The Consumer is King

On this blog, I often defend (or at least try to explain why farmers use) a variety of food and agricultural technologies.  My goal is often to try to get people to think a little more deeply about the benefits of technology rather than succumb to knee-jerk reactions against anything "unnatural."  

On the other side, however, it is useful for agricultural producers to remember they won't be existence for long if they can't grow something consumers are ultimately willing to buy.  This point was made made forcefully by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations over 200 years ago (HT: Cafe Hayek):

Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.  The maxim is so perfectly self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it.  But in the mercantile system the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.