The colonial origins of the global food market - Raj Patel - English

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Food   Consumerism   Capitalism   Materialism   Neo   Liberalism   Justice   Sovereignty   English  

Raj Patel describes a history of the emergence of global food market which was constitutively tied to colonial expansionism and exploitation. The argument is on the line that India's food deficiency developed its severity - on an unprecedented scale - only after the colonial agricultural reforms and its integration of local economies into the global. The severe famines that we saw were a result of policies and socio-economic dynamics, not production technology per se. In other words, it was a construction of ‘distribution’ mechanism. Later, some invested their hopes in the so-called "Green Revolution", introduced since the 1960s in India. With the pesticides, chemical rich fertilizers, and GM seeds that came with it, the yields did increase, for a while at least. But increasing yields is one thing and food security another. The new technology, policies, and practices accompanying the "Green Revolution" made the Indian farmers even more vulnerable. The problem they now faced was not only that of ‘distribution’ but also of ‘production’. More than a hundred thousand Indian farmers have committed suicide due to increasing vulnerability in the last two decades. The Indian Punjab, which was the epicenter of the "Green Revolution", is in a severe crisis today and, some suggest that, parts of it "could be(come) barren in 10 to 15 years." A closer look at the history of Bt Cotton and Monsanto's monopolozing policies and years of neo-liberal reforms in India should be quite illuminating for anyone interested in this subject.

Added by Abuzari on 06-12-2010
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