The Political Economy of Food and Finance (Hardback) book cover

The Political Economy of Food and Finance

By Ted P. Schmidt

© 2016 – Routledge

160 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

The financialization, globalization and industrialization of our food systems make it increasingly difficult to access quality fresh food. In fact, the industrialized global food system is creating products that are less food-like, engendering growing questions about the health and safety of our food supply. In addition, the bio-engineering of food commodities is another factor influencing the growth of industrial farming for an increasingly homogenized, globalized market.

This book describes the financialization process in commodity futures markets which transformed commodities into an asset class. Incorporated into the portfolio decisions of investors, commodity prices now behave like all asset prices, becoming more volatile and subject to periodic bubbles. As commodity prices were driven higher in the 2000s, farmland became more valuable, setting off a global land grab by investors, nations, and corporations. More recently, under the financialization food regime, slow growth and low returns encouraged merger activity driven by private equity firms, with food industry corporations as prime targets, leading to increased industry concentration.

With government policy focused on supporting corporate interests, there has been a global reaction to the current food system. The food sovereignty movement is taking on the interests behind the global land grab, and the regional food movement in cities across the U.S. is hitting corporations at the bottom line. Food corporations are listening. Is the food movement winning?

This book is of interest to those who study political economy, financialization and agriculture and related studies, as well as food systems and commodity future markets.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Food and Finance 2. Financialization: There and Back Again 3. Setting the Table 4. The Financialization Process in Commodity Futures Markets 5. The Speculation Debate 6. Private Equity Bought the Farm: The Impact of Financialization 7. Food and Finance Policy 8. The Global Food Chain Reaction

About the Author

Ted P. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Economics & Finance at SUNY Buffalo State, New York, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy

In recent years, there has been widespread criticism of mainstream economics. This has taken many forms, from methodological critiques of its excessive formalism, to concern about its failure to connect with many of the most pressing social issues. This series provides a forum for research which is developing alternative forms of economic analysis. Reclaiming the traditional 'political economy' title, it refrains from emphasising any single school of thought, but instead attempts to foster greater diversity within economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS027000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Finance
BUS070010
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Agribusiness