Markets vs. Malthus: Food Security and the Global Economy
AbstractIn the past four years, rising world food prices and the global economic downturn increased the ranks of the world’s food insecure from 848 million to 925 million by September 2010, reversing decades of slow yet steady progress in reducing hunger. While the human costs have been considerable, the political consequences have been significant as well, fueling concerns of two skeptical groups, Neo-Malthusians and food sovereignty advocates. Hendrix assesses the claims of both. On the Neo-Malthusian position, he finds that while population growth and economic development contribute somewhat to price increases, there are few structural, resource-based impediments to increasing aggregate agricultural production. The biggest near-term threats to food security are not dwindling agricultural inputs and agricultural trade, but rather the familiar problems of poverty and political barriers to market access—in particular, the distortions created by agricultural policy in the United States and European Union. A robust trading system is the best way to address current food security problems. In light of forecast changes in global patterns of agricultural productivity, a robust trading system will become even more important to ensuring that a world undergoing climate change will be able to feed itself.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Policy Briefs with number PB11-12.
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2011-08-02 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2011-08-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-PKE-2011-08-02 (Post Keynesian Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Reed, A. J. & Hanson, Kenneth & Elitzak, Howard & Schluter, Gerald, 1997.
"Changing Consumer Food Prices: A User's Guide to ERS Analyses,"
156805, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Reed, Albert J. & Hanson, Kenneth & Elitzak, Howard & Schluter, Gerald E., 1997. "Changing Consumer Food Prices: A User's Guide to ERS Analyses," Technical Bulletins 33574, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Baffes, John, 2007.
"Oil spills on other commodities,"
Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 126-134, September.
- Ferrucci, Gianluigi & Jiménez-Rodríguez, Rebeca & Onorante, Luca, 2010. "Food price pass-through in the euro area The role of asymmetries and non-linearities," Working Paper Series 1168, European Central Bank.
- Mitchell, Donald, 2008. "A note on rising food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4682, The World Bank.
- Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2009.
"Famine in North Korea Redux?,"
Journal of Asian Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 384-395, September.
- Timmer, C. Peter, 2010. "Reflections on food crises past," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-11, February.
- William R. Cline, 2007. "Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4037.
- Baffes, John, 2009. "More on the energy / non-energy commodity price link," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4982, The World Bank.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peterson Institute webmaster).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.