Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hungry Capital

A compelling analysis of how global finance is devouring the food system and gambling with our future in the process.
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Over the past thirty years, the ability of global finance to affect aspects of everyday life has been increasing at an unprecedented rate. The world of food bears vivid testimony to this tendency, through the scars opened by the 2008 world food price crisis, the iron fist of retailing giants that occupy the supply chain and the unsustainable ecological footprint left behind by global production networks.
Hungry Capital offers a rigorous analysis of the influence that financial imperatives exert on the food economy at different levels: from the direct use of edible commodities as an object of speculation to the complex food chains set up by manufacturers and supermarkets. It argues that the circular compulsion to build profits upon profits that global finance injects into the world of food restructures the basic nurturing relationship between man and nature into a streamlined process from which value has to be mined. The end result is a monstrous Leviathan that holds together while – at every step – risks to crumble.

  • Luigi Russi takes up an issue that will dominate the lives of people everywhere in the coming years: the adequacy and safety of our food. He brings insights from the worlds of finance, legal sociology and political economy to link processes of global capitalism with the appalling persistence and increase of hunger and malnutrition. A must read. ~ Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • This is a thought-provoking book on the food industries and how these are entangled with the world of finance. It is theoretically well grounded, original and rich in empirical detail. It is an important contribution to the international debate on the future of agriculture. ~ Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, Professor in Transition Studies, Wageningen University
  • Russi issues a stark warning, as he identifies how the drive for profits and the deregulation of commodity trading are re-shaping the business strategies of the large corporations who procure, broker and reassemble our food. The result is the acceleration of the ecological crises facing the food supply. ~ David Barling, Reader in Food Policy, City University London and co-author of Food Policy: Integrating Health, Environment and Society
  • At a time when finance and food are the epicentre of global crises, Luigi Russi's study provides a unique insight into the dynamics driving these complex but critical chains of human economic interaction. A must read for anyone analysing complex socio-economic processes and the potential for social progress. ~ Anastasia Nesvetailova, Reader in International Political Economy, City University London and author of Financial Alchemy in Crisis: The Great Liquidity Illusion
  • Luigi Russi has made a significant contribution to the unpicking of the relationship between finance and food by opening up for scrutiny the powerful and uncontrolled forces operating in this obscure and complex trading system, which has only just been recognised as giving rise to a crisis which is as potentially damaging as the failure to maintain control of the world's banking industry. ~ Peter Robbins, Author of Stolen Fruit: The Tropical Commodities Disaster
  • Hungry Capital provides a timely and novel analysis of the new frontier of financial capitalism. ~ Ole Bjerg, Associate Professor, Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School

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