There were seven main accusations, but three of them stuck out to me in particular. First, like mentioned before, it “fails to provide citations or even, in most cases, enough information in the text to identify probably sources”. In an environment like a university where citation is crucial, I see why many professors would be up in arms about a published piece that did not directly cite after each quote. However, I read parts of “Food Politics, What Everyone Needs to Know” previous to reading the letters to and from the publisher, and I did not feel it was an unreliable source of information. I identify more with Paarlberg’s side of the argument that he clarified his resources, credited them, and even admitted to inevitable personal bias.
The second accusation that seemed founded was that Paarlberg “selectively presents evidence that affirms the author’s thesis while omitting widely known and vitally important developments related to the author’s core themes”. In the letter of response, Paarlberg and OUP openly confess that he is subject to personal bias, which is expected when writing a book with statistical information that is intended to persuade the reader towards his point of view. For instance, he presented information for both pros and cons of the green revolution. He makes it clear that he is an advocate for the green revolution, along with most farmers and lawmakers. However, he also presents information about the damage that unnatural processes have made on the environment.
Third, the final apparent accusation was that Paarlberg “uses prejudicial descriptors of opponents”. One thing that could have contributed to this problem was that he covered so many topics that it was not possible to go into much depth. Personally, I could see this one book being separated into three more detailed books: one about politics, one about economics, and one about society. Anyway, another reason that added to his accused prejudice could have been slight...
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