Agrarian Change and Peasant Studies Series

Speculative Harvests

Financialization, Food, and Agriculture

by Jennifer Clapp and S. Ryan Isakson  

The centralization of finance and the corporatization of agriculture is having a very dramatic impact on the quality and availability of the food we eat.

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  • April 2018
  • ISBN: 9781773630236
  • 196 pages
  • $19.00
  • For sale in Canada
  • For sale in United States

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About the book

In Speculative Harvests, Clapp and Isakson investigate the evolving relationship between the agrifood and financial sectors, paying particular attention to how the contemporary process of financialization is reshaping agrarian development and food systems. Understood as the growing prevalence of financial actors, markets, motives and profits in an economy, financialization is a defining feature of modern-day capitalism that is reconfiguring the distribution of wealth and economic power in a variety of contexts across the globe. In a clear and accessible manner, Clapp and Isakson explain the character and ramifications of these changes for the world food economy and systematically detail how different elements of agrifood provisioning — including commodity trading, farmland tenure, the management of agricultural risk, and food trading, processing, and retailing — have been reconfigured for financial purposes.

Clapp and Isakson highlight the importance of confronting the financialization of food and agriculture, identify the challenges of conventional approaches to food system reform and consider innovative alternatives. Speculative Harvests is essential reading for food scholars and activists who not only seek a better understanding of the problems inherent to the contemporary food system but also are also in search of effective interventions towards its positive transformation.

Capitalism & Alternatives Global Studies & Development


Jennifer Clapp

Jennifer Clapp is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo.

S. Ryan Isakson

S. Ryan Isakson is an assistant professor of International Development Studies and Geography at the University of Toronto.


  • Series Editors’ Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms
  • What Is the Link Between Food and Finance?
  • Speculating on Commodities
  • The Financialization of Agricultural Risk Management
  • Farmland as a New Asset Class
  • Feeding Finance from Farm to Plate
  • Prospects for Governance and Re-Regulation
  • The Prospects for Change
  • Index


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