Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know®
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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.
The second edition of Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know® has been thoroughly updated to reflect the latest developments and research on today's global food landscape, including biofuels, the international food market, food aid, obesity, food retailing, urban agriculture, and food safety. The second edition also features an expanded discussion of the links between water, climate change, and food, as well as farming and the environment. New chapters look at livestock, meat and fish and the future of food politics.
Paarlberg's book challenges myths and critiques 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.
What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
consumption. There was a shortage of rice available in international markets due to temporary export restrictions, but there was not a shortage of rice overall. Fortunately, only about 5 percent of global rice consumption is satisfied through world trade, so the high export prices of 2008 had severely damaging effects on only limited numbers of consumers worldwide. In any given year, bad weather will cause food production in some countries to decline, and 2007 was no exception. Ukraine and
that most countries can and do produce for themselves or can begin to produce. More than 100 countries around the world produce wheat, many for export. In contrast to petroleum, which does not lose its value if left in the ground, food loses value after harvest because it is costly to store without spoilage. Also in contrast to petroleum, food can cause human starvation if withheld, placing a unique stigma on the state that withholds the food. In negotiations with North Korea over food aid, the
subsequently fell, which of course they soon did. The 2008 bill also included new funding for nutrition programs, research on organic agriculture and specialty crops, conservation measures, and block grants to promote horticultural products. There was something for everybody, making passage over the president’s veto a certainty. Why does the government subsidize ethanol? Outside the farm bill process, Congress since the 1970s has also enacted subsidies to promote the use of corn to produce
cafeterias—that is food politics. Food politics is similar to other kinds of politics in many respects. In democratic societies, it is based on the actions of elected officials inside the state pressured by organized social groups outside government, whereas in authoritarian or one-party states, it emerges from official rulings issued by elites who are autonomous and nonaccountable. Yet food politics is also different from other kinds of politics because of the way food and farming sectors
beginning in the 1980s among advocates for social justice and environmental protection. These groups began to argue that agricultural modernization could be dangerous: Only large farmers would profit, and increased chemical use would harm the environment. Once again, this perspective did not fit Africa, where fertilizer use was too low rather than too high and where nearly all farmers were smallholders with adequate access to land. Yet under the influence of such views, U.S. assistance to