Item description for Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel...
Overview Explains the political and economic reasons behind the simultaneous hunger and obesity epidemics worldwide, and describes what is being done to eliminate these disparities.
Publishers Description How can starving people also be obese? Why does everything have soy in it? How do petrochemicals and biofuels control the price of food?
It's a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).
To find out how we got to this point and what we can do about it, Raj Patel launched a comprehensive investigation into the global food network. It took him from the colossal supermarkets of California to India's wrecked paddy–fields and Africa's bankrupt coffee farms, while along the way he ate genetically engineered soy beans and dodged flying objects in the protestor–packed streets of South Korea.
What he found was shocking, from the false choices given us by supermarkets to a global epidemic of farmer suicides, and real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa.
Yet he also found great cause for hope—in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable and joyful food system. Going beyond ethical consumerism, Patel explains, from seed to store to plate, the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of both farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.
"Compelling. At first glance, Raj is another depressing voice in the chorus. But in traveling the world researching the book, he also found hope in international social movements working to create more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food systems." —Mark Bittman, New York Times
"For anyone attempting to make sense of the world food crisis, or understand the links between U.S. farm policy and the ability of the world's poor to feed themselves, Stuffed and Starved is indispensable." —Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
“One of the most dazzling books I have read in a very long time. The product of a brilliant mind and a gift to a world hungering for justice.” —Naomi Klein, author of No Logo
"Patel's broad treatment helps the layman connect the dots, as well as hear the voices of those who occupy the lower rungs of the global food chain." —Time Magazine
"A blistering indictment of the policies of multinational agribusiness conglomerates and charges that their drive for profit at any cost has left the developing world starving while wealthy countries like the United States are experiencing epidemic obesity rates and related health problems." —Newsweek
"For Patel, it is a short step from Western consumers 'engorged and intoxicated' with cheap processed food to Mexican and Indian farmers committing suicide because they can't make a living. The 'food industry's pabulum' makes us all cogs in an evil machine." —The New Yorker
"A book full of insight, that makes an important contribution to understanding that the politics of food is not a narrow matter of shopping, ethical or otherwise." —The Guardian
RAJ PATEL, former policy analyst for Food First, a leading food think tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and TheFinancial Times, and though he has worked for the World Bank, WTO and the UN, he's also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher Melville House
ISBN 1933633492 ISBN13 9781933633497
Availability 0 units.
More About Raj Patel
Raj Patel, a fellow at Food First, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, and he s also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them. He is the author of The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy."
Reviews - What do customers think about Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System?
Farmer Suicides and Other Foods For Thought. Sep 9, 2008
A great documentary story of how we in the better off world end up living off the rest of the world and keep repeating that its for the common good. Books like this are invaluable in all aspects of the human condition today because it joins the dots to show the economic motive force for many things that happen whether its food, healthcare or wars. I hope many people read this and mull over the thoughts when they next walk into a Starbucks under the delusion that they are participating in a Dylanesque "cafe" moment from the 1960's or think of MacDonalds as a cheap meal
Smart, Opinionated Reading on Food Politics Aug 28, 2008
I picked up this book during the Slow Food Nation event and couldn't put it down. Incendiary, smart and endlessly thought-provoking, Stuffed and Starved should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about the politics of food. I've read Omnivore's Dilemma and lots of recent nonfiction on food politics, but wasn't familiar much of Patel's subject matter, like Via Campensina and related peasant farm movements.
Sheds light on a difficult subject Aug 8, 2008
Daniel B. Schuster says: I was entranced by this book. Mr Patel discusses the micro effects of our agriculture system as well as the macro effects and shows their interaction.. On both farmers and consumers. Every claim or fact in the book is footnoted. And the graphs. The geek part of me could finally understand relationships between farmers, processors and consumers based on the charts of Mr Patel. I've read several books that tried to explain this but failed. Mr. Patel was able to take a complex topic and break it down step by step. Great book.
I agree with the previous reviewer - this book will cause indigestion with mega producers of food.
A Disappointing Polemic Jul 12, 2008
I won't cover the same ground as Mr. Vannoni did. His review is spot on. I wish I had seen it before I bought this book.
Readers should know first that the book's title is cleverly misleading. The book is only tangentially about the unhealthy make-up of the modern diet and the agribusiness oligopolies that have created it.
Instead, author Patel seems to be mainly concerned with fixing blame for the world's food problems, and that blame rests almost exclusively with Britain and the U.S. We are told over and over that even when they were seemingly doing good, it was with evil motives. He "proves" this by selective quotations which he dredges up and takes as representing whole nations, and by assuming that if multiple motives are possible, only the worst one can be true. Thus, for example, it was with wholly evil intent that the U.S. led the Green Revolution (which much of the world enthusiastically followed) by developing high-yield fast-growing crop strains. The rich and well-off are always bad, and the poor are always innocent and good. And if governments of poorer countries do wrong by their people, it is only because the rich bad countries made them do it. These are not unlike the views I had when I was 15. But when you grow up you learn that the world is a much more complex place than that.
Patel grossly misuses statistics. Everything is twisted to support a predetermined result. He calls this "teasing out" the truth. Twisting is more like it. The book is basically a collection of whatever he can find, however obscure, to support his agenda, while ignoring or twisting anything that contradicts his view. Thus he tells us Mexicans living near the border are less healthy because they are now compelled to eat processed junk, while at the same time he notes that they are better off economically the closer to the border they are. It never occurs to him that they are eating junk for the same reason people in the U.S. do: not because they have no choice, but because, just like us, they like cheap fatty sugary unhealthy junk food.
This is not to say that Mr. Patel is wrong about everything. Far from it. But he has an agenda and it isn't to inform. It's to inflame, and that spoils the book. I read half of it before I decided that there are better books I can read, and since I won't live forever, I'll spend my time on them.
required reading Jun 3, 2008
A very digestible read for the consumer that's liable to provoke dyspepsia in the bellies of food giants and governments alike. In taking a moralistic view of starvation and obesity, our media, governments and many NGOs have condemned those suffering to more of the same. While the institutional causes remain unaddressed - in large part thanks to public sector responsibility being abdicated to private sector interests - we can only expect more headlines about food riots and editorials on farmer suicides, just as diabetes (II) continues apace. The resounding conclusion is that `free market' policies remain accountable only to shareholders - not to farmers, not to consumers, and certainly not to the governments that unleashed them. But Stuffed & Starved is as prescriptive as it is diagnostic. By identifying the grassroots organisations that have come to terms with the problems and begun to enact the social changes necessary for remedy, Patel brings to the page a message of hope and understanding with great clarity. To his credit, he is no less objective or critical in examining these social movements (as they struggle to develop) than he is of the corporations, WTO, and World Bank. If you're interested in a comprehensive overview of what's behind the headlines, of what's causing the paradox of starvation at the same time as an epidemic of obesity, this is the book.