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Food Price Inflation as Redistribution: Towards a New Analysis of Corporate Power in the World Food System

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  • Joseph Baines

Abstract

This paper outlines the contours of a new research agenda for the analysis of food price crises. By weaving together a detailed quantitative examination of changes in corporate profit shares with a qualitative appraisal of the restructuring in business control over the organisation of society and nature, the paper points to the rapid ascendance of a new power configuration in the global political economy of food: the Agro-Trader nexus. The agribusiness and grain trader firms that belong to the Agro-Trader nexus have not been mere 'price takers', instead they have actively contributed to the inflationary restructuring of the world food system by championing and facilitating the rapid expansion of the first-generation biofuels sector. As a key driver of agricultural commodity price rises, the biofuels boom has raised the Agro-Trader nexus's differential profits and it has at the same time deepened global hunger. These findings suggest that food price inflation is a mechanism of redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Baines, 2014. "Food Price Inflation as Redistribution: Towards a New Analysis of Corporate Power in the World Food System," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 79-112, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cnpexx:v:19:y:2014:i:1:p:79-112
    DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2013.768611
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2009. "Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157973.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sylvie Bonny, 2017. "Corporate Concentration and Technological Change in the Global Seed Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-25, September.
    2. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Capitalist income and hierarchical power: A gradient hypothesis," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2018/06, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    3. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2017/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    4. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2018. "The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(3), pages 1-39.
    5. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(5), pages 1-78.
    6. Baines, Joseph, 2015. "Fuel, Feed and the Corporate Restructuring of the Food Regime," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 295-321.
    7. Baines, Joseph, 2014. "Wal-Mart's Power Trajectory: A Contribution to the Political Economy of the Firm," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(1), pages 79-109.
    8. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Capitalist Income and Hierarchical Power," SocArXiv u8epv, Center for Open Science.
    9. Baines, Joseph & Hager, Sandy Brian, 2019. "Financial Crisis, Inequality, and Capitalist Diversity: A Critique of the Capital as Power Model of the Stock Market," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    10. Baines, Joseph, 2014. "The Ethanol Boom and the Restructuring of the Food Regime," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2014/03, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    11. McMahon, James, 2018. "Is Hollywood a Risky Business? A Political Economic Analysis of Risk and Creativity," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-24.
    12. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2016. "Capitalizing Obesity," EconStor Preprints 157858, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    13. Baines, Joseph, 2017. "Accumulating through Food Crisis? Farmers, Commodity Traders and the Distributional Politics of Financialization," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 497-537.

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