05/08/2009 - Even if you don't dig on swine, it has become impossible to avoid them. If you're not pummeled by television reports about Wall Street oinkers, you're bombarded by talk-radio rants about congressional pork and newspaper dispatches about swine flu.
The bacon-flavored themes probably aren't purposefully repetitive, but that's OK because these seemingly unrelated story lines share a common bond: They are each part of what might be called piggish capitalism - an economic theory that mixes subsidization, consolidation and deregulation - and it endangers us all.
Whether or not swine flu is ultimately attributed to this company is less important than the justifiable reason factory farming is a suspect. As Pew Charitable Trusts documented in 2008, researchers have long warned that industrial agriculture means high concentrations of waste, overuse of antibiotics and "continual cycling of viruses and other animal pathogens in large herds" - all factors that increase the possibility of diseases like swine flu.
Read the full editorial Piggish Capitalism Endangers Us All on the San Francisco Chronicle's Web site.