This op-ed was originally released by the Des Moines Register on April 9, 2023 by guest columnist and Antenna VP, Neal Urwitz. Read it in full, here.
Back in college, I thought positive economic externalities – i.e., when the benefit of a transaction or economic opportunity spilled over to people not otherwise involved – were mostly confined to graphs in textbooks and the occasional vaccination campaign. Companies, after all, are pretty adept at squeezing all the value they can out of any transaction.
Yet positive externalities exist, and America’s farms are home to the most important example. Farmers will drive two essential efforts in the coming years. First, they must produce enough food to feed 10 billion people by 2050. Second, if they are going to help with climate change mitigation, they will need to lower their greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.
Feeding the world and preventing the planet from burning are quintessential positive externalities. Therefore, we will have to start paying farmers to adopt technologies that can help them do both. It is, quite literally, textbook economics.
Continue reading on the Des Moines Register.