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A food regime analysis of the ‘world food crisis’


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  • Philip McMichael


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    The food regime concept is a key to unlock not only structured moments and transitions in the history of capitalist food relations, but also the history of capitalism itself. It is not about food per se, but about the relations within which food is produced, and through which capitalism is produced and reproduced. It provides, then, a fruitful perspective on the so-called ‘world food crisis’ of 2007–2008. This paper argues that the crisis stems from a long-term cycle of fossil-fuel dependence of industrial capitalism, combined with the inflation-producing effects of current biofuel offsets and financial speculation, and the concentration and centralization of agribusiness capital stemming from the enabling conjunctural policies of the corporate food regime. Rising costs, related to peak oil and fuel crop substitutes, combine with monopoly pricing by agribusiness to inflate food prices, globally transmitted under the liberalized terms of finance and trade associated with neoliberal policies. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 281-295

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:26:y:2009:i:4:p:281-295

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    Keywords: Food regime; Value relations; Social reproduction; Agrofuels; De-peasantization;


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    1. Harvey, David, 2003. "The New Imperialism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199264315.
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    Cited by:
    1. Francisco Martinez-Gomez & Gilberto Aboites-Manrique & Douglas Constance, 2013. "Neoliberal restructuring, neoregulation, and the Mexican poultry industry," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 495-510, December.
    2. Bellemare, Marc F., 2012. "As You Sow, So Shall You Reap: The Welfare Impacts of Contract Farming," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1418-1434.
    3. Robbins, M.J., 2013. "Locating food sovereignty: geographical and sectoral distance in the global food system," ISS Working Papers - General Series 557, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    4. André Magnan, 2012. "New avenues of farm corporatization in the prairie grains sector: farm family entrepreneurs and the case of One Earth Farms," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 161-175, June.
    5. Lyndal-Joy Thompson & Stewart Lockie, 2013. "Private standards, grower networks, and power in a food supply system," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 379-388, September.
    6. De la Cruz, R.J.G., 2012. "Land title to the tiller. Why it’s not enough and how it’s sometimes worse," ISS Working Papers - General Series 534, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.


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