Synopses & Reviews
Food is one of the most basic resources that humans need for daily survival. Forty percent of the world’s population gains a livelihood from agriculture and we all consume food. Yet control over this fundamental resource is concentrated in relatively few hands. The 2008 food price crisis illustrated both the volatility and vulnerability built into the current global food system; at the height of the crisis, the number of hungry people on the planet climbed to over 1 billion. At the same time, there are serious ecological consequences that stem from an increasingly industrial model of agriculture that has spread worldwide.
This book aims to contribute to a fuller understanding of the forces that influence and shape the current global food system. Author Jennifer Clapp explores how corporate control, inequitable international agricultural trade rules, and the financialization of farm commodities have each had a fundamental influence on the practices that dominate today’s global food system. By contrast, farmers and consumers, particularly in the developing world, have had little voice to change the rules of the game. But movements are emerging to challenge the dominant global system. The extent to which these alternative movements can displace it, however, remains to be seen.
About the Author
Jennifer Clapp is professor and CIGI Chair in global environmental governance in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments page viii
List of Abbreviations x
List of Figures and Tables xiii
1 Unpacking the World Food Economy 1
2 The Rise of a Global Industrial Food Market 24
3 Uneven Agricultural Trade Rules 57
4 Transnational Corporations 90
5 Financialization of Food 125
6 Can the World Food Economy Be Transformed? 158
Selected Readings 203