We all need food to survive, and forty percent of the world's population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. Yet control over food is concentrated in relatively few hands. Turmoil in the world food economy in recent decades has highlighted a number of vulnerabilities and contradictions inherent in the way we currently organize this vital sector. Extremes of both undernourishment and overnourishment affect a significant proportion of humanity. And attempts to increase production through the spread of an industrial model of agriculture has resulted in serious ecological consequences.
The fully revised and expanded third edition of this popular book explores how the rise of industrial agriculture, corporate control, inequitable agricultural trade rules, and the financialization of food have each enabled powerful actors to gain fundamental influence over the practices that dominate the world food economy and result in uneven consequences for both people and planet. A variety of movements have emerged that are making important progress in establishing alternative food systems, but, as Clapp's penetrating analysis ably shows, significant challenges remain.
Figures and Tables
Chapter 1: Unpacking the World Food Economy
Chapter 2: The Rise of a Global Industrial Food Market
Chapter 3: Expanding Food Trade
Chapter 4: Growing Corporate Control
Chapter 5: The Financialization of Food
Chapter 6: Justice and Sustainability in the World Food Economy?
Jennifer Clapp is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo
"Jennifer Clapp has done it again. Bravo! A true classic, Food is breathtaking in its scope and insight. In bringing this brilliant work up to the moment, Clapp demystifies the global food economy so we can all realize our power to transform it."
– Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and co-author of World Hunger: 10 Myths
"The global food economy may seem remote from daily experience, but Jennifer Clapp explains how it affects every aspect of what we eat and, therefore, our health and welfare. Best of all, she provides the information and tools advocates can use to redesign the global food economy to promote fair trade, food justice, and food sovereignty."
– Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and author of Soda Politics
"In the third edition of this invaluable text, Jennifer Clapp synthesizes the latest literature in a rapidly changing and vital field, in ways that are rigorous, accessible, and always thought-provoking. From the end of the Second World War to the thick of the climate emergency, Food tells the story of the modern food system with signature clarity and sophistication."
– Raj Patel, University of Texas at Austin
"Food is detailed, it is engrossing, and it is clear. The documentation of the political and economic motivations that have shaped the current food system over the past decades is enlightening for the scientific food community and the general public."
– Nature Food
Reviews of previous editions:
"In this admirably clear exposition Clapp explains the increasing 'financialisation' of and speculation in food commodities. Will sub-prime eaters be blamed for some future market crash? It makes you think twice about a second breakfast."
– The Guardian
"Clapp explains in a clear and concise way that food is not only a simple source of nourishment, but it also represents a political issue that connects us all. Definitely a good guide for anyone who is trying to orientate themselves in the economic global jumble."
– Global Journal
"In an increasingly complex argument that Clapp does well to unmuddy, she shows how the development of the world food economy is not the full picture – hers is a story that needs to be heard."
– Irish Examiner
"Clapp does a fantastic job in opening up a space herself to act upon global injustices in the world food economy by shortening the mental distance that exists between us, food consumers, and the social, economic and ecological relationships associated with the food we eat."
– Global Policy Journal
"An outstanding and accessible book for courses in food politics, globalization, economics, or international relations."
– Agriculture and Human Values
"Clapp draws from her vast knowledge of economics, politics, and the environment to write insightfully about the events that contributed to the development of the world food economy."
– Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures
"Clapp's work provides a concise, accessible analysis of the complex system that surrounds one of the most basic of necessities yet offers sufficient depth to actas an introductory text for those who wish to further understandthe food system."
– Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development
"Clapp's concise, accessible prose, and her deep engagement with the subject matter should ensure that this book enjoys a readership well beyond the academy."
– Organization and Environment
"An excellent diagnostic about the constitution, evolution and the challenges of the global food system, making it indispensible for development practitioners, policy makers, social movements, academics interested in learning about the emerging field of food studies, as well as all those who would like to understand (and eventually transform) the distribution of power in the food system."
– Journal of International Development
"The new must-read primer for those trying to make sense of the suddenly turbulent world of drought and food shortages, price spikes and financial crises, biofuels and commodity index funds, food riots, and social unrest."
– Review of Policy Research
"A relevant and current text that creates a great common platform from which to jump to explore community governance of the food system."
– Economic Geography
"A fascinating glimpse inside the food machine."
– Cost Sector Catering
"Covering the most salient features of the global food economy in just a couple of hundred pages is a pretty daunting task, but it is one which Jennifer Clapp manages to achieve [...] A finely detailed and well researched volume."
– Morning Star
"A sharp, concise and satisfyingly detailed field-guide to the hegemons of the world food economy."
– Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing
"Jennifer Clapp explains what happens when food is no longer considered a mere source of nourishment or cultural element but is transformed into a fungible commodity. Clapp unpacks and clarifies the mind-numbing complexities of transnational corporations, international trade, and financial markets. Best of all, the book provides precisely the information and tools advocates need to redesign the global food economy to promote fair trade, food justice, and food sovereignty."
– Marion Nestle, New York University
"This excellent book explains why food has become a hot political issue on the global stage. The author clearly knows her subject and offers an insightful, engaging, and highly accessible introduction to the global food economy."
– Robert Falkner, London School of Economics and Political Science