The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming

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Zed Books, Jul 15, 2007 - Political Science - 217 pages

The Global Food Economy examines the human and ecological cost of what we eat.

The current food economy is characterized by immense contradictions. Surplus 'food mountains', bountiful supermarkets, and rising levels of obesity stand in stark contrast to widespread hunger and malnutrition. Transnational companies dominate the market in food and benefit from subsidies, whilst farmers in developing countries remain impoverished. Food miles, mounting toxicity and the 'ecological hoofprint' of livestock mean that the global food economy rests on increasingly shaky environmental foundations.

This book looks at how such a system came about, and how it is being enforced by the WTO. Ultimately, Weis considers how we can find a way of building socially just, ecologically rational and humane food economies.

 

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While Weis has lots of good statistics his presentation of modern farming, especially American Midwestern farming, leaves a lot to be desired. From the descriptions he cherry picks to the laws he chooses to ignore about animal feeding it is clear this book is incredibly biased. He is a fan of big words and even bigger sentences. Weis does a great job of illustrating how national agricultural corporations have come into power but he frames it so a reader who knows nothing of agriculture would think they are evil and out solely for profit, the producer and land be damned. His descriptions of modern animal farming leave a lot to be desired if you have ever been on a farm and he does little to mention that GMOs have had tons of research, mostly independent, that verify they are safe; nor does he talk about how Mark Lynas, the man behind the anti-GMO EU, has changed his position on them. Great read if you are setting out to hate the "agro-industrial grain-livestock complex" or already do, but it is too biased for me to want to recommend it to anyone. 

Contents

Preface
11
The temperate grainlivestock complex
47
From colonialism to global market integration
89
The battle for the future of farming
161
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About the author (2007)

Tony Weis is an associate professor in geography at the University of Western Ontario. He is also the author of The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock (Zed 2013), as well as co-editor of A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice (2014) and Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty (2014).

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