The Global food crisis

13 August 2009 - Event
13 August 2009 to 15 August 2009


Susan George, Walden Bello, Susan George, Walden Bello

The Critical Development Studies (CDS) network Announces an international conference, Inviting participation and submission of a paper on any conference subtheme Organised by the The Critical Development Studies (CDS) network the conference is hosted by the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas and co-sponsored by the Journal of Agrarian Change (JAC), the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), the Canadian Journal of Development Studies (CJDS), Globalizations, the Review of International Political Economy (RIPE), Routledge and Fernwood Books. Editors of these journals will be in attendance. Institutional and programmatic support is also provided by the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam) and Food First. The aim of the conference is to review the latest research on the complex dynamics of diverse developments related to an incipient global food crisis. The world economy is beset with a number of critical problems that are assuming—or in the near future might be expected to reach—such proportions so as to not only threaten the livelihoods and development prospects of communities and societies all across the world but the very foundation of the global food productionsystem. There are diverse dimensions of this looming crisis. They include systemic financial crisis, which threatens to deepen into a broader economic and production crisis, and, an underlying ecological crisis that not only threatens the survival and development prospects of communities and societies across the world, but puts at further risk the efforts of the world’s poor to change the system that keeps them in poverty. The conference will focus on one particular dimension of this global crisis, namely developments that are undermining or threaten the ability of the poor to meet their fundamental need for food and water—i.e., what we can conceive of as a global food crisis. Dimensions of this crisis – subthemes of the conference – include: - The new economic model--The policy and institutional framework of ‘pro-growth’ neoliberal policies designed to adjust local and national economies and societies to the requirements of the world order of neoliberal globalization. - The crisis of over-production / consumption, and its impact on the global food production system. - The policy and structural dynamics of international trade, and the workings of market forces and the nation state in these dynamics as regards food production and distribution. - Dynamics of the global food production and the ascension of China and India in the global economy. - Financialization of global production and its impact on the food production system and the price of food. - Land and food: Questions of land, economies of scale and the social organization of food production. - Via Campesina and the viability of small-scale ‘peasant’ agriculture and sustainable rural livelihoods. - Out of the crisis: Internationalizing the politics of resistance and alternative development, at local, national, regional and global scales. Keynote conference speakers will include: Susan George — author of more than a dozen books, including her famous exposé and treatise on world hunger, How the Other Half Dies. She is Chair of the Planning Board of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, a decentralised fellowship of scholars living throughout the world whose work is intended to contribute to social justice and who are active in civil society in their own countries. Between 1999 and mid-2006 she served as Vice-President of ATTAC France.
‘Alas, food and hunger have returned to the top of the international agenda and, yet again, the same tired old technological solutions are proposed. The new twist may be that speculation on food prices has recently replaced speculation on subprime mortgages in the fast-moving capital markets, but essentially everything remains the same, particularly the injustice. As far as capitalism is concerned, food is a commodity like any other. It is not because everyone on earth needs it every day that agribusiness and traders' behaviour will change—quite the contrary. Corporate profits in this sector have skyrocketed since 2007, proving once more that there's nothing like a good crisis for boosting business. Too bad for the millions of people dying for want of land to produce their own food or of money to buy it.’ (Susan George)
Walden Bello President of Freedom of Debt Coalition, Senior researcher with the Focus on the Global South (Bangkok), recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (a.k.a Alternative Nobel Prize) and the Suh Sang Don Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Global Justice, board member of the International Forum on Globalization and diverse academic journals such as Review of International Political Economy; and academic activist in the cause of global justice. Submission of abstracts and proposals The conference organizers invite submissions from scholars engaged in International Development Studies as well as research and study in related fields. Participation and submissions of papers for conference presentation (with possible publication in one of the sponsoring journals) from graduate and postgraduate students are particularly welcome and encouraged. Deadline for submission: March 15, 2009. Actual papers due June 15, 2009. Please send proposals, with a title and brief abstract, to: (Subject: Global Food Crisis)