Synopses & Reviews
The politics of food is changing fast. In rich countries, obesity is now a more serious problem than hunger. Consumers once satisfied with cheap and convenient food now want food that is also safe, nutritious, fresh, and grown by local farmers using fewer chemicals. Heavily subsidized and underregulated commercial farmers are facing stronger push back from environmentalists and consumer activists, and food companies are under the microscope. Meanwhile, agricultural success in Asia has spurred income growth and dietary enrichment, but agricultural failure in Africa has left one-third of all citizens undernourished - and the international markets that link these diverse regions together are subject to sudden disruption.
Food Politics carefully examines and explains the most important issues on today's global food landscape, including international food prices, famines, chronic hunger, the Malthusian race between food production and population growth, international food aid, "green revolution" farming, obesity, farm subsidies and trade, agriculture and the environment, agribusiness, supermarkets, food safety, fast food, slow food, organic food, local food, and genetically engineered food.
Politics in each of these areas has become polarized over the past decade by conflicting claims and accusations from advocates on all sides. Paarlberg's book maps this contested terrain, challenging myths and critiquing more than a few of today's fashionable beliefs about farming and food. For those ready to have their thinking about food politics informed and also challenged, this is the book to read.
"The author is an academic, not a journalist, and his efforts to get the food facts right ring through every page. Paarlberg challenges many of the ideas that are frequently voiced - but rarely questioned - in popular food discourse...Although many of his claims call into question sacrosanct principles in activist and academic circles, there are good reasons to hear Paarlberg out; he backs up his arguments with data, and writes based on decades of experience as a political scientist and policy analyst working in the field." --Nature Geoscience
"Paarlberg's book is a timely contribution to the discussion about the politics of food, both domestically and internationally. Although advocates of alternative farming methods are unlikely to agree with Food Politics, they should nevertheless read it. Paarlberg is a serious, knowledgeable scholar." --Journal of Politics
"[Paarlberg] is one of the most distinguished academics in the field of global food politics and is able to draw on a lifetime of research. Although the book is clearly underpinned by a considerable body of evidence, the writing style is engaging and easily digestible. It would serve as an excellent introduction to the topic for students." --International Studies Review
"Going well beyond its title, Food Politics addresses key questions about agriculture, including consumers' concerns about food safety, producers' concerns about price volatility, and taxpayers' concerns about subsidies. Paarlberg organizes his material around a long list of questions about food policies and practices...His answers to these and many other questions are accessible and nuanced." --Foreign Affairs
"A much needed corrective to a clanging bandwagon of culinary protest that asks well-off consumers to drop out, stay local and go green, while the rest of the world worries about its next bowl of rice." --The Texas Observer
"The great strength of Food Politics is the breadth of topics covered. For an undergraduate class, this book will provide students exposure to the world of food production and provisioning and the underlying political and social ideas and research that shape food and our relationship to itEL.As the subtitle suggests, Paarlberg covers almost every topic that one should know about food. Additionally, Paarlberg uses simple but precise language to cover the vast array of food topics...The strengths of the book encouraged me to use it in a directed readings course." --The American Journal of Agricultural Economics
About the Author
is the B.F. Johnson Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. A leading authority on food policy, his books include Starved for Science
, Policy Reform in American Agriculture
, and Fixing Farm Trade
Table of Contents
Chapter One: An Overview of Food Politics
Chapter Two: Food Production and Population Growth
Chapter Three: The Politics of High Food Prices
Chapter Four: The Politics of Chronic Hunger
Chapter Five: The Politics of Famine
Chapter Six: The Green Revolution Controversy
Chapter Seven: Food Aid and Food Power
Chapter Eight: The Politics of Obesity
Chapter Nine: The Politics of Farm Subsidies and Trade
Chapter Ten: Agriculture, the Environment, and Farm Animals
Chapter Eleven: Agribusiness, Supermarkets, and Fast Food
Chapter Twelve: Organic and Local Food
Chapter Thirteen: Food Safety and Genetically Engineered Food
Chapter Fourteen: Who Governs the World Food System?
List of Acronyms Used in Book
Suggestions for Further Reading