Further population growth will mean greater demand for food. But exactly how that extra food is going to be produced is by no means clear (certainly, one “solution” being pursued is to grab land). According to the giant, global, powerful corporations charged with making a profit from food production – which, depending on how you look at is, is a fact of life under capitalism that we must just get on with, or a feature of social life that we must move beyond – there won’t be extra food without policy change. What they want is ‘freedom’ from certain types of government intervention and yet they also want a whole raft of new interventions that will make their lives easier. They want a certain world to be created, not just policy change. Dow Chemicals is a case in point. Watch their video below.
(And go to their web site, watch the videos there, and check their political messages. In a nutshell they say: “stop government interventions”.)
This is the raw yet sweet, piercingly sharp and oh so enticingly manipulative political-economy of food production in the contemporary period. Dow says the issues it faces are about its “growing responsibility”; but it’s really all about its share price (rising again) which tells us that this is just public relations spin allied with political pressure on governments around the world to, first, become “open” and accept that food security, an age-old job for states, has been privatized and, second, to stop bothering corporations (as, for example, the Obama administration has threatened to do to the seed producing giants, such as Monsanto… and Dow Chemicals).
These are some key elements of what Philip McMichael calls the “corporate food regime” (see reflection on this by Akram-Lodhi) – a key element of the new global foodscape. Munch on that.