A food regime analysis of the ‘world food crisis’
The food regime concept is a key to unlock not only structured moments and transitions in the history of capitalist food relations, but also the history of capitalism itself. It is not about food per se, but about the relations within which food is produced, and through which capitalism is produced and reproduced. It provides, then, a fruitful perspective on the so-called ‘world food crisis’ of 2007–2008. This paper argues that the crisis stems from a long-term cycle of fossil-fuel dependence of industrial capitalism, combined with the inflation-producing effects of current biofuel offsets and financial speculation, and the concentration and centralization of agribusiness capital stemming from the enabling conjunctural policies of the corporate food regime. Rising costs, related to peak oil and fuel crop substitutes, combine with monopoly pricing by agribusiness to inflate food prices, globally transmitted under the liberalized terms of finance and trade associated with neoliberal policies.
KeywordsFood regime Value relations Social reproduction Agrofuels De-peasantization
Thanks are due to Don Nonini for his comments on an earlier version of this paper, and to Hugh Campbell for his comments on the next version. Thanks are also due to three anonymous reviewers of a subsequent version, and to Harriet Friedmann.
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