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Besides the few exceptions to the rule, the larger picture has it, that the age of trade agreements has ushered in “an era of…
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1. 2. 3. 4. Reflection – Chap. 3 “Stuffed and Starved” is a very enlightening article that brings to the forefront, the highs and lows of agriculture in relation to trade. Besides the few exceptions to the rule, the larger picture has it, that the age of trade agreements has ushered in “an era of increasing inequality.”(21, pg. 59) In fact, the economic changes brought about through legislation, has been labeled as “creative destruction of capitalism at work.” (19, pg. 59) Though these changes have served to make the world at large more wealthy, it is the poorer sections of society who are the ones left behind.
“The North American Free Trade Agreement” (NAFTA) referred to as the ‘mother’ of all agreements related to free trade, is an organization that was sanctioned by the government to bring about an increase in agriculture and trade. However, NAFTA only served to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. This resulted in a good section of the farmers turning to other means of livelihood, while many of them committed suicide because they were unable to meet their costs, while the richer farmers survived and some of them ‘thrived off NAFTA’. (3, p.56)
Name 2
One of the countries that were badly hit by NAFTA was Mexico, considered to be the epicenter of global corn biodiversity. The poor section of farmers borrowed heavily to repay loans for land, machinery and pesticides and was unable to repay them. This resulted in them facing huge debts and a heavy spate of suicides followed. Lee, was one such victim who though not Mexican by birth, was looked upon by Mexicans as one of their kind and the reason for this was the economic changes that had taken place over a long period of time. Though trade liberalization had promised much to the poor, it did not fulfill its ideals and the poor were left far behind. This dissatisfaction led to major protests against NAFTA and the WTO, migration, and self- exploitation.
Chapter 3 of “Stuffed and Starved” has served to highlight the facts underlying agriculture, trade and the economy and the dire need for changes to be brought about which caters to the rich and the poorer sections of the society on an equal basis, if such catastrophes have to be avoided in the future.
Reflection 2 Chap. 4
In the book “Stuffed and Starved” Chap. 4 speaks of trade between Nations, that dates back in time, as ancient as 1000 BCE when such a transaction was first recorded. Through international trade, the cost of food has become cheaper and the bartering of food had enabled us to gain new tastes and sensations from food across the globe. From
one viewpoint, “Trade is technology for reducing the price of food, and a way of increasing the total amount of goods produced. (1, pg. 84)
Name 3
The Global food network was first introduced during colonialism and continues to carry on between Britain and its outposts. However, gradually when land became private property, the poor had no access to land and only relied on their labour. Hence many of the poor migrated to the cities in search of work and those left behind had to work even harder to feed themselves and their families. The 18th and 19th centuries saw revolutionary changes in trade, and this had an equal impact on the affluent as excess food consumption served in the spread of diseases. For example, the consumption of tea and sugar became exceedingly popular and hence plantations were grown to meet the heavy demand. As a result slave trade was rampant due to cheap labor. Excessive tea drinking resulted in nervous and digestive disorders, especially among the working class. (pg. 88) To meet the rising demands “even the little house on the prairie was an increasingly commercial operation.”(28, pg. 89)
Slaves were initially an illiterate lot and accepted their fate of deprivation and hunger but as time went by they became more literate and began to rise up against injustice. A good example is ‘The Communist Manifesto’ which saw uprisings and revolutions across Europe. (44, pg. 94) However, presently a new Global food order has been ushered in to put an end to hardships and sufferings of the poor farmers by developing a much better and sophisticated trade system and by lending full support to the farmers through organizations such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. In my opinion, if full help and support are given to farmers, not only will the agricultural and trade scene improve, but it would also serve to improve the standard of life for the farmers who deserve a better deal in life.
Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved. Melville House, Pgs. 432.(2012) Retrieved on 24th April 2014 Read More
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