The Global Food Economy

The Battle for the Future of Farming

By Tony Weis  

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The modern food industry is a paradox: surplus “food mountains” sit alongside global malnutrition; the developed world subsidized its own agriculture while pressurizing the developing to liberalize at any cost; and an increasingly aggressive export competition is accompanied by a growing reliance on imports in many countries. The WTO’s uneven application of neoliberal economics to food production is relatively new, and the consequences of mounting deficits, rising “food miles” and social upheaval are untested but ominous. In response to this, Weis sets out some answers to the central question: how can we build a sustainable and humane system of food production and distribution?

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Contents

  • Introduction
  • Construction of Food Import Dependencies: The Marginals
  • Divergent Agrarian Transformations in the South: The Powerhouse
  • The Trajectory of Global Agro-production and Trade
  • The Multilateral Regulation of Agriculture: Entrenching Unevenness
  • Where Now?

Authors

  • Tony Weis

    University of Western Ontario

    Tony Weis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Western Ontario. In 2003-04, he was Senior Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Guyana. Tony’s research interests include agrarian change/food systems/small farming, political ecology, land reform/social movements and Caribbean political economy. His current research examines how global agro-production and trade patterns are interacting with the spatial marginality of small farmers, related social and environmental problems, and struggles for land reform. In general, he combines critical analyses of political economic structures and the historical foundations of uneven landscapes with a locally contoured approach that emphasizes the importance of peasant interpretations in understanding both problems and possibilities for change. Much of his research is in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica and Guyana. He also contributes to local activist networks involved in environmental and social justice issues.