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The global food economy

By Tony Weiss
Published by Zed Books
Website: www.zedbooks.co.uk
2007, 217pp, ISBN 978 1 84277 795 4 Pb, £16.99

How can obesity and malnourishment co-exist in a global food market? How can both grain surpluses and famine prevail in a global society? Jean Zeigler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, sums up the need for action to tackle the crises and contradictions in the global food economy starkly: "It is an outrage that in the 21st century one child under the age of five will die every five seconds from hunger-related diseases...Yet where is the fight against hunger?"

Compact and readable, Tony Weiss confronts, head-on the forces that have brought about the paradoxes in the production and distribution of food around the world.

His analysis documents the uphill battle of import-dependent farmers in less-developed countries as they deal with multinational corporations; government subsidies paid to producers in richer nations that make it difficult for unsupported producers to compete; the environmental impact of the extant grain-livestock complex; and the role of the WTO in enforcing the status quo. In effect, Weiss takes a detailed look at how this situation arose, became compounded and now how it can be changed in favour of a more humane food economy.

Date published: March 2008


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