Food sovereignty

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pages: 128 words: 38,187

The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff


3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, feminist movement, follow your passion, Food sovereignty, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, Khan Academy, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, performance metric, profit motive, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor

The World Bank tried for decades to implement Green Revolution programs in poor African countries, and these efforts not only failed, but left increased levels of inequality, landlessness, and ecological damage in their wake.39 AGRA policies are more sophisticated than the 1980s World Bank policies, but they trot out the same traditional-modern dichotomy, in which traditional (read: Backward) African farming practices are to blame for African poverty and malnutrition—a claim that doesn’t hold up to empirical scrutiny.40 Thus, African farmers should follow the modern (read: Smart) practices of Western farmers to increase productivity and pull themselves out of poverty.41 AGRA is an ongoing program and has generated sustained criticism from activists and political leaders around the world. In October 2014, representatives from six African countries and more than a dozen US food sovereignty groups convened the Africa–US Food Sovereignty Strategy Summit in Seattle. But the outcry against AGRA has had little impact, because the foundation has the resources to pursue any policy goals it wishes. It has used its money to gain support inside the UN and from numerous other foundations and private donors, and it is accountable to no one other than Bill and Melinda Gates. The Gateses play down their power by situating themselves within a global network of partners that includes farmers and community groups, but the farmers who would supposedly benefit from the program have almost no voice in it.

These new seeds will be supplied by new, local private seed retailers in formal seed markets and protected by intellectual property rights. The new “certified” seeds will require increased pesticide use, so the foundation is also supporting the creation of pesticide markets. (The Gates’s ownership of 500,000 shares in Monsanto may partially explain their enthusiasm for genetically modified seeds.) When AGRA was announced it sparked an outcry from scientists, development scholars, and food sovereignty activists from both the Global South and North.38 They argue that the Green Revolution hasn’t passed over Africa, as AGRA’s title suggests. The World Bank tried for decades to implement Green Revolution programs in poor African countries, and these efforts not only failed, but left increased levels of inequality, landlessness, and ecological damage in their wake.39 AGRA policies are more sophisticated than the 1980s World Bank policies, but they trot out the same traditional-modern dichotomy, in which traditional (read: Backward) African farming practices are to blame for African poverty and malnutrition—a claim that doesn’t hold up to empirical scrutiny.40 Thus, African farmers should follow the modern (read: Smart) practices of Western farmers to increase productivity and pull themselves out of poverty.41 AGRA is an ongoing program and has generated sustained criticism from activists and political leaders around the world.

“On the assumption that commercially successful systems equal food security and social well-being,” AGRA is proposing that African farmers (most of whom are too poor to buy seeds at any price) buy and use genetically modified seeds, which they are not allowed to reuse or share, as they have done for thousands of years.43 There are serious ecological and developmental dangers in monoculture farming, and agro-ecologists worry about the growing crisis in US and European farming models. All of these problems are brushed aside in the AGRA initiative. The right of countries and their populations to food sovereignty is ignored. People from the West are experts, and African farmers are thought to be too poor and oppressed to come up with solutions and strategies. The example of education in the United States is much the same. The Gateses and other education reformers have decided that the public education system in this country is broken. They say this over and over. It’s broken, and they will fix it.


pages: 329 words: 85,471

The Locavore's Dilemma by Pierre Desrochers, Hiroko Shimizu


air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, Community Supported Agriculture, edge city, Edward Glaeser, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, intermodal, invention of agriculture, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, land tenure, megacity, moral hazard, mortgage debt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, profit motive, refrigerator car, Steven Pinker, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl

That was enough to set off the protests. The Organic Consumers of America sent 10,000 emails damning Monsanto. Doudou Pierre, the “grassroots” National Coordinating Committee Member of the National Haitian Network for Food Sovereignty and Food Security, said: “We’re for seeds that have never been touched by multinationals.”1 U.S. writer Beverly Bell explains: “The Haitian social movement’s concern is not just about the dangers of chemicals and the possibility of future GMO imports. They claim that the future of Haiti depends on local production with local food for consumption, in what is called food sovereignty.”2 Church groups in the U.S. donated some 13,300 machetes and 9,200 hoes to, I guess, encourage traditional agriculture in Haiti. It’s worth noting that defenders of “traditional agriculture” are usually several generations removed from its practice.

option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=418; Josh Brem-Wilson. 2010 The Reformed Committee on World Food Security. A Briefing Paper for Civil Society (Section 1); and the websites of organizations such as La Via Campesina and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty 7 See, among others, Peter Rosset. 2008. “Food Sovereignty and the Contemporary Food Crisis.” Development 51 (4): 460–463. 8 Standard statements to this effect are found in Oakland Institute. 2008. The Food Crisis and Latin America, Policy Brief; and Frederic Mousseau. 2010. The High Food Price Challenge: A Review of Responses to Combat Hunger.

The EU recently allowed the planting of a genetically modified potato, and even though this tuber was intended for paper production and not for human consumption, the Italian Agriculture minister protested, vowing to “defend and safeguard traditional agriculture and citizen’s health.” It is no coincidence that the mention of “traditional agriculture” was given precedence in the Minister’s statement. The reluctance of much of the world to adopt biotechnology is not about the safety of the seed, but rather the preservation of “traditional agriculture” and what the Haitian protesters called food sovereignty. In large parts of the world, local trumps science, and people suffer as a result. The Obama administration has had much to say about local food. The First Lady has planted a garden, organic, of course, and the Department of Agriculture is spending 50 million or so on a program called Know Your Farmer. The effort is likely to disappoint: in fact, a suburban housewife determined to know this corn farmer is likely to be mortified by my looks, the way I smell, and my opinions.


pages: 193 words: 63,618

The Fair Trade Scandal: Marketing Poverty to Benefit the Rich by Ndongo Sylla


British Empire, carbon footprint, corporate social responsibility, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Doha Development Round, Food sovereignty, global value chain, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus

Besides, the ecological costs linked to international transport do not seem to be factored in by Fair Trade. By encouraging countries of the South to export specific goods (those produced in the North mainly), Fair Trade seems to paradoxically contribute to increasing human pressure on the environment. Finally, Fair Trade seems not to encourage relocation of production processes. It encourages producers in the South to promote cash crops at the expense of subsistence crops. This threatens their food sovereignty and slows the adoption of more autonomous modes of living. This strategy also contributes to the depletion of soils under the pressure of productivist agriculture. Conclusion The objections to Fair Trade that I have reviewed are often irreconcilable with one another because they stem from radically opposed doctrinal approaches. Nevertheless, whether or not we agree with their premises, 83 Sylla T02779 01 text 83 28/11/2013 13:04 the fair trade scandal each has an undeniable merit.

If developing countries themselves do not have the means to establish these social safety nets in favour of their populations, it would be unreasonable to expect this from Fair Trade; yet it is worth noting this, if only to demonstrate the limits of its approach. This being said, a second best solution and one that is less demanding could be, for instance, to encourage economic diversification and the achievement of the food sovereignty objective. In the absence of social safety nets, this initiative would at least enable producers and their families to possibly enjoy several sources of income and to reduce their food dependency. In the FT approach, these objectives are considered as secondary. Even though their importance may be recognised, they remain subordinate to the export of products in demand by the market. In principle, the FT system boosts economic diversification if the income effect – financial gains collected, freeing up time and inputs for other forms of production – is higher than the substitution effect (the income increase from Fairtrade leads to specialisation in FT products and the phasing out of other production).

This would be of little consequence, as for some such countries, only a limited number of agricultural products account for export revenue. For countries in this situation, it is crucial in the first instance to facilitate market access and to (re)introduce income stabilisation mechanisms. Beyond this, enhancing agricultural productivity should generally be encouraged for a number of reasons. Through this approach, they would first and foremost ensure food sovereignty and security, especially in countries with dynamic demography. 150 Sylla T02779 01 text 150 28/11/2013 13:04 conclusion This in turn can reduce the cost of food products for populations, alleviate the trade balance and facilitate a channelling of export revenue towards the import of basic intermediate goods. Refocusing agriculture around domestic concerns is, in my view, more profitablefor LDCs in the long term than an economic growth model based on agricultural exports.


Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution by Wendy Brown


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Food sovereignty, haute couture, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, late capitalism, means of production, new economy, obamacare, occupational segregation, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Wolfgang Streeck, young professional

Extractable in principle only, best practices bring with them the ends and values with which they are imbricated; by the experts’ own accounts, these are market values. Meanwhile, the aims they replace could include those of educating citizens and developing human beings with those of meeting investor or consumer demand in a university; or those of vitalizing democracy or securing the health of the indigent with those of compressing costs in municipal agencies; or those of producing food sovereignty, war recovery, sustainable resource use or access to the arts with those of branding and competitive positioning for nonprofits and NGOs. Of course best practices are selected and tailored for specific features or challenges of an operation — customer service, employee-driven product innovation, downsizing, management restructuring, outsourcing — but the criterion for a best practice is its help in achieving competitive advantage.

Organic, diversified, low-cost, ecologically sustainable wheat production in Iraq is finished.68 Half the free wheat seeds distributed in post-Saddam Iraq were for bread wheat; the other half was for pasta wheat, and pasta is no part of the Iraqi diet.69 Thus, in addition to making Iraqi farmers dependent on giant corporations whose seeds, licensing, and chemicals they must now purchase annually (and for which state subsidies P o l i t i c a l R at i o n a l i t y a n d G o v e rn a n c e   145 are available, while other farm subsidies were eliminated), they were being transformed from multicrop local food providers into monocrop participants in global import-export markets.70 Today, Iraqi farmers generate profits for Monsanto by supplying pasta to Texas school cafeterias, while Iraq has become an importer of staples formerly grown on its own soil. There is more to this heartbreaking story of the destruction of thousands of years of sustainable agriculture and of what some activists call “food sovereignty,” but let us fast-forward to one possible future. A similar experiment took place in India in the 1990s.71 Tens of thousands of farmers were lured into using genetically modified cotton seed by village-to-village agribusiness representatives promising bigger crops with export potential, something especially important at a time when neoliberal reforms were eliminating government price supports and subsidies for cotton production.

Thus, while it is certainly possible to imagine more ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable practices for Iraqi agriculture, these would be at odds with global markets and competition, 148  u n d o in g t h e d e m o s intellectual property rights, and new financing conventions, not to mention modernized agricultural techniques. Farming practices that are organic, biodiverse, small scale, cooperative, free of debt financing, and aimed at generating “food sovereignty” for the nation might be sensible from the perspective of how Iraqi wheat production could draw on past knowledge, materials, and techniques for a sustainable future. But insofar as they would make Iraq an outlier in the global economy, they could not qualify as best practices. Also visible in this story is the specific meshing of state and business aims through neoliberal governance, a meshing that exceeds the interlocking directorates or quid pro quo arrangements familiar from past iterations of capitalism.


pages: 273 words: 93,419

Let them eat junk: how capitalism creates hunger and obesity by Robert Albritton


Bretton Woods, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, the built environment, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile

Since the draconian structural adjustment policies increasingly imposed on developing countries from the 1980s, movements of self-protection against big capital’s tendency to drive people from the land and to leave them hungry have been particularly important. Now they are even more necessary as food 204 L E T T H E M E AT J U N K prices rise globally, and this is why Via Campesina and the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement have been so successful. Via Campesina’s call for “food sovereignty” is essentially an effort to find ways of insulating the rural poor from the rapaciousness of global capitalism by rebuilding healthy rural communities that are, at least to some degree, self-sufficient. At the same time, given the violent and exploitative history of colonialism and imperialism, and the devastation that this history has caused throughout the global South, it is also necessary to think about longer-term means to significantly redistribute wealth on a global scale – a redistribution that will only become possible and effective to the extent that international cooperation is far more advanced than it is today.

Coli 115 ecology 6–7, 24, 148, 161, 219 see also environment Ecuador 138 election campaigns (US) 185–6 El Salvador 159 empty calories 3, 5, 94 see also junk food enclosures of commons 12, 21 England 31, 44, 54 environment 152, 146–65 environmental costs 61, 148, 183 environmental debt 147 environmental degradation 61, 147, 151 environmental regulations 45 see also ecology Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 137, 151, 159, 192 equality x, 197 see also inequality erosion 157 ethanol 5, 15, 23, 107, 135, 147, 150–2, 154, 189, 212 Everglades 45, 100–1, 171, 216 exercise 104 export-oriented agriculture 125, 134–6, 141 externalities xii, 28, 208 see also social costs extinction 156 extreme weather 35, 153, 156, 158 F Factory Acts 31 factory farms 19, 29, 36, 150, 157 see also agriculture fair trade 204 254 INDEX family farms 8, 18, 19, 25, 42, 45, 49, 59, 69, 82, 83, 120, 123, 128–30, 138, 140–1, 144, 203 see also agriculture farm income 128–30 fashion 69 fast food 32, 92, 97–8, 109, 120 fast food chains 133, 120–2 feedlots 103 see also confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) field workers 126–8 Fiji Islands 176 fish 160 flourishing 6 food 10 food additives 63, 113 food aid 108 food crisis ix, x, 89 food disparagement laws 189 food inspection 112, 189 food prices ix, 5, 23, 41, 88, 108, 129, 135, 141–2, 150, 152, 187, 204 see also hunger, starvation, structural adjustment policies, subsidies food provisioning 164 food pyramid 188 food regime/system 6 food safety 189 food security 153 see also food prices, hunger, starvation, structural adjustment policies, subsidies food sovereignty 204 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ix, 89, 97, 153, 188 forced labour 124, 127 see also slavery fossil fuel 148, 151, 155 see also coal, petroleum Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 187 Frank Statement 191–2 freedom 47, 189 see also rights French revolution 2 G General Marshall 182 General Pershing 182 genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 118–19, 147, 161–3, 193 Bt crops 162 Roundup ready crops 162 global warming xi, 4, 5, 35, 147, 150, 154–6, 159, 179, 218 globalization 43–6, 71 glyposate 118–19 see also Roundup golden age 13, 52, 53 Gore, Al 100 government 183 government regulation 168, 193, 206 grain crops 155 green house gas emissions 142, 146, 148, 151, 155, 157 Greenland ice sheet 154 green revolution 58, 61, 115, 118, 124, 135, 149 green tobacco sickness 220 group of eight xii guaranteed annual income 35, 205, 210 guest workers 127, 140 H Haber–Bosch process 57 Haiti 128 Hammer, Armand 63 health 6, 16, 81, 92–4, 144, 174, 190–1, 210 high blood pressure 109 high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) 96, 101 historical analysis 13 historical directionality 12 homogenization 24, 33–7, 66 see also monoculture, species loss human flourishing 213 INDEX human rights 132 human right to food 197 see also rights Human Rights Watch 131, 138–9 hunger 4, 80, 89, 91, 105–8, 158, 204 see also starvation I identity 6, 10 island identity 46–7 see also subjectivity, individualism, possessive individualism ideology 74–5, 168, 182, 196 see also capitalist ideology illegal drugs 141 immigrant labour 40, 124, 126 see also guest workers, undocumented workers India 142 Indian Ocean 158 indifference to use-value 28, 29, 77 see also quality versus quantity individualism 26, 73–4, 166, 168, 170, 179 Indonesia 142, 155 industrial reserve army 39 inelasticity 24 inequality 8, 72, 134, 152, 180, 184, 194, 213 see also equality, poverty, poverty line, wages inner logic 12 see also abstract theory, deep structure/cause, pure capitalism intensification 30, 131 see also speed international cooperation 204, 207, 211 see also movements International Monetary Fund (IMF) 134 invisible hand 11 irrationality x, xi, 6, 29, 195, 202, 207 see also contradiction, rationality irrigation 157 255 Ivory Coast 138, 202 J jobs 126 job security 125–6 job turnover 131, 133 Joe Camel 171 Johnson, President L.


Global Financial Crisis by Noah Berlatsky


accounting loophole / creative accounting, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, energy security, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, market bubble, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, working poor

In the search for an alternative paradigm, Africa should revisit key documents, such as the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA), the African Alternative Framework to SAPs (AAF-SAPs), the Arusha Declaration on popular participation, and the Abuja Treaty, among others. An update of these documents and the integration of contributions made by the struggles of civil society organisations in the areas of gender equality, trade, finance, food sovereignty, human and social rights should help Africa come up with its own development paradigm. Africa and Africans should reclaim the debate on their development. Is it necessary to stress again that Africa’s regional and continental integration is one of the keys to its survival and long-term development? Because only a collective and concerted effort can help Africa overcome the multiple obstacles that lie on the road to an endogenous, people-centred, democratic and sustainable development.


pages: 614 words: 176,458

Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, call centre, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization,, food miles, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, informal economy, Just-in-time delivery, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, Northern Rock, Panamax, peak oil, refrigerator car, scientific mainstream, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce

It can be done through selling bags of subsidized compost, but at the current price of £10 for a 25 kilo sack, organic pig-feed justifies the transport a lot more than organic compost. The return of the backyard pig will not only sort out our food waste problems more importantly it will enhance the cultural life of the nation. The pig has always been a mainstay of the poor family’s independence and of a community’s food sovereignty. ‘Pigs for health’ was an English expression; ‘the pig pays the rent’ an Irish one. It is because of the centrality of the pig to the security and the aspirations of settled peasants – be they Papuan tribesmen, the labourers of Larkrise, or the negroes of Maryland – that its life, its death and its afterlife are invariably imbued with ritual or religious significance.34 ‘Stand by your Ham’ is a call that resonates more fully amongst a proud and independent peasantry than a bunch of whingeing factory farmers, some of whom have probably never cured a ham in their lives.

In 1997, he drew up for the FAO the table reproduced as Table 5 below which shows more graphically than any paragraph I could write how ecologically and socially damaging it is to place ownership of the world’s marine biomass in the hands of a few powerful and overcapitalized corporations. Table 5: The World’s Two Marine Fishing Industries – How They Compare Credit: David Thompson/FAO The one matter that Thomson’s chart doesn’t show is who eats the fish. One can be reasonably confident that fish caught by the small scale sector are feeding local people (though not necessarily all local people) and contributing to a region’s food sovereignty. The global fleet of factory trawlers, on the other hand, is an engine for hoovering up protein in certain parts of the world and ferrying it to consumers thousands of miles away who have the wherewithal to pay for it. And the flow of protein is from the waters of people who need it to the tables of people who don’t. Sacred Cows and Infernal Goats The term ‘waste’ is interesting, not so much for its derivation, from the Latin vastus meaning desolate, as for the modern meanings that have subsequently been assigned to it.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein


1960s counterculture, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

After all, the U.S. has more food than it knows what to do with, and still 50 million people are food insecure.”28 And he adds, “The tragedy here is that there are thousands of successful experiments, worldwide, showing how climate-smart agriculture can work. They’re characterized not by expensive fertilizer from Yara and proprietary seeds from Monsanto, but knowledge developed and shared by peasants freely and equitably.” And, Patel says, “In its finest moments, agroecology gets combined with ‘food sovereignty,’ with democratic control of the food system, so that not only is more food produced, but it’s distributed so that everyone gets to eat it too.”29 About That German Miracle . . . We now have a few models to point to that demonstrate how to get far-reaching decentralized climate solutions off the ground with remarkable speed, while fighting poverty, hunger, and joblessness at the same time.

In fact the slogan long embraced by this movement has been “System Change, Not Climate Change”—a recognition that these are the two choices we face.67 “The climate justice fight here in the U.S. and around the world is not just a fight against the [biggest] ecological crisis of all time,” Miya Yoshitani, executive director of the Oakland-based Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), explains. “It is the fight for a new economy, a new energy system, a new democracy, a new relationship to the planet and to each other, for land, water, and food sovereignty, for Indigenous rights, for human rights and dignity for all people. When climate justice wins we win the world that we want. We can’t sit this one out, not because we have too much to lose but because we have too much to gain. . . . We are bound together in this battle, not just for a reduction in the parts per million of CO2, but to transform our economies and rebuild a world that we want today.”68 This is what many liberal commentators get wrong when they assume that climate action is futile because it asks us to sacrifice in the name of far-off benefits.


pages: 717 words: 150,288

Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism by Stephen Graham


airport security, anti-communist, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, credit crunch, DARPA: Urban Challenge, defense in depth, deindustrialization, edge city, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, Food sovereignty, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Earth, illegal immigration, income inequality, knowledge economy, late capitalism, loose coupling, market fundamentalism, McMansion, megacity, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, peak oil, planetary scale, private military company, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, smart transportation, surplus humans, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, white flight

‘Nobody understands’, he said, ‘how 11 to 12 billion dollars a year [of US biofuel] subsidies in 2006 and protective [US] tariff polices have had the effect of diverting 100m tonnes of cereals from human consumption, mostly to satisfy a thirst for fuel for vehicles’.163 Worse still, state-supported biofuel expansion programmes in countries such as India and Indonesia were bringing about wide-scale deforestation (which sparked major bursts of greenhouse gases); an extension in the power of corporate agribusiness; and the forcible removal of indigenous and poor communities from their lands (which governments often class as ‘wastelands’). ‘Tens of millions of hectares worldwide have been converted to grow biofuels’, writes Almuth Ernsting. ‘Hundreds of millions of hectares are being eyed by biofuel corporations and lobbyists. The land-grab now underway has devastating impacts on food sovereignty and food security’.164 In response, mass evictions and mass protests have become common. Indonesia’s indigenous Orang Rimba community, for example, has held demonstrations against the deforestation of the Sumatran rain forest – which had sustained their semi-nomadic livelihoods for centuries – for biofuel palm-oil monoculture (Figure 9.14). As a result, many Orang Rimba ‘are [now] forced to beg or take food from plantations where they are vulnerable to violence, and they suffer from hunger and malnutrition’.165 9.14 Orang Rimba indigenous groups protesting against the takeover of their lands by biofuel plantations in Indonesia’s Jambi province.


pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey


accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

When famines do occur (as, sadly, they too often do), it is invariably due to social and political causes. The last great famine in China, which may have killed some 20 million people at the time of the ‘great leap forward’, occurred precisely because China was then by political choice isolated from the world market. Such an event could not now happen in China. This should be a salutary lesson for all those who place their anti-capitalist faith on the prospects for local food sovereignty, local self-sufficiency and decoupling from the global economy. Freeing ourselves from the chains of an international division of labour organised for the benefit of capital and the imperialist powers is one thing, but decoupling from the world market in the name of anti-globalisation is a potentially suicidal alternative. The central contradiction in capital’s use of the division of labour is not technical but social and political.


pages: 538 words: 138,544

The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard


air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, dematerialisation, employer provided health coverage, energy security, European colonialism, Firefox, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, global supply chain, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, McMansion, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, supply-chain management, the built environment, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, Wall-E, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

In 2005, the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements, a coalition of farmers from around the country, wrote a letter to the prime minister summarizing their demands in the face of the emergency: “The dumping of these agricultural commodities led to depression in the domestic farmgate prices, which led to a deep agrarian crisis and caused increased cases of farmers’ suicides... We believe that the very structure of WTO rules therefore distorts trade against small farmers, against food sovereignty and against trade justice. That is why we gave a call for the removal of agriculture from WTO... Agriculture in India is not an industry. It is the main source of livelihood for 70% of the population of the country. We therefore demand from the Indian government to quit from WTO. We also demand that agriculture should be out of WTO.”119 As I finalize this book in late 2009, farmers throughout India are continuing to fight with increasing desperation to protect their livelihoods and save their economy from being the latest casualty of the WTO.


pages: 708 words: 176,708

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks


affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, éminence grise

This cable reveals that the embassy saw business support as a potential way to “balance” the “competing interests” behind the Constituent Assembly [07QUITO768]. Despite the efforts of the US embassy, voters approved the proposal for a Constituent Assembly with 80 percent of the vote, and gave Correa’s party a majority of the seats in the assembly. The new constitution—which contained numerous progressive initiatives, such as enshrining the rights of nature, treating drug abuse as a health issue, and food sovereignty—was approved with 64 percent of the vote.19 While the US ultimately proved unsuccessful in preventing Correa’s rise, the cables reveal the embassy’s clear intention to thwart the public’s will. The concerns of the United States about Correa, and its activities against Ecuador’s progressive movement, did not end with the election of President Obama, however. In January 2009, Ambassador Heather Hodges wrote: “Over the past two months, Correa has taken an increasingly leftist, anti-American posture, apparently unconcerned that his actions would result in frayed ties with the United States.”