David K. Williams, Jr.
I take issue with several assertions in Stephanie Paige Ogburn's "Perspective" piece in today's Denver Post, "Big beef taking the lion's share."
I will point out only one. It exemplifies the other issues. Ms. Ogburn writes, "Many chicken farmers these days are forced, contractually, to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in chicken houses..."
First, contracts are voluntary transactions. To say someone is "forced" to live up to an agreement they made freely is a misuse of the word "force."
Second, it is not true. No one is forced to abide by a contract. A party can always stop performing its duties under an agreement, subject to paying damages to the complying party. Many businesses break contracts every day. If it makes more economic sense to pay the damages than to abide by the previously agreed terms, then the contract most certainly can be unilaterally ended.
For instance, professional sports teams often fire an employee, usually the head coach, before the term of an employment contract is up. The management makes a decision: "Yes, we have a contract with you for two more years to coach our team, but we are not going to allow you to do that. It hurts our business."
The team must pay the employee damages, but they can most certainly break the contract. So can chicken farmers. If the agreement does not make economic sense, they should not agree to it at all. If, after they agree to it, it no longer makes economic sense, they can - and should - bail.