From the Editor – Issue 69

Our 21st-century world, strongly shaped by technology, is faced with many challenging and complex issues. Among them are

  • Food production and distribution
  • Health care that is cost effective, fairly available, and appropriate
  • Environmental/climate issues
  • The stabilization of the economy

All of the data made accessible by today’s technology does not seem to provide the insight to gain agreement on how to address these issues, as I discuss in Technology Watch.

We will focus on the first of these challenges, and food production and distribution in this issue. In some parts of the world, food shortages lead to starvation, while in other parts of the world too much of the wrong kinds of food leads to obesity. Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman address “Why the world’s poorest starve in an age of plenty” in their excellent book, Enough, which is reviewed in this issue. Michael Pollan discusses the issues of industrial food production and the alternatives in his book, The Omivore’s Dilemma, also reviewed here.

To get a different view on industrial food production, we visited with Greg Page, CEO of Cargill, perhaps the world’s largest industrial food producer. We asked him most of the hard questions raised in the two books, and he provides his perspective. To consider another view on the subject, we met with Peter Dill (organic farmer, community organizer, lawyer) in a second Conversation that will be posted in early April.

There are ethical issues related to the production and distribution of food, and we have tried to offer multiple perspectives for you to consider. We look forward to your comments on these difficult and current challenges.

The next issue will feature a Conversation with Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company. The automotive industry has been one of the segments hardest hit by the economic times. Both General Motors and Chrysler have been taken over by the government to keep them operating, and Toyota is in serious trouble with recalls and cover-ups. Ford has stood out as the automaker that has remained solvent and is turning a profit. Mulally shares how they have done this.

Looking further ahead, the issue after this will focus on banking. We have scheduled a conversation with Marshall Carter, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Group and retired CEO and chairman of State Street Bank and Trust Company, Boston. We will add some other perspectives to that issue as well.


Al Erisman
Executive Editor

P.S., We have made it easy to comment on each article posted. We look forward to your perspective as well.