The global foodscape

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.

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3 comments

  1. Finally, the UN, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization aim to limit aggressive moves by China, South Korea and the Gulf States who have been scrambling to buy vast amounts of agricultural land in Africa, amidst the growing global concerns over food security. This new “code of conduct” aims to slow the new scramble for Africa. According to the UN the code is expected to try and “break the secrecy” surrounding these deals and ensure locals’ rights are not being trampled by big corporations or governments and that “Africans’ food security is not further threatened”. In the past we have seen that most of these deals were quite secretive and that there were no clear benefits for those living in the regions of Africa were land was bought up. I believe that these moves by “developed” countries in some cases can only be described as neo-colonialism.

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  2. I was taught this module in 2009 by Alastair Campbell. To say it was life changing would be an understatement. Every article I read, every story told and every fact I learned was amazing. He showed us not only what was happening, but what did happen in the past and what could happen in relation to Food. One of the most beneficial modules I have ever experienced.

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  3. Sorry that was Alastair Fraser my phone auto completed the name.

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