, and street-food vendors), and enhances the consumer’s eating experience (i.e., by fostering food-photography sharing tools like Foodspotting). In effect, social media has led to the creation of an entirely new type of foodways in America, a phenomenon I call “Foodways 2.0.” My research focuses on the most visible and popular example of Foodways 2.0—mobile food trucks—and explores the relationship between social media and pop-up restaurants, underground restaurants, underground markets, and other underground sellers.
For more information and to register for the CHASA conference, please go here. You can download a conference program here (PDF). For information about other upcoming events on Keep Food Legal's calendar--including panel presentations at University of Chicago Law School, New York University, and Harvard University Law School--please visit our Events page.
Last month Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin shared keynote duties at a Chapman University School of Law conference, Food Fight, that was organized and sponsored by the school's Nexus Journal of Law & Policy. Linnekin's complete remarks--which focus on the direct role food and food rights played in shaping the text of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights--are now online.
Here's some background on Linnekin's topic:
Recently a Wisconsin state judge, a federal appeals court judge, and the FDA have advanced the argument that Americans do not possess the right to make their own food choices. Both the judges and the agency based their closely aligned arguments on claims that federal and state government power trump individual rights because such rights exist neither expressly in the Constitution nor are deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions. On these facts both the judges and the FDA are wrong.
My research into the origins of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights has led me to uncover fundamental linkages between these founding documents and negative rights Americans have in food. Indeed, many of our most important rights as Americans--including several enshrined in the Bill of Rights--are traceable directly to food.
Americans do in fact possess the right to make their own food choices. As I will describe in my presentation, this right is deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions. I will also discuss some basic parameters and implications of this right.
To see previous and upcoming speaking appearance's, check out the Keep Food Legal events schedule here.