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Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

by: Raj Patel

Publisher: Melville House (2007)


Staff Pick by comrade: AK

Having worked for the World Bank and the UN, Raj Patel has an insiders perspective on the politics of food and global trade. The stories and facts that he brings to light are at once horrifying and fascinating from the strangling of rural areas the world over to the absurdity of all of our 'choices' in modern consumer society. This book is essential to understand our fucked up world.

It’s a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before, while there are also more people who are overweight. 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.