Food is Different

Why we Must Get the WTO out of Agriculture

By Peter M. Rosset  

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This book explains what is happening to the world’s agricultural systems and farmers under the impact of neoliberal economics. What is at stake is the very future of our global food system and each country’s agricultural and farming systems. The livelihoods of rural people in both industrial and developing countries are under threat. The book explains what is happening to agriculture in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiating context, and unravels the complex ways in which agriculture in the North is subsidized. It sets out an alternative vision for agricultural policy, which would take it completely out of the WTO’s ambit. Food is not just another commodity, but something that goes to the heart of human livelihood, culture and security.

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  • Introduction: Trade versus Development?
  • Trade Negotiations and Trade Liberalization
  • Key Issues, Misconceptions, Points of Disagreement and Alternative Paradigms
  • The Confusing Case of King Cotton
  • Current Status of the WTO Negotiations
  • The Impacts of Liberalized Agricultural Trade
  • Policy Alternatives for a Different Agriculture


  • Peter M. Rosset

    Dr. Peter Rosset is based in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he is a researcher at the Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano (Center of Studies for Rural Change in Mexico), and co-coordinator of the Land Research Action Network. He is also Global Alternatives Associate of the Center for the Study of the Americas and an affiliated scholar of the University of California, both in Berkeley, California, USA. He is the former co-director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy in Oakland, California.

    He previously served as executive director of the Stanford University Regional Center in Chiapas, Mexico. During the 1980s he spent eight years in Central America, where he led several sustainable agriculture projects. Peter has taught at Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, the National Agrarian University of Nicaragua, the Havana Agricultural University (ISCAH) and the University of Las Villas, both in Cuba, and the Tropical Center for Agricultural Research & Education (CATIE) in Costa Rica. Peter has also been a Fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and is a Board Member of Focus on the Global South in Thailand.

    He is a food rights activist, agro ecologist and rural development specialist with a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His published books include The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World; Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba; America Needs Human; and World Hunger: 12 Myths, Second Edition.

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